(ANSA) - Rome, September 21 - Reconstruction work valued at 525 million for the earthquake-rattled city of L'Aquila should begin next year, Italy's Minister of Culture Lorenzo Ornaghi said Friday. A "gigantic" effort is underway to complete reconstruction by 2021, the minister said as he presented the strategic plan proposed by the Regional Directorate for the province of Abruzzo. More than 500 monuments require restoration after the deadly earthquake of April 2009 that killed at least 308 people and devastated the mountainside city of L'Aquila, the capital of Abruzzo. "The reconstruction work is always long, difficult, and demands patience, but we are here today to give a well-founded sign of hope," said the minister. Restoration money will begin to flow with 206 million euros allocated for the initial work period of 2013-2015. Work will begin at L'Aquila's Forte Spagnolo, the 16th-century castle housing the National Museum of Abruzzo, followed by the Duomo of San Massimo, Santa Maria Paganica, and other significant churches, authorities said.
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di Angelo Biscardi