Italy’s cultural heritage at risk amid neglect and bad management – with private sponsors brought in to help protect iconic landmarks

When it emerged that one of the greatest masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance had been left to warp in a Rome museum because calls to repair the air conditioning had gone unheeded, staff at the Galleria Borghese had to resort to emergency measures to save the depiction of Christ being carried down from the Cross.

In September, the museum’s director Anna Coliva said other priceless artworks including paintings by Caravaggio, Titian and Rubens, and sculptures by Bernini and Canova, were at risk, including the depiction of Christ which the High Renaissance master Raphael painted on a wooden panel in 1507. As early as May 2014, Ms Coliva warned that the air conditioning system, which was fitted in 1997, was “completely worn out”.