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  2. English
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  4. San Casciano bronzes go on show at Quirinale

San Casciano bronzes go on show at Quirinale

Extraordinary set of votive statuettes likened to Riace Bronzes

(ANSA) - ROME, JUN 22 - An extraordinary collection of ancient Roman bronze votive statuettes discovered at a Tuscan spa town last year was inaugurated Thursday in a show opening Friday at the Quirinale presidential palace in Rome.
    The statuettes, which have been likened to the world-famous Riace Bronzes, were found at San Casciano dei Bagni in November and have revealed hitherto unknown links between the Etruscan and Roman worlds.
    The exhibition, titled The Gods Return, runs from June 23 to July 25, and then again from September 2 to October 29, at the palace currently occupied by President Sergio Mattarella, who inaugurated the show with Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano.
    Before returning home, the trove is then set to go on a round-Italy tour, like the Riace Bronzes, ancient Greek warrior statues that are one of the paramount sculptural achievements of the ancient world, which went on a sell-out tour of Italy in 1981 before finding a permanent home in their native Reggio Calabria, where they were found in the sea in 1972.
    Protected for 2,300 years by the mud and boiling water of the sacred ancient Roman pools, the never-before-seen votive array re-emerged in November from the excavations at San Casciano, with over 24 extremely finely wrought bronze statues, five of them almost one metre tall, all complete and in a perfect state of preservation.
    Among the highlights of the show are a sick ephebe, a dancing Apollo, a proud toga-garbed Haranguer, a tender putto holding an apple in his hand, big-bosomed matrons, and a slew of hands, feet, arms and ears offered as votive offerings to heal maladies.
    "It's a discovery that will rewrite history and one which more than 60 experts from all over the world are already working on," archaeologist Jacopo Tabolli told ANSA in early November, describing an "absolutely unique" treasure trove which has been accompanied by an incredible quantity of inscriptions in Etruscan and Latin - shedding new light on how much the Etruscans influenced the civilization that superseded and virtually wiped them out - as well as thousands of coins, votive offerings and a series of equally interesting plant offerings.
    "The layering of different civilizations is a unique feature of Italian culture," he enthused.
    "It's the most important discovery since the Riace Bronzes and is certainly one of the most significant discovery of bronzes ever made in the history of the ancient Mediterranean," said the ministry's director general of museums, Massimo Osanna, who approved the purchase of a 16th century palazzo that will house the marvels yielded by the Great Bath in the village of San Casciano, a museum which will be flanked in the future by a full-blown archaeological park. (ANSA).


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