Preserving built heritage, which has raised much interest in the country in recent years, and has even received a boost in the form of a Government program to rehabilitate heritage sites, is currently gaining even more momentum with the International Conservation Center Città di Roma that will be run in cooperation with Italy.
On 2009 the Mayor of Rome, Mr. Giovanni Alemanno, has decided to devolve the generous Dan David Prize won by the City of Rome to the establishment of a Conservation Center in Acre. Additional support, in terms of consultancy and professional training, is provided by the Embassy of Italy in Israel and the Italian Ministry of Culture, which is assisting the Israel Antiquities Authority with a Memorandum of Understanding since August 2005.
On Thursday, May 13, the “International Conservation Center “Città di Roma” will be inaugurated. The Center Città di Roma will be managed by the Israel Antiquities Authority, in partnership with the Old Acre Development Company and Acre Municipality, with the support of the Italian Government and its Institutions. The activities provided by the Center will be directed to a broad range of participants – to the public in general and students in particular – and will include professional academic courses and projects of international cooperation. The inauguration ceremony, beginning at 18:00 o’clock, will be attended by the Italian ambassador to Israel, His Excellency Luigi Mattiolo, the Superintendent of Monuments and Cultural Properties of the City of Rome Professor Umberto Broccoli, the director-general of the Israel Antiquities Authority Mr. Shuka Dorfman, the Director-General of the Old Acre Development Company Mr. Dudu Harari, the deputy director of the Economic Company in the Acre municipality, Mr. Ben Mayost, the Custos of the Holy Land Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Senior Representatives of the City of Rome, scholars and experts from Universities and Museums and others.
Acre was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO and for the past twenty years has served as an “open school” in the field of conservation.
In order to halt the trend of deterioration and destruction of Israel’s heritage assets and preserve them for future generations, the Israel Antiquities Authority recognized the need to establish a Center that will provide an appropriate response for conservation in Israel by training future conservators and setting up conservation laboratories.
An impressive and unique building dating to the Ottoman period (which was constructed on ancient foundations) was allocated for use by the International Conservation Center Città di Roma; the building has undergone conservation in the past and further such measures will be implemented by the center’s professional conservators and students.
The Center will enjoy the cooperation of different Israeli Universities which teach conservation and of Universities in Italy and abroad which are particularly experienced in this field.
In addition, the founders of the International Conservation Center Città di Roma have set a goal to train residents of Acre as professional conservators. Residents of the city are also able to participate in all of the international courses through a system of special grants from various sources.
The future plans include: construction of a professional laboratory in the International Conservation Center Città di Roma where conservation materials can be studied, through the support and use of Italian knowledge and expertise.