Italian museums to donate today's proceeds to earthquake relief efforts

At least 291 people were killed in Wednesday's powerful earthquake

Italian museums to donate today's proceeds to earthquake relief efforts

Rescuers search a crumbled building in Arcuata del Tronto, central Italy, | Image: Sandro Perozzi / AP/Press Association Images 60

Italy's state museums are donating all proceeds they receive today to help the relief effort in areas hit by Wednesday's earthquake.

At least 291 people were killed in the 6.2 magnitude quake, while hundreds of others were injured.

Italians are being urged to show their solidarity by visiting a museum and contributing to the rebuilding work.

The initiative has been supported by culture minister Dario Franceschini, who encouraged Twitter users to promote the action using #museums4italy.

The MAXXI museum in Rome has said it will be donating all proceeds from Saturday and Sunday to the relief efforts.

The earthquake hit a number of historic sites - including the town of Amatrice, which has been left in "ruins".

Quoted by TheLocal, Mr Franceschini said: “We have so far identified 293 items of cultural or historic interest which have been damaged or destroyed within a 20 kilometre radius of the epicentre."

A state funeral was held yesterday for 35 of the victims of the disaster.

During the funeral service, held in a gymnasium in Ascoli Piceno, Bishop Giovanni D'Ercole urged mourners to unite and rebuild their shattered community.

Several funerals were held on Friday and a common funeral service for the dead in the hard-hit towns of Amatrice and nearby Accumoli will take place next Wednesday.

Pope Francis, meanwhile, has said he plans to visit the affected area to bring the people there the "comfort of faith".