RESTORATION AND RENOVATION OF UGENTO’S CASTLE (LECCE)

 

The Ugento’s Castle is situated in the Northern area of the city and it occupies an area of quadrangular shape. The building, situated in the highest point of the urban fabric, it closed the circuit wall in the weakest point, contributing to the defense of the center with two circular towers north transformed, to receive the pieces of artillery, from Pandone, using the shoes of those Angevin after the destruction of the center and the castle by the Turks in 1537. The building is a structure of local tuff, made indifferent times, once at the edge north of the town, set on a large area quadrangular. Its conversion into a noble residence, must register to d’Amore who buy the estate in 1643, when the building had lost its defensive function. Considered one of the most important manor of Otranto’s land, where the Angevin kings always showed a predilection, the building retain sits character and organic and unit, typical of the big factories built in the pre-modernage.

 

METHODOLOGY

The Restoration's Project of Ugento's Castle, his conversion, besides enhancing the manufactured object of intervention, allows to visit the existing with the language of contemporary architecture, creating a stratification with the architecture of the past which leads to the interventions of the future. Inspired by the idea of the "union" between historical and contemporary, it proposes a clever play balance in the use of materials and design choices. The architectural language takes visitors on an suggestive narrative sequence through the alternation of starry vaults left exposed in their we having natural stone typical of the area and long vaulted spaces into fights made suggestive by the play of light that makesit unique and strongly characterized the intervention. In the project was valued compatibility on an architectural scale, ensuring that the desired functionis not cause a distortion of the physical substance and form of the building to be restored, neither the supporting structures and that the selected function was culturally compatible with an asset subject to intervention. In the definition of the plant functional, account was taken also the need to start processes of regeneration of the surround in urban context.
So the renovation provided for a mix of functions identified in a museum built in the frescoed rooms on the first floor, in an international cooking school and a hotel made in the areas on the ground floor and the first floor of the wing named "alcove".
From a strictly technical point of view, interventions were identified, described and represented in reference to the various types of existing artefacts (walls, wood, steel and reinforced concrete, etc.), in reference to the various materials (stone, wood, metal, etc.) and with reference to the particular state of conservation (disruptions, degradations and alterations, etc.). An important role in the choice of the types of technical-operating privilege, has been attributed to the policy of minimum intervention, to compatibility demostrated of products to be used. The strategic objective chosen was to not alter the work and its consistency constructive, opting preferably no destructive techniques and no-invasive, in realistic consideration of the relationship between means and ends, and the demands of security and conservation of the built environment.
On the methodological side and operation al restoration project was divided into three categories or distinct phases: those designed to ensure the structural safety, where addressed to inhibit and reduce the degenerative processes of materials (preservation of materials) and those directed a tremoval or addition of parts and components, where these actions are deemed necessary or functional fruition (reintegration).
In fact all design decisions took account of will of limit intervention to the simple and essential rehabilitation and functional reorganization of the interior, where possible. In the presence of the collapsed parts, destroyed or significantly alteredith as set itself the necessity, of ensuring efficiency and reliability to the arte facts involved. In that case, the intervention resulted in adapting technology and correlative realization of works (partition walls, floors, suspended ceilings, and more) that introduce new elements in the team inside and outside work. In this case, as with another type of intervention industrial universe, the principle of the different product durability modern compared to those of the pre-modernpast, and therefore the need to carry out any of the technological equipment without bringing destruction of the ancient material.

 

THE INTERVENTIONS

In the detail, the technical work needed for the purpose consisted of a detail deprogram related to multiple and complex activities, comprising:

- Consolidation of arches and vaults, with the sealing of the lesions and affixing on extradoses hoods fibrous materials resistant suitably anchored to the perimeter of the structures arched and made integral with resins.
- Reinforcement of connections between the structural components of the building, while contributing marginally to the overall stability of the building in case of seismic event can take a decisive role.
- The affixing of lintels with pair of beams and tierods in the openings (windows and door frames);
- The treatment and cleaning of the walls with the resumption of collapsed parts;
- The construction of curbs summit in steel, where it deems necessary;
- The release of some arcades on the ground floor to restore its original appearance;
- The closure of some rooms and the opening of new, as architectural design, and the review of those tampered with over time;
- The recovery, restoration and reintegration of stone elements of the balustrades, floorings, interior and exterior floorings and archway;
- Restoring interior plaster;
- Restoration and integration of frames and ornie on the openings;
- The execution of the toilets;
- The creation of partition panels as partition walls;
- The realization of elevators;
- The installation of new flooring and coatings;
- The laying of wooded window frames;
- The collection and disposal of storm water;
- Waterproofing and integration of membranes with tiles and canals;
- The internal paint work;
- The cleaning, consolidation and the veiling of the plaster;
- The restoration of the archway decorated including the contour’s band on the walls;
- The layout of the patio and the courts;
- The construction of raised platforms with iron structures and wooden plank;
- The creation of a green house bioclimatic;
- The construction of an access path from the tower collapsed.

 

RESTORED FRESCOES

The castle is decorated with a cycle of baroque frescoes documenting a significant iconographic program with subjects drawn from mythology, history and literature that are intertwined to the history and lives of the feudal lords, and is a rare example, extended to almost all the main floor, survived in feudal residences of Salento. The pictorial decorations now in advanced stages of restoration are attributable to the brothers Nicola and Francesco d'Amore and have been built since 1694, as documented by the date placed under a painted scene with the alleged author's signature, (are few clear letters that should be investigated with subsequent essays), and was designed to celebrate the social success of the clients who had purchased the feud in 1643; for a correct interpretation of the scenes – as was the custom at the time - are explained with captions stipulated by the customer in very refined triplets documenting the culture and the poetic vein of the feudal lord.

For the frescoes were made the following processes:
- The preliminary operations to consolidate and cleaning with removal of surface deposits inconsistent dry.
- The Discialbo mechanical and / or chemical decorations.
- The pre-consolidation of the paint layer or delamination of all surfaces.
- The cleanup aimed removal of any repainting considered incongruous and no evidence of historical or artistic value.
- The filling of gaps and injury has been made with lime mortar.
- The intervention of resubmission aesthetic of the gaps and abrasions of the paint film with haze of color to watercolor.
- For the stucco, the reconstruction of parts of the decorations simple and linear pads thinner.
- The review of the chromatic rebuilt parts.

The stuccos reliefs and within the scale are currently under dull, the goal is aimedat the conservation of materials, original finishes and compensation of the gaps of the modeled in stucco. The project will consist of the removal of the layers, leveling and painting, the transaction provides for the preservation of the original finish of molded in relief.

 

ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIND

The investigations conducted on the ground floor of the Castle of the Prince of Love, showed the remains of a manor, probably of Norman age. The fortified building may have developed from a settlement of the type "motta". The upper part of the greenhouse, on which was built the manor, has been, since ancient times, the perfect place for a defensive settlement.
The “motta” initial Ugento, was to be formed by the circular tower and a defensive system that at present cannot be defined. At a later stage, the “motta” must have turned into a real fortified castle, although not extraordinary in size, because of the limited space on the morphology of the area.
The excavations, are allocated on the ground floor of the Castle, where he was made a preliminary removal of the floor original.
Among the most interesting masonry of the most important it is represented by circular tower. The round tower was built with blocks, probably recovered from the Messapian walls of the city, later linked with mortar. The towered structure consists of seven courses of blocks all reworked were constructed with precision.
According to what emerged from the excavations, the round tower was built directly on the rock geological to have strong and stable foundations. In the lower part, the masonry was damaged and repaired old.
In the northeast, there was a structure in connection with the walls: it could be a second tower polygonal. Next to it was built a monumental entrance consists of a vaulted room. The tower is the core of the investigation, probably, in phase with the first plant, in the Norman period. The circular tower ison an interior wall that connects the north tower (between the environment 7 and the environment8) and which has an arch, perhaps representative, in opera finished.
After the Norman step, there is a further phase of settlement. The castle was enlarged with structures apparently poorer both in the south-east (room 6) and in the north (room 8), made up of stones associated with bolus.
At the end of 1500, the castle was completely rebuilt; the medieval structures, providing a stable and strong support base, are incorporated and not destroyed. The Norman castle is underground and lined by plants renaissance. In the north, in all likelihood, to the towers and to the walls lean against the existing tanks, underground today; above these last, it is the built up.
During excavations in some circles have been discovered well-preserved pottery fragments, sometimes even almost completely intact or reconstructed vessels, bronze artifacts, among which a button, and several other fragments as some plaques metal.

[by Rosa Carafa, Vincenzo Guadagno, Enrico Carafa]