St. Peter’s Dome to be restored for the next four years
As you’re watching the reports on the worldwide Coronavirus emergency, you might have noticed that images from Rome include footage of St. Peter’s Basilica partially covered in scaffolding.
This is because a massive renovation effort has been planned before the lockdown was set: four years of works to restore the aesthetics and safety elements of the bricks in the dome of the church.
The stone surface of the Basilica is degraded, particularly, as a direct result of the effects of pollution: gas fumes are aggressive to marble, travertine and other porous types of building materials, which are abundantly found in St. Peter’s.
A work ten years in the making
This is the last installment of a restoration process which began during the Jubilee in the year 2000: the facade was restored then. In 2007, this was followed by a works of the external prospects was started and later the two smaller domes, the Gregoriana and Clementina, were repaired.
According to Vatican News, Vatican City’s premier news agency, the renovation was decided, in the words of Luca Virgilio, head architect at Saint Peter’s, “to return the complex architectural structure of the basilica to its former glory, while there is also the necessity to restore the mechanical characteristics of efficiency and safety of the stones forming the architectural elements”.
Mr. Virgilio has explained that restoration is not just cleaning and fixing the stones. The project includes diagnostic examinations and the creation of a scan through a laser equipment, which will “serve to better understand the sophisticated architectural structure designed by Michelangelo and Giacomo Della Porta“. A fascinating task in and of itself, which will surely reveal the secrets in this magnificent building!