The Restoration Grand Tour of 24 Israeli architects and professionals working in the sector of cultural heritage, architecture and restoration has come to an end.
The training workshop organized by Assorestauro in collaboration with Shimur (The Council for Conservation of Heritage Sites in Israel) was made possible thanks to the participation of the Direction for Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of the Metropolitan City of Milan, the Regional Government of Emilia Romagna and the Municipality of Ferrara, as well as of ICE Tel Aviv.
The week-long programme included stops in Milan, Mantua and Ferrara, to enable the foreign participants accompanied by Italian operators in the sector to visit some important restoration sites along a varied itinerary between sustainability and tradition.
A brief report about the steps of this journey into the world of Italian restoration is offered below, along with some notes on the remarkable sites that were visited.
Milan, Monday 11th June
At the heart of Milan, Corso di Porta Venezia, the Portal of the Archbishop’s Seminar is one of the few examples of Baroque art in the city. Thanks to Cristiana Bigari, Oriana Barbieri, Serena Quattrociocchi from Riva srl Impresa Restauri, the restoration site was opened for the Israeli visitors to appreciate the cleaning works of the Ceppo Lombardo stone, a construction material extensively used in Milan. The state of degradation of the Portal, which was assessed with an analysis campaign carried out by CNR, demanded that a thick layer of deposits be removed with extreme care, for the fragility of this type of stone leaves out all mechanical or chemical treatments. The cleaning works now in progress are being executed with the help of a special laser technology named Thunder Art by El.En., to remove the black crust deposits on the decaying stone, a correct solution for the characteristics of the material.
During the visit to the Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo, Francesco Canali, the Head of Works of the restoration of the Cathedral, guided the visitors to the roofs of the church to tell the long story of the Candoglia marble with which the huge building is made, from its extraction in the quarries through its shipping and treatment. He then illustrated the mode of construction of the Cathedral and revealed the secrets of its regular maintenance. The continual restoration works, especially concentrated on cleaning the stone, are currently carried out by Piacenti spa non the dome cladding.
The Opera House is an example of peculiar restoration, as the restoration site is also used as a location to stage events, including guided tours and cultural activities, thanks to a partnership between Impresa Garibaldi, the Municipality of Milan, Fondazione Dioguardi, Mapei and the prestigious Antonio Marras brand. Guided by Giuseppe Fragasso from Impresa Garibaldi, the company entrusted with the works, the group could appreciate some areas of the theatre now completed, including the forestage and the stalls, and some areas currently being restored.
To watch some of the events that took place at the restoration site, click on the links below:
VIDEO The events at the Opera House
VIDEO The fashion show of Antonio Marras
The programme in Milan ended with a remarkable site recently started by the Direction of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape for the metropolitan city of Milan. The Director, architect Antonella Ranaldi, guided the visitors to the Crypt of the Church of Santo Sepolcro, where some restoration works are being carried out on the ruins of the pavement of the Roman forum, which used to be located here. This restoration belongs to a wider project promoted by the Direction to launch an itinerary of some Roman sites in the city of Milan, including the Amphitheatre, the foundations of the Cappella di Sant’Aquilino and the area of the Roman forum.
Mantua, Tuesday 12th June
The educational itinerary in Mantua was focussed on one of the landmarks of the city, which has been restored for several years: Palazzo Podestà. An impressive building, the Palazzo is now undergoing repair works after the 2012 earthquake. Piacenti spa, a company that has worked in this site for several years, showed the visitors around to understand the restorations that will soon bring a building of remarkable reference back to the city and its citizens.
A tour in the Church of Sant’Andrea, guided by Michele Rigoni, the Technical Director of Lithos, helped the visitors understand better the diagnostic testing methods used in the restoration of the main façade of the church, as well as all the issues involved in the choices made to restore the building designed by Leon Battista Alberti. Ranking among the most remarkable examples of Italian Renaissance, the church features ornaments that have overlapped throughout 500 year.
In the City of Sabbioneta, the Mayor Aldo Vincenzi welcomed the Israeli visitors to illustrate an ideal city built on the initiative of the Gonzaga family. The visit stirred a lively debate on the theme of the prospective future of the UNESCO museum-city.
Ferrara, Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th June
One of the major achievements of Biagio Rossetti in the late 15th century, the Church of San Francesco in Ferrara was damaged by the 2012 earthquake and is now being the object of structural consolidation and finish reparation works. Guided by architect Irene Rossi from Leonardo, the tour of the church illustrated the extrados consolidation of the roofing and vaults of both aisles and showed an analysis of the detached frescoes, which revealed different layers of overlapped pictorial decorations.
At Palazzo dei Diamanti, a tour guided by Federica Tartari and Paolo Rebecchi from the Municipality of Ferrara helped the visitors appreciate the restorations concluded few weeks ago and learn about the projects for the extension of the exhibition areas submitted during a public tender. The finalist projects now on display include the winner, a teamwork project submitted by 3TI progetti, Studio Labics, Arch. Elisabetta Fabbri and Società Vitruvio.
The itinerary ended with a visit to Palazzo Massari, with its renowned Italian-style garden transformed into an English-style garden after the Unification of Italy. The guide to the building, architect Raffaella Vitale from the Municipality of Ferrara, explained the structural consolidation works required after the 2012 earthquake that are currently in progress.
The Grand Tour also stopped at MEIS, the National Museum of Italian Hebraism and Shoah, where the Israeli guests were welcomed by Director Simonetta della Seta, architect Andrea Sardo from the Polo Museale dell’Emilia Romagna and Marco Mari, Vice President of GBC Italia.
The visit to this new museum highlighted the characteristics of the sustainable restoration of the building, formerly a prison and now house to some of the exhibits of the museum collection.
At MEIS, architect Matteo Fabbri from Tryeco 2.0 illustrated the rendering with a 3D laser scanner and printer of some inscriptions and of a sarcophagus with a menorah, whose original stone artefacts are exhibited in the National Roman Museum at the Baths of Diocletian.
At the end of the Restoration Grand Tour, the foreign visitors received the official greetings by Massimo Maisto, Vice-Mayor of Ferrara, and by Rubens Sacerdoti from the Regional Government of Regione Emilia Romagna, who has long supported the internationalization activities of Assorestauro and its members.
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