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We would like to call readers’ attention to an interesting article (in Italian) with the title “Dal Madeinitaly al BrandItalia: una storia italiana”. We would like to deal with this issue in greater depth by starting a discussion on the Domus Aurea Worksite as a possible symbol of a new way of understanding “Italian value” that is not a function “only” of its immense cultural heritage and its infinite potential for exploitation but, especially in the eyes of the world, of a coherent and complex set of cultural, technical, scientific and entrepreneurial skills that, by ensuring its conservation, can contribute to the development and recognition of our national identity.
These concepts were clearly expressed, quoting Article 9 of the Italian Constitution, by the Italian Constitutional Court in a ruling of 1986 referring to the “primacy” of aesthetic and cultural value, which cannot be subordinated to other values, including economic ones; rather, it notes that the economy itself should draw inspiration from culture as a mark of its Italian identity. The promotion of knowledge and the safeguard of artistic heritage are not therefore just one activity ‘among the many’ for the Italian Republic but are enshrined in the Constitution and Italy’s millennial identity as a fundamental, public and inalienable mission (drawn from a speech made in 2003 by the then President of the Republic C. A. Ciampi (http://www.quirinale.it/Discorsi/Discorso.asp?id=22144).
Can the Domus Aurea, thanks to our Worksite aimed at its physical and cultural rehabilitation, become a symbol of a new Italian Renaissance for the second time in its history? If the answer is yes, would it not be worth guaranteeing its completion at all costs, precisely to suggest a new path towards the genuine rehabilitation of our country?
The new year began with a novelty for the Domus Aurea and for our team: our Director, Fedora Filippi, is now enjoying her well-earned pension! Fedora, widely known for her enormous scholarly competence, has also been for us an example of honesty, dedication to her work, and tenacity in achieving results and objectives. To her we also owe the idea for this blog, allowing the general public to keep up-to-date on the work and projects of our diverse team, and its publication; we hope she will continue to work on it. We are all sure that Fedora will not abandon the Domus Aurea, but that, albeit in different ways, she will continue to offer her scholarly contribution to the works and projects that she helped to shape and that we all share. The new Director of the monument is Ida Sciortino, who has been a member of the Domus Aurea staff for over twenty years and who has a profound knowledge of the monument and the complex problems it faces; readers will already be familiar with her as the coordinator of this blog and the authors of several articles.
We do not want to say goodbye to Fedora but “see you soon”, wishing her every happiness in her new life, and to Ida a warm welcome and “good luck”!
We have worked hard, but are extremely pleased with the result. On Sunday morning before 9, the first visitors were already outside the gate. They didn’t have long to wait: after putting on their yellow hard hats they entered for the first visit at 9.15, accompanied by their guides. The same scene was repeated throughout Sunday: all the visits were sold out and many of the visitors were foreign. We have a feeling that our objective of opening the monument/worksite to the general public was a good idea. The visitors were certainly impressed by the Domus Aurea, for its magnificence and the fascination that in spite of everything it has exerted since the Renaissance, but they were also very attentive to the problems that we face during our rehabilitation work, explained along the route. Continue reading
After the Press conference on 18 June 2014 at which we presented the Definitive Project for the new park above the Domus Aurea, we continued with the Pilot Worksite for the construction of the first of the 22 basins of the Integrated Protection System.
We have had direct experience on several occasions over the past few years of the detrimental effects of torrential rains in Rome and, more specifically, the hindrances caused to the good progress of work inside the monument by the most recent “cloud burst” last February. This forced us to suspend the worksites for safety reasons and has led to the decision to implement a “Provisional drainage layer”, designed by Vincenzo Angeloro, the hydraulic engineer of the main “Domus Aurea Project” design team, with the collaboration of our staff (in particular Maurizio Pesce, the Technical Coordinator for the monument). This intervention aims to protect the Domus from severe weather events during this extremely delicate phase of its consolidation, considering the long time (at least 4 years) before the definitive project is completed.
During the summer holiday period, we tried to protect the area from the camps set up by homeless people in the park above with a night watch service. However, despite numerous evacuations by the police and the constant maintenance of the fence, which is cut every evening, the situation had not improved when work began. We are confident that when the new fence is built and work is extended to cover the whole of the park, this situation will be definitively resolved.
In the meantime, work inside is proceeding – especially the structural consolidation of the western sector, in the so-called former Little Barracks and Access Gallery 18. We have begun to secure the decorations of Room 116, one of the few to be preserved intact, including its mosaic floor.
We are also in the process of designing new projects which will begin the tender process before the end of the year, in order to plan our work for next year. We have updated the state of progress and the expenditure situation.
MINISTRY FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE AND ACTIVITIES AND TOURISM
SOPRINTENDENZA SPECIALE PER I BENI ARCHEOLOGICI DI ROMA
COMPLETION OF THE PROJECT TO REHABILITATE THE UPPER AREA
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.
“The Domus Aurea Worksite” opens up to the web with the aim of providing a day-by-day account of the works underway. A diary to inform people about the progress of projects and work to consolidate structures and decorations, the experiments underway and our research and documentation activities.