ROMA – It was born two and a half years ago as Directorate General for the Security of Cultural Heritage. And it fights to prevent and cure the damage that natural catastrophes, such as earthquakes in the 21st century or landslides such as the latest one in Ischia, produce on paintings, churches, palaces, sculptures, silverware, manuscripts: the Italian treasure, in short, put at risk by the morphological nature of the beautiful country but also by the carelessness of those who live there. And now, in the year he lost the late Fabio Carapezza Guttuso, the man who passionately contributed to its creation, the Security Directorate of the Ministry of Culture (MIC) puts experts, scholars and technicians around a table to talk about “The complexity of post-seismic reconstruction: security, development and protection”. The first of a (hopefully long) series of days on this Italian fragility.
The topics of the conference
Appointment therefore for Monday 5 December in the conference room of the Auditorium of the National Central Library, in viale Castro Pretorio in Rome. Starting at 9.30, after the greeting of the new owner of the Mic, Gennaro Sangiuliano, we will talk about how the post-earthquake reconstruction is going from the Marches to Umbria, from Campania to Emilia Romagna. And therefore above all of the design and construction of art safeguard deposits in the event of natural disasters. But also of restorations and innovative construction techniques for risk prevention. Last but not least, the many times (unnecessarily) invoked a reduction in soil consumption: the mother of all battles for the protection of the Italian landscape, the heritage that contains everything and the most difficult to preserve due to the continuous attack of the cement, authorized or illegal (architects, engineers, restorers will talk about the regeneration of urban fabrics and the protection of our land: Paolo Verducci, Matteo di Venosa, Francesco Nigro, Manuela Cecconi, Riccardo Dalla Negra).
The model of the Holy Nail of Spoleto
More than 20 scholars, including ministerial and academic experts, will participate in the day. Four panels scheduled between 9.30 and 17.30, organized as round tables. And after Minister Sangiuliano, the extraordinary commissioner for the earthquake in central Italy will take care of it, and the new commissioner for the Ischia landslide, John Legnini, to take stock of the reconstruction works in the area of the 2016 earthquake crater. And in the first moment of comparison and discussion we will talk about the deposits for sheltering (and treating) mobile works of art in cases of natural disasters that have damaged or destroyed their containers: churches, museums, palaces. “The model is that of the Santo Chiodo di Spoleto, a safety deposit that allowed 7,000 pieces temporarily left homeless to be hospitalized,” he explains Maria Mercalli, at the head of the General Directorate for Security of the Mic, referring to the 2016 earthquake.
“Restoration workshops in the same temporary conservation facilities”
We must not think of basements or attics where works of art end up forgotten. But to modern structures in which scholars can easily continue to do their research and analyze the testimonies of Italian history and culture. “Another feature of the Santo Chiodo and of the deposits which will have to be built in other crucial points of the country”, adds the Roman art historian “is the internal restoration laboratory which allows the treatment of damaged works to begin immediately”. The Pnrr-Recovery Art will have to think about creating these gold reserves of masterpieces and skills, on the model of the Santo Chiodo where the restorers of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence have healed, for example, the table of Jacopo Siculo, a pupil of Raphael , battered exit from the church of San Francesco in Norcia. And it is in the opening panel that, in addition to Mercalli, the director of Santo Chiodo di Spoleto will take the floor, Giovanni Luca De Loguthe general director of Italian museums, Massimo Hosannathat of the ecclesiastical assets of the CEI, Don Luca Franceschinied Elise Rossi who is working on the construction of the safety deposit in the former barracks of Camerino.
Works in progress
From the small painting we go to the large church shaken by the earthquake in the second comparison which, coordinated by Paul Iannellithe special superintendent for the areas affected by the earthquake that hit central Italy in 2016 will see the floor Carla DiFrancesco who, when she was regional director, dealt with the same problems but due to the earthquake in Emilia-Romagna in 2012. And then Alexander Victoriniformer superintendent for L’Aquila and for the municipalities of the crater in 2009, but also the professors Claudio Modena of the University of Padua and Danielle Espositoof Sapienza, and the director of the Central Institute for Restoration, Alessandra Marino. And it will be these experts, among others, who will tell us how much is still missing before we can return to admire the basilica of San Benedetto in Norcia which, like the cathedral of Venzone destroyed by the earthquake in Friuli in 1976, is being reborn with the same stones and the same design as the original, but respecting the modern anti-seismic measures.
If the earth shakes again, old monuments like new houses must resist the tremors: first of all for the protection of those who live there, but also for the heritage they conserve.