CRIA in Numbers

It would require a very long list of numbers to quantify the recovery work carried out by CRIA during its five years of activity in Florence and in Venice to salvage the Italian cultural heritage.

To begin with, CRIA collected nearly $2.5 million (as much as $20 million in today’s terms) for the restoration efforts. This was accomplished through an intensive and very widespread fund-raising campaign, which was spearheaded by important figures such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Franco Zeffirelli. In the United States, CRIA had exclusive distribution rights on Zeffirelli’s film Days of Destruction, and collected all the proceeds from its showings. 

The Committee itself was a large organization, with over 200 members or affiliates. They included the members of the Honorary Committee, the Advisory Committee, and the National Executive Committee, in addition to the various area sub-committees across the United States, plus twenty-seven fellows whose stipends were paid for with funds from the Ford and Kress Foundations, many specialists in restoration, and seventeen students from university programs in restoration. 

As for CRIA’s support for salvage efforts, it financed the restauration of around 150 paintings on canvas and wood; it was responsible for the recovery of two Florentine museums (the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of the History of Science), and the restoration of their works; it helped established the three new restoration laboratories at Palazzo Davanzati, the National LIbrary, and San Gregorio in Venice; it earmarked 111.6000.000 Italian lire (nearly $1.5 million today) to the National Library over three years, and gave an equal amount for the recovery work at the State Archives. 

These and other numbers, including specific information on the individuals who contributed to the salvage efforts, along with the names of monuments, artworks, and other objects that were restored can be found carefully annotated in the ledger compiled by Judith Munat, CRIA’s secretary at the Palazzo Pitti office. This document, which is critical for understanding how CRIA worked and the full extent of its activities, is reproduced in full below.