Italy marks 50 years since discovery of Riace Bronzes

The famed Riace Bronzes came to light 50 years ago.

Italy marks 50 years since the discovery of the Riace Bronzes, two ancient Greek warrior statues found by chance in the Ionian Sea off the coast of the southern Calabria region.

The bronzes – dating to 460-430 BC and also known as the Riace Warriors – were retrieved from the seabed near Porto Forticchio di Riace Marina on 16 August 1972.

Images of the Riace Bronzes emerging from the sea 50 years ago captured the world’s imagination.

Stefano Mariotti, an amateur scuba diver from Rome, is credited with finding the bronze statues, subsequently taken from the water by carabinieri officers in images that went around the world.

The origin of the ‘Bronzi di Riace’ remains shrouded in mystery. It is assumed that they were being carried on a ship that sank, perhaps in a storm, however no evidence of a wreck has been found.

Believed to represent heroic warriors, the statues are almost two metres high and are likely to have been part of a sculptural group.

The bronzes, which underwent extensive restoration in Florence between 1975 and 1980, today are the star attraction at the Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria.

For details (in English) about the statues and the events to celebrate their discovery, see the Bronzi50 website.