Lighting System for the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls

Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: June 2010 - Project end date: December 2010
Project number: 2010-15
Beneficiary: Basilica Papale di San Paolo fuori le Mura

The Nando Peretti Foundation has co-founded a project to install a new lighting system in the naves of St. Paul's Basilica. This will enable the basilica's visitors from all over the world to better appreciate the artistic and architectural treasures it contains.

At present, the four side naves of the basilica do not have sufficient lighting, either from natural sources or from the existing lighting system which is limited and in need of renovation. For the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who come each year to visit the tomb of St Paul, a new lighting system would therefore provide a more attractive welcome and a better opportunity to admire the artistic and architectural treasures contained in the dimly lit areas. These naves in fact contain some particularly important works of art. Right at the top around the naves you can see the famous series of papal portraits (that of Pope Benedict XVI is located in the right hand nave); the wooden coffered ceilings have painted and stucco decorations; the walls, floors and columns are made of precious polychrome marble; the ten niches along the perimeter wall contain the statues of the Apostles (excluding Saint Paul and Saint Peter who are in the central nave); the large windows have panes of alabaster, given to Pope Pius IX by King Fuad I of Egypt; in the right hand nave you can see the wooden model designed by Colagiacomi in 1844 following the restoration project for the basilica drawn up by Poletti; and at the entrance to the right hand nave you can admire the Byzantine door in bronze with silver inlay, made in Constantinople in 1070.
In the side naves to the right and left, the large wooden confessionals are located in the appropriately named ‘penitential area', where the faithful wishing to make their confession are welcomed by the monks who offer this sacrament of Penance.

The management of the basilica has selected a leading company specialising in the field of design and production of large lighting systems for churches, museums, historical buildings and public spaces.
Because of the specific artistic and architectural nature of the area, they have drawn up detailed plans for the use of innovative materials which can guarantee efficient lighting, while at the same time limiting expenses both for energy consumption and for the necessary care and maintenance of the system.
The present project involves the restoration of the lighting system of two naves of the Basilica: the right aisle and the left aisle besides the central nave. This new lighting system for the two naves should be completed by the end of 2010.

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