Exact replicas of three architectural treasures damaged or destroyed by the Islamic State group (IS) in Syria and Iraq went on show Thursday at the Colosseum in Rome.
The full-scale reproductions of the winged human-headed bull from Nimrud in Iraq, part of the state archives hall from the ancient Syrian kingdom of Ebla, and half the roof of the Temple of Bel in Palmyra will be on display until December 11.
"For several years we have been discussing the importance of Italy, and the world, taking action to protect the cultural heritage of war zones, and this exhibition bears extraordinary witness to this endeavour," Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said at the opening.
Syrian archaeological authorities also arranged for two Palmyra statues damaged by IS to be brought to Rome.
Such an emergency "corridor for cultural goods... has never happened during wartime before," said Francesco Rutelli, head of "Incontro di Civilta" (Meetings of Civilisations), the organisation behind the exhibition.
Signup to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
After the exhibition, the two sculptures will be restored in Italy then sent back to Syria.
The three archeological treasures were recreated with the help of 3D printers, demonstrating that such work could potentially be carried out in situ in future.
It took almost three months to recreate the segment of the Bel temple, according to architect Matteo Fabbri of TryeCo, the Italian company that carried out the work.
"Usually with a 3D scanner we work much more quickly but in this case we had to work from old photographs and verbal descriptions," he told AFP.
"Once we made the model, it was relatively easy. We built the roof with a special resin then "aged" it by hand. This part took a month, said Fabri.