The deadly magnitude-6.2 earthquake that struck central Italy on Wednesday devastated the medieval towns of Amatrice and Accumoli, the village of Pescara del Tronto, and the surrounding region.
By Thursday, the death toll came to 250 with victims still being pulled from the rubble. Images of the aftermath showed several historic churches and many buildings in ruins.
Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said this was a chance to rebuild “and guarantee a reconstruction that will allow residents to live in these communities, to relaunch these beautiful towns that have a wonderful past that will never end.”
An initial estimate of damage is around $11 billion, according to Italy's civil protection agency. The picturesque towns in this mountainous region rely on summer tourism.
Italy’s culture ministry declared that proceeds from visits to public museums across Italy this Sunday will be given to the restoration of damaged buildings in the quake zone, reports the Associated Press.
Culture Minister Dario Franceschini added in a statement that visiting Italy's museums and archaeological sites on Sunday would show “a concrete sign of solidarity” with quake victims.