General Commander Fabrizio Parrulli on the Protection and Preservation of Cultural Heritage

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Brigadier General Fabrizio Parrulli, General Commander of the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, gave a lecture at JCU for the Continuing Education course in “Management and Digitization of Cultural Heritage,” on Wednesday, October 10, 2018.

This particular command of the Carabinieri cooperates with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and carries out various tasks in order to preserve and protect cultural assets in Italy and abroad. Specifically, they verify the security standards of museums and libraries, recover stolen works of art, prevent and suppress illegal excavations, supervise e-commerce activities, inspect auction house catalogs, and provide training and education.

Fabrizio Parrulli

General Commander Fabrizio Parrulli

The Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage is responsible for various educational activities geared toward raising public awareness of cultural heritage and supporting international police forces. Most of their missions are transnational, so the command takes part in international events, such as: G7 Culture meetings, Counter-Isis Finance Group, United Nations Security Council, and European Union meetings. These activities involve cultural diplomacy, which is essential to facilitate Italy’s negotiations with other countries when works of art are stolen and transferred abroad.

In order to keep track of stolen or suspicious works of art, the command has a dedicated database. It hosts 1,240,565 assets to be recovered and 6,435,467 described assets, which include stolen works and works of dubious provenance. This database is available for other police forces and is extremely useful to track the criminal market flows. Recently, the command has created an app that allows users to take a picture of a work of art. Subsequently, the system verifies if that image is in the database of stolen or suspicious works of art.

General Parrulli concluded by giving a few examples of missions carried out in Italy and abroad in the last few years, aimed at securing and protecting cultural heritage in danger zones such as Iraq and Kosovo. Very recently, the Carabinieri’s intervention in Accumoli, Norcia, and Amatrice (three small towns in Central Italy that were destroyed by a violent earthquake in 2016) made it possible to recover, register, and secure the works of art that survived.