Supporting the Restoration of the Arco Madonna dei Banchi In Rome, Italy

Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: December 2011 - Project end date: July 2012
Project number: 2011-39
Beneficiary: ADSI


The project aims at the restoration and conservative rehabilitation of Via Arco dei Banchi in Rome, a side street of Via del Banco di Santo Spirito, which once opened into a large space, closed by a wall in the end and creating a courtyard. It is therefore called "Courtyard of the Chigi" for the bank work held by Agostino Chigi. Object of a particular value, the left foot of the arch preserves what may be considered the oldest existing marble headstone in Rome on the Tiber floods, because it bears the date and the level of the flood which took place in November 7, 1277. During the sixteenth century under the arch a beautiful wooden sculpture of the Virgin Mary was also venerated that was then removed and replaced by a painting in the nineteenth century, which is still very revered. The arch is also characterized by a beautiful travertine portal of good quality, and by the "starry sky" which decorates the entire vault.

The project, which received a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation,  involves the removal of inconsistent surface dry deposits with brushes and extractors, paying particular attention to the protection of the same areas as those surrounding the area, both for the stone and the painted surfaces.
Next, a partial restoration of adhesion and cohesion (pre-consolidation) of the paint part before the consolidation and cleaning in the cases of breakdown and lifting of the same, on the whole surface of the vault (starry sky) and in the tempera and oil on the wall (shrine) will be accomplished.
Next step will be the cleaning of the stone parts (memorial arch and frame) with a mixtures of inorganic salts, or ammonium carbonate suspended in tablets pulp, and for painted surfaces by removing surface deposits partially coherent as dust settles, fixatives and substances of different kinds present in the painting, including the choice of types for the solution and the appropriate timing of application, including the removal of residual salts after cleaning.
The consolidation of decorated plaster will be achieved through the restoration of accession between the wall support and the plaster using adhesive filler injections, filling the minimum crack, and subsequent removal of remaining product from the surfaces through the application of a protecting coating upon those parts in danger of falling and shoring of tempera and oil.
For the part of the plaster not decorated, the following works will be done:  a revision of the parameter and a demolition of any unsafe parts, the reconstruction of missing plasters with bricks, and preparation of plaster made of lime and pozzolanic ash, including finishing in "Roman stucco" painted with milk coloured lime and natural sands to be checked previously by the general supervision of ‘Bene Architettonico'
The project also aims to finish the stone and to reinstate with watercolour painting the whole wall and its surface abrasion, as to restoring the original colour of the work both for the vault and for the sacred image of the shrine.
Taking advantage of the restoration works, the present lighting system will be replaced since the present one is totally inadequate and obsolete. A new system will be installed in compliance with modern safety standards, through mineral insulated cables.

The project is part of a campaign to entice private sponsors to intervene in the renovation of Roman monuments and historical sites.

ADSI was founded in 1977 to help maintain the many historical and artistic sites in Italy, a country blessed with one of the richest collection of art treasures spanning 3 millennia. Every year the Association promotes cultural events, concerts, restoration projects of public and private art treasures.

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