When Hitler s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized
control of mankind s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done
throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of
the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities
of the Roman Empire.
On the eve of the Allied invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower
empowered a new kind of soldier to protect these historic riches.
In May 1944 two unlikely American heroes artist Deane Keller and
scholar Fred Hartt embarked from Naples on the treasure hunt of a
lifetime, tracking billions of dollars of missing art, including
works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio, and
Botticelli. With the German army retreating up the Italian
peninsula, orders came from the highest levels of the Nazi
government to transport truckloads of art north across the border
into the Reich. Standing in the way was General Karl Wolff, a
top-level Nazi officer. As German forces blew up the magnificent
bridges of Florence, General Wolff commandeered the great
collections of the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace, later risking
his life to negotiate a secret Nazi surrender with American
spymaster Allen Dulles.
Brilliantly researched and vividly written, Saving Italy brings
readers from Milan and the near destruction of The Last Supper to
the inner sanctum of the Vatican and behind closed doors with the
preeminent Allied and Axis leaders: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and
Churchill; Hitler, Goring, and Himmler.
An unforgettable story of epic thievery and political intrigue,
Saving Italy is a testament to heroism on behalf of art, culture,