ROMA ARCHEOLOGIA e RESTAURO ARCHITETTURA: Prof. Arch. Giovanni Carbonara, “An Italian contribution to architectural restoration,” Frontiers of Architectural Research, Vol. 1 | Issue 1, March (2012), 2-9 [PDF].

Prof. Arch. Giovanni Carbonara, “An Italian contribution to architectural restoration,” Frontiers of Architectural Research, Vol. 1 | Issue 1, March (2012), 2-9.

The essay provides an up-to-date review of the realities of Italian restoration. Restoration work feeds off the doubt that stems directly from historical and balance, and a conceptual rigour and practical approach at the same time. Restoration is carried out always and only on the original, with all the attendant risks of error and damage, and thus with all the prudence that demands.

One of the most recent definitions of restoration is put forward: “By restoration, therefore, is meant any intervention that has the aim of conserving and transmitting to the future works of historical, artistic and environmental interest, facilitating the reading of them while not erasing the traces of the passage of time this is based on a respect for ancient material land the authentic documentation that such works constitute and, moreover, is to be seen as a critical act of interpretation that is not verbal but expressed concretely in the work carried out. Or, more precisely, it is a critical hypothesis and a proposition that is always modifiable, without it ever altering irreversibly the original”.

The true nature of restoration is a complete fusion of historical and technical-scientific expertise. It is therefore artificial to distinguish between a ‘project of consolidation’ and a truly described restoration project. This is a distinction based on the assumption (to be demonstrated) that in an ancient building static problems and those related to the materials can be isolated and treated separately from an overall understanding of the architectural ensemble. So the paper stresses research methodology, the project and specific skills. As part of the principle of unity of methods in restoration, interdisciplinarity is viewed as the principal tool for bringing together consistently and fully the different skills necessary for the study and conservation of monuments.

In summary, there are three fundamental components: (1) the history of architecture and theory of restoration; (2) the techniques of survey, analysis, diagnosis and intervention on the materials and the structure; and (3) legislative and regulatory aspects.

The author emphasises the link between restoration and access to the monumental heritage. The definition of restoration as ‘an act of culture’ (fundamentally critical-historical and technical-scientific) leads to the reflection that culture is, by definition, exchange, communication and opening up to people without distinction. So restoration, because of its cultural nature, has need of recommendations, trends and orientations rather than regulations.

Restoration looks to the future, not to the past. It has educational and commemorative functions for future generations, for young people; it ultimately is concerned not with satisfaction with research per se but the preparation of all citizens and their quality of life, viewed in the widest possible spiritual and material sense.

In conclusion, some perspectives for the new millennium are offered. We have to ask ourselves whether society today is still able to guarantee a role for memory, for history and for the value of traditions, or for beauty itself. At first sight, it seems that interest in conservation and restoration has been reinforced in recent times. At the same time, we are aware of dominant pressures wanting to renovate and redesign our environment, giving priority above all to economic factors and revenue. To recall an earlier declaration by Renato Bonelli: contemporary society is not interested in historical and artistic things in themselves, whether they are ancient or modern. It is practical and consumerist, but it is also a society of complexities, and that however opens up some vents.

Restoration; Interdisciplinarity; Monumental heritage; Italy


— Frontiers of Architectural Research, Volume 1, Issue 1, March 2012, Pages 2–9.

— prof. Giovanni Carbonara, in: Roma – Il Dipartimento di Storia, disegno e restauro dell’architettura (DSDRA) è stato istituito il 1° luglio 2010 come unione di due Dipartimenti preesistenti, quello di Storia dell’architettura, restauro e conservazione dei beni architettonici e quello di Rilievo, analisi e disegno dell’ambiente e dell’architettura, interamente confluiti nel nuovo Dipartimento nell’ambito del riordino della “Sapienza” – Università di Roma.


Prof. Arch. Jukka Jokilehto, Roma | ICCROM, 1986 [& 2017] = Centro internazionale di studi per la conservazione ed il restauro dei beni culturali |

— A History of Architectural Conservation (pdf 6.7 MB); Jokilehto, Jukka. ICCROM, 1986. (Thesis) part 1(pdf 1.8 MB), part 2 (pdf 2.1 MB), part 3 (pdf 3.0 MB)

This document (466 pages) consists of the research undertaken for the degree of the Doctor of Philosophy (D.Phil.) at the University of York, England, between 1978 and 1986.

— ROMA ARCHEOLOGIA e RESTAURO ARCHITETTURA: Prof. Arch. Gustavo Giovannoni (1874-1947) – Scuola Romana Di Storia Dell’ Architettura – Restauro Dei Monumenti (1946), in: Prof. L. Napoleone, Università degli Studi di Genova (2014) [PDF], pp. 1-10.