I feel compelled to intervene in the debate triggered by Valentini’s article “Tutti i no delle Soprintendenze…” “All the Refusals of the Soprintendenze”) (here and here: in Italian) that appeared in La Repubblica last Sunday. I do so not to defend a professional category nor to argue in favour of safeguard and its history in Italy; others who are more authoritative and knowledgeable than me have already done so.
The whole staff of the Domus Aurea Worksite wish you all a Merry Christmas and especially a Happy New Year to all our readers and … to the Domus Aurea
After several months of work by a group of conservators, we are about to complete the intervention to secure the decorations of the Great Cryptoporticus which delimits the East Wing of the Domus to the north.
In April, activities inside the monument were halted by the very heavy and prolonged rains that forced us to stop consolidation work on both structures and decorated surfaces.
The very high degree of humidity and the spread of percolation phenomena inside did not allow us to work effectively and made it difficult for the specialized workers, technicians and restorers to spend long periods inside the rooms.
After the rains, very heavy and prolonged this year, spring has returned to the Domus Aurea. The conservators and archaeologists can go back to taking their break between 12 and 1 in the garden in front of the monument, warming up before going back inside. At this time of year, the difference in temperature and humidity between inside and outside is very noticeable. You could say that it is still winter inside.
We have recently been working hard to organize the new works and in particular to prepare the projects to appropriate the funds which are still available. The procedures specified in the Code of Public Contracts both for direct commissions under the permitted limit and for tenders are fairly complex and require that we respect very specific phases and time frames. This means that the time that passes between the development of a project and the start of work is relatively long.
On Wednesday 23 January, we met at the Domus; it was raining heavily and this always worries us because of percolation into the interior and the safety of the workers. Luckily, in the late morning the sky cleared and the sun came out. During the first half of the morning our meeting concerned the progress of the project for the new layout of the park area above the monument.
This morning at about 9 am our coordination meetings at the Domus resumed. Most of the internal staff and some of our external collaborators were present.