135 gargoyles are up for adoption at the Milan’s main cathedral (photo, from bbcimg.co.uk), the fourth-largest cathedral in the world.
The campaign’s aim is to find the money needed for renovations, which was lost due to cuts in the Italian culture budget.
Each donor who contributes 100,000 euros to the building will have his or her name engraved under a gargoyle, these often grotesque figures used in Gothic architecture to drain off rainwater.
In order to carry essential maintenance, the cathedral’s management needs to raise 25m euros.
It said it wanted “to encourage the Milanese and citizens of the world as a whole to be protagonists in the history of the cathedral, a priceless treasure that belongs to all of humanity”.
It took six centuries to build Milan’s main cathedral.
French emperor Napoleon said he would pay for the facade, completing the construction which had started in 1386.
Italy’s recent austerity measures have been affecting the country’s heritage as the culture budget, which represents already a small amount of the national spending, has been cut by a third over the past three years.
As a result world-famous buildings are crumbling and museums have been forced to close.
Last June pieces of stone fell off the Trevi fountain in Rome, and blocks of marble have been falling off the Colosseum.
A 25m private donation has been secured, in order to realise the restorations needed by one of the world’s best-known monument.