A Massve Legacy Of Culture

For years I've had the statistic that Italy owns "40% of the world's art and 60% of Western cultural treasures" rattling in my brain. I can't remember where I read but it was such a stunning stat it stuck with me. I resigned myself to never finding out where I read it (it was in a book /White Goodman giggle) until I came across a 60 Minutes report on the restoration of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper from 1996.

In it, Morley Safer opens with the first half of the phrase "40% of the world's art."

When you consider there are officially about 193 countries several of which with their own deep, rich cultural legacies (China, India, Iraq etc.), it could nonetheless make one ponder what Italy did to deserve such an unparalleled artistic heritage.

If I were to choose an analogy to sports to make sense of the figure, I guess you can argue Italy is the Babe Ruth, Jim Brown, Joe Montana, Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky of nations when it comes to its cultural "statistics."

Big words but this is backed up by facts.

Which made me wonder, can you imagine the lost and undiscovered treasures under its grounds? Imagine if WWII had not happened and destroyed so much of its legacy, like the towers of Florence?

It's hard to contemplate and upsetting to consider.

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