ROME—A cleaning woman in southern Italy has unwittingly thrown away contemporary artworks that were supposed to be part of an exhibition.

Lorenzo Roca, head of the cleaning company, said the woman ''was just doing her job" when she thought two artworks were part of trash left behind by those setting up for the show that opened Wednesday in Bari.

Show organizers said one of the works she gave to a city sanitation crew before dawn included pieces of cookies, which were scattered on the floor, as part of an artistic arrangement.

Roca said the cleaning company would use its insurance coverage to pay for the trashed art works, whose value was estimated at 10,000 euros ($13,700).