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S. Maria in Trastevere façade restored to former glory


The façade of the basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere has been restored to its former glory after a restoration carried out by experts of the Rome Special Superintendent's office lasting a year and a half and costing 400,000 euros.

S. Maria in Trastevere façade restored to former glory
Credit: AGF
Now the splendid medieval mosaics that run horizontally across the front can be admired in all their glimmering gold, with the Madonna dominating the scene and in an ideal dialogue with the 19th century paintings by Silverio Capparoni and the 18th century portico designed by architect Carlo Fontana under Pope Clement XI.

The restoration is the result of a complex process due to the co-presence of various styles and materials and the various interventions carried out on the basilica over time, including the addition of the portico and of the fresco paintings by Capparoni from 1863 to 1874.

S. Maria in Trastevere façade restored to former glory
Credit: AGF
The restorers led by Elvira Cajano focused their efforts on the figures (Christ with the angels, the Gospel writers, Pius IX, the lambs and the palm trees), which had almost disappeared due to the rain and pollution.

Now, where possible, the original colour has been restored.

S. Maria in Trastevere façade restored to former glory
Credit: AGF
Working on the detail while also guaranteeing the comprehensive overview of a monument that was designed to be seen from a distance was also difficult.

The restorers began by studying the sources and conducting a diagnostic campaign, before proceeding with cleaning and restoration of the mosaics, frescoes, statues and structures in travertine and granite, consolidation of the masonry and creation of rain conduits.

S. Maria in Trastevere façade restored to former glory
Credit: AGF
"The memory of this façade was lost because it was faded and neglected. I have lived in Trastevere for years and I find it moving," said Rome Special Superintendent Francesco Prosperetti.

"The restoration started with 200,000 euros of ministerial funds; then the other 200,000 came in from the takings at the Colosseum, 30% of which are given to the Superintendent's Office. With that money we hope to be able to restore other monuments and also make this restoration last, because the façade of Santa Maria in Trastevere needs regular maintenance."

Source: ANSA [May 12, 2018]

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