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Italian gargoyles up for 'adoption'

Nov. 16, 2012 at 7:59 AM

MILAN, Italy, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Officials at the Duomo cathedral in Milan, Italy, said they began an adopt-a-gargoyle campaign to help pay for badly needed renovations.

The building has 135 gargoyles.

Donors who contribute about $127,000 to the cathedral's restoration campaign will have their names engraved under one of the gargoyles, the BBC reported Friday.

Officials are taking the step to help make up for austerity measures that have cut funding to Italy's culture budget. They are hoping to raise $31.7 million for essential renovations.

Austerity measures in Italy have had an impact throughout the country, from pieces of stone crumbling off the Trevi fountain and the Colosseum in Rome, to the closing of museums.

The Duomo cathedral took six centuries to build, the BBC reported. It was begun in 1386 and completed by French emperor Napoleon, who paid for the facade.

The cathedral's management 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.

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