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Properties bound to the “Belle Arti”, why do they say that?

Today, however, this apparent imprecision is no longer completely wrong since, after years, that term, “Belle Arti”, has returned to be part of the (unique) wording that makes this highly-respected organization responsible for the protection of entire archaeological, historical-artistic and architectural heritage. For years “The Superintendency” has dealt with the historical-artistic and anthropological assets (then […]

The treasure of Como – Press release

The restructuring of the former Cressoni theater, in the historic center of the city of Como, has made it necessary to start an archaeological control activity of the excavation activities. The former theater Cressoni insists on part of the grounds of the convent of Sant’Anna, located within the perimeter of the Roman city. The identification […]

Properties bound to the “Belle Arti”, why do they say that?

Today, however, this apparent imprecision is no longer completely wrong since, after years, that term, “Belle Arti”, has returned to be part of the (unique) wording that makes this highly-respected organization responsible for the protection of entire archaeological, historical-artistic and architectural heritage.

For years “The Superintendency” has dealt with the historical-artistic and anthropological assets (then implemented the ethno-anthropological suffix), the architectural and landscape assets and, finally, the archaeological heritage. Different branches that followed different approval procedures, belonging to different PAs in charge of the formal release of the works. With a hyperactive legislator like today, it is appropriate to open with the sentence: in the moment in which I write, the Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape (so-called Urban Code) applies as per Legislative Decree no. 42/2004 and ss.mm.ii.

which has reformed (and repealed) the previous Consolidated Law referred to in Legislative Decree no. 490/99 . Between these two measures, a certain distinction is already underway : Legislative Decree 42/2004 is titled as a Code of cultural heritage and landscape, while Legislative Decree 490/99 is a single text of the legislative provisions concerning cultural and environmental heritage. In just five years the paradigm, meaning and value of the Landscape, previously reeled in the broader generic pentolone of “environmental” protection, is strengthened.

Legislative Decree 490/99 made a series of changes, at the same time as the union of the two main and separate previous regulations, namely the well-known laws: n. 1089/39 on the “Protection of things of artistic or historical interest” n. 1497/39 on the “Protection of natural beauties”. In 1939 the fascist legislator distinguished two areas that, however, had yesterday as today, many points of contact between them.

The Law 1089/39 posed a constraint of a cultural nature, designed to protect the real and personal property that have artistic, historic, archaeological or ethnographic, including: a) the things that concern palaeontology, prehistory and primitive civilizations; b) things of numismatic interest; c) manuscripts, autographs, correspondence, remarkable documents, incunabula, as well as books, prints and engravings of a rare and valuable nature. They include villas, parks and gardens that have an artistic or historical interest. On the other hand, Law 1497/39 placed the constraint and protection in this case a considerable public interest for:

1) immobile things that have conspicuous characters of natural beauty or geological singularity;

2) villas, gardens and parks which, not covered by the laws for the protection of things of artistic or historical interest, are distinguished by their uncommon beauty;

3) the complexes of immovable things that make up a characteristic appearance having an aesthetic and traditional value;

4) the scenic beauties considered as natural frameworks and also those points of view or belvedere, accessible to the public, from which one can enjoy the spectacle of those beauties. Closing the ranks, laws 1089/39 and 1497/39 differed between them for two different purposes . The protection of cultural value for the former, the protection of beauty as a value of considerable collective interest for the latter. Both standards were founded on the assumption of the enhancement of culture and beauty as national, priority and hierarchical values with respect to the interest and right of the private.

Was the year zero of cultural heritage the year 1939? Mistaken. These two laws in turn were supplementary and expanding provisions of two distinct and respective rules. Not for nothing, from the beginning of the article the three “branches” have been defined, reunited in our day but born in different moments between them. It could be said that the previous provision of Law 1089/39 is the law 364/1909 that established and set norms for the inalienability of antiquities and fine arts (hence of what belongs to archeology and historical-artistic assets, the first two branches already mentioned). The same Law 1089/39 (article 71 c.1) recalls it and confirms its validity as bound by the same law 364/1909.

Personally there were buildings with notification of the constraint ex L. 364/1909 , aimed at protecting the monumental appearance of the building inserted in a context of historical value. At the same time, Law 1497/39 (articles 18 and 19) provided the validity of what was notified under Law 778/1922 on the protection of natural beauties and buildings of particular historical interest. This Law 778/1922 was intended to subject the immovable property to special protection, the conservation of which is of considerable public interest due to its natural beauty or its particular relationship with civil and literary history. Ergo, in the early twentieth century practically had already distinguished two strands: that of Law 364/19

The treasure of Como – Press release

The restructuring of the former Cressoni theater, in the historic center of the city of Como, has made it necessary to start an archaeological control activity of the excavation activities. The former theater Cressoni insists on part of the grounds of the convent of Sant’Anna, located within the perimeter of the Roman city.

The identification of a stratigraphy of archaeological interest has motivated the start of an excavation, conducted under the scientific direction of Dr. Barbara Grassi (Superintendence Archeology Fine Arts and Landscape for the provinces of Como, Lecco, Monza and Brianza, Pavia, Sondrio and Varese) and implemented by SAP Società Archeologica srl. The archaeological investigation, which has been going on for two months, has allowed us to document the different phases of life of this part of the city.

On September 5, a soapstone container was found (metamorphic stone typical of some sectors of the Alps and used since the first century AD for the construction of pots and containers for food) in which many gold coins had been placed.

The recovery of the treasure was carried out in the presence of Dr. Barbara Grassi and Dr. Grazia Facchinetti (official archaeologist of the Soprintendenza, an expert in ancient numismatics) with the help of Annalisa Gasparetto, technical restorer of the Soprintendenza.

The transport of the treasure at the restoration workshop of the Superintendency took place thanks to the help of the Carabinieri Tutela Cultural Heritage of Monza, led by Maggiore Francesco Provenza.

The Via Diaz storage room is currently being examined by experts from the Superintendence. For now it is not possible to indicate the quantity of coins, which can be evaluated in some hundreds of copies.

To record all the information needed for the following studies, it is necessary to remove one coin at a time, returning the identifier of each piece to enlarged photographs. The microscave of the treasure will require several days of careful and meticulous work by archaeologists, restorers and photographers.

This operation is particularly important because the coins are stacked. This suggests that the coins were divided into several groups, each wrapped in fabric or other perishable material. The analysis of batteries should clarify the meaning of these divisions. Furthermore, the micro-hole must allow checking the presence of traces of the envelopes.

The closet is composed, however visible, only from solids, or from gold coins with a theoretical weight of about 4.5 grams. The examination of the first 27 coins taken suggested that the treasure was buried in the second half of the fifth century. So far, Emperor Honorius, Valentinian III, Libius Severus, Anthemius and Leo I have been identified. A more precise date can only be provided at the end of the coin classification and the study of the complex.

Besides the coins there are some gold objects, for now only partially visible, and which can be identified only at the end of the micro-hole.

Thanks to the cataloging of the monetary specimens it will be possible to better define the historical significance of the discovery and find an answer to the numerous questions it poses. The huge quantity of coins seems, however, to orientate for an interpretation as a public body rather than as private assets