Venice in Peril

Venice in Peril

The Monument to Canova in Venice's Bacilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari church was suffering from degradation due to damp and changing climatic variables as a result of increased tourists.

Objective

Scientific surveys revealed the urgent need for a rescue operation for the monument. The creeping damp, with its dire impact on both the brick foundations and the stonework of the monument itself, could be kept at bay, but only if the whole structure was dismantled, damp-proofed, and a process of conservation was applied to all its parts.

Rescuing this monument involved sensitive supervision by conservation experts, scientists and art historians. A team of technicians and engineers first detached the marble slabs and sculptures in order to damp-proof the structure they currently sit on. The task entailed stripping away the various coatings of oil and wax applied by earlier restorers. Each of the marble slabs and sculptures also had to be immersed in special desalination tanks to remove all invasive mineral deposits. Following this, and several repairs, a fresh protective coating was brushed onto the stonework before the reassembled monument was returned to its place.

Impact

TreadRight partnered with the Venice in Peril fund to commission a comprehensive report by Venetian scientific experts on the underlying problems, so that recovery could be carried out as thoroughly as possible. The project, enabled with additional support from UNESCO and Cambridge University, also explored methods in which the city could encourage a more sustainable tourism industry.