Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Assisi provides lessons for protecting historic buildings

  • Comment

Innovative ideas about protecting historic buildings at risk from earthquake damage have been promoted at a conference organised by the Italian Ministry of Culture and the European Commission.

The conference was staged at Assisi, one year after five earthquakes measuring from 4.1 to 5.8 on the Richter scale struck the Italian regions of Marche and Umbria, damaging the town's famous Basilica of St Francis, particularly the frescoes by Cimabue and Giotto.

Thirty experts discussed the frescoes' damage and restoration, as well as measures to protect such cultural heritage from the effects of future earthquakes, environmental degradation and mass tourism, a particular problem in popular destinations such as Assisi.

Many of the ideas are to be included in a manual to be issued worldwide by the end of 1999, offering advice on how to protect historic buildings from seismic activity. Carlo Avetta, an Italian architect currently working for the European Commission, said that the ideas focused on practice developed at Assisi since the earthquake, which has been funded by the Italian government and the eu's Raphael programme. For the structure of the building, it has proved possible to 'rebuild the framework with original materials together with new materials of the same kind as the old', while a computer scanner has been employed to help restore the frescoes.

Avetta said he hoped that the process would enable the restoration of '80 per cent of the regions' damaged frescoes'. The basilica itself is expected to reopen by 2000.

Research into the protection of Europe's cultural heritage will be substantially increased in the eu's forthcoming £16 billion Fifth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.