Saturday, August 13, 2011

In 30 months, St. Peter’s Square to resemble the 1600s

(L'Osservatore Romano) In thirty months, St. Peters Square will return to looking like that which was conceived and built in the second half of the 1600s. Work has already begun on the Bernini columns and soon they will be restored in all of their original color and brilliance; as one of the most important Baroque symbols, famous not only in architecture and urban planning – as a space dedicated to public religious ceremonies – but also as highly allegorical artistic representation of an ecumenical embrace of the universal Church to all people.

The immense construction site aims to restore all of the architectural and decorative elements of the Square: 284 columns, 92 pillars, 140 statues, 6 papal coat of arms, 1200 meters of balustrade and crown mouldings as well as 3400 square meters of paneled ceilings. Then there are the two celebrated twin fountains – the Clementina and the Gregoriana – and of course, the Egyptian obelisk in granite, 42 meters high, erected in 1586 by Sixtus V at the center of the Square. Even the 18th century lamps around the obelisk will be restored, according to the Director of Technical Services of the Governatorate, Pier Carlo Cuscianna.

This immense project, “made possible thanks to generous sponsors and Divine Providence,” said Cuscianna, “will take around two and a half years and will involve detailed direction from the Governatorate of the Vatican City State,” who will work with the engineers and architects in specific areas of planning, verifying and execution of the works.

Scientific, artistic, historical and monumental aspects will be handled by the Vatican Museums, directed by Antonio Paolucci and supported by a group of expert restorers, specialists and researchers from the Superintendence of Architectural Heritage of the Vatican City State. The duty of regulating the financing of the work and its execution will lie with the Direction of the Accounting of the State and the Juridical Office. The general restoration and works have been tendered to the Associazione Temporanea di Imprese: Italiana Costruzioni  and Fratelli Navarra. Cuscianna emphasizes that the most significant contribution to the project has been given by the President of the Governatorate, Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo who has, “steered clearly and firmly in these turbulent economic and financial times,” and the Secretary General, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano’ in “putting together this long and arduous interdisciplinary undertaking.”

Raffaele Alessandrini
August 13, 2011
[tags: Architettura

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