Restoration Journal

Audacious heights and daring drops


6 July 2017

Even during the hot and sunny month of July, the Veneranda Fabbrica’s ongoing restorations never cease to challenge the heights and issues of the great monument. With boundless energy, the skilled workers manage to reconcile the needs of the restoration site with the presence of thousands of visitors who, at this time of year, crowd the terraces and Cathedral on a daily basis, exploring its infinite beauty.

This morning a large crane arrived in Piazza del Duomo to transport various materials required for the preparation of scaffolding around the Tiburio and on the north-east terrace for the restoration of rampant arches AR 19 and AR 20.

While restoration of the Tiburio continues, that of the apsidal arches is nearing completion (in the photo, an arch prior to being restored).

Of all the rampant arches that act as buttresses to the Cathedral’s nave, these are under the most strain.

The ashlars are in need of an urgent restoration, exacerbated by copious infiltrations of water.

The rampant arches perform the important function of concealing the drainage ducts for rainwater, which is funnelled directly from the roofs to the gargoyles. Viollet-le-Duc called them “the most forthright and energetic expression” of the medieval construction.