The Places of the Heart, the census of the Italian places not to be forgotten
Eremi dell'Abbazia di Santa Maria di Pulsano
Monte Sant'Angelo (FG)
The place was chosen not only because of the enormous number of notifications it received, which came from people all over Italy, but also because of its unique and unusual nature. The hermitages of Pulsano express the perfect union of nature, art and spirit in an uncontaminated setting. The antiquity of the settlement must also be noted, having been built to the wishes of the pope-monk Saint Gregory the Great in the 6th century. Finally, the strong link between the place and its surroundings must be emphasised, because its history is not only that of the various monastic orders who settled there, but also that of the public who, through their voluntary work, have acted with enthusiasm to save the place they love.
FAI, with the support and assistance of the FAI Foggia Delegation, continued the work of raising awareness begun by the 34,118 people who took part in the ‘Places I Love’ census, by bringing the exceptional artistic and religious site of Pulsano to the attention of the media and all Italians. It is also entering into a joint project with the Apulian institutions to safeguard and upgrade the property, fully respecting its nature as a place of prayer and retreat.
Following the census, which aired the deeply felt and shared desire to protect and safeguard such a unique and extraordinary place, all the local bodies worked to act in aid of the hermitages, particularly the Foggia Provincial Administration and the Apulia Regional Administration.
Thanks to the ‘Places I Love’, FAI will install informative panels on the footpath leading to the San Nicola hermitage. This is one of the 24 hermitages already registered as part of the project and is distinguished inside by the remains of wall frescoes, which include an Annunciation, a Crucifixion with praying clergyman, a monk and an abbot kneeling in worship. The footpath will be upgraded by the Foggia Provincial Administration into a natural path of great panoramic impact.
This will allow the site to be admired without its quietness being invading by flows of tourists. Thanks to the ‘Places I Love’ it will also be possible to complete the laser scanner surveys of the hermitages, which are fundamental for finding out the current state of the property, at present unknown. These will be carried out through an educational project conducted by FAI in association with Foggia University and the Foggia Provincial Administration.
Casa Desanti Bossi
The mobilisation launched for the Casa Bossi is the result of the heartfelt and impassioned participation of an entire city, which acted for the place it loves. An act of love that could not pass unnoticed.
But this place was also chosen because it is the actual symbol of Novara and is currently an open sore in the heart of the city. A place of undoubted historical and artistic value, it is one of the finest examples of 19th-century civic architecture, designed by the great architect Alessandro Antonelli.
Attention is still focused on it thanks to the tireless work of upgrading carried out by the FAI Novare Delegation and by the Committee of Love for Casa Bossi. The renowned Novara architect Vittorio Gregotti also acted to save the historic building.
The big tide of opinion set off by the ‘Places I Love’ resulted in the plan to sell the Antonelli building being shelved and aroused new interest in saving it. FAI, with the local support of the FAI Novara Delegation and in association with the Novara Municipality and the Corriere di Novara, will launch a competition of ideas for eco-compatible and innovative lighting solutions for the Casa Desanti Bossi.
Thanks to the ‘Places I Love’ contribution, FAI will take part in the study of a valid design proposal that can offer aesthetic and technological quality for the lighting system in the house, with the aim of maintaining interest in the property and identifying functional proposals for its future use. The winning idea will be developed at a planning stage by FAI.
The Foundation is also in close contact with the Committee of Love for Casa Bossi - which together with the Delegation supported the collection of notifications - to identify the best methodology for the demanding restoration of the property, whose estimated cost is placed at several million euros, which must necessarily involve other organisations.
Chiesa di Santa Caterina
This was the third most highly voted place in 2010 by Italians and is emblematic of the fact that the public commitment to and enthusiasm for our heritage can play an essential part in its protection. The notifications received for the church were a genuine wake-up call, which reached as far as the Ministry of Cultural Activities and Assets.
The church is an extraordinary example of Baroque architecture, unique in the Lucca area, and has also taken on a social value over the years. It is the place of prayer and point of reference for the women who work at the Manifattura Tabacchi, right in front of the church.
Thanks to the national visibility gained with the ‘Places I Love’ census and the constant awareness raising activity of the FAI Lucca Delegation, the Lucca Soprintendenza asked for and received funding of 800,000 euros for restoration of the church.
This amount has already allowed a start to be made on the most urgent works to the roof of the building, which has been in a dangerous state for some time. The work of FAI and Intesa Sanpaolo will also allow the church of Santa Caterina to be given back its voice by restoring the 19th-century organ.
The institutions were not indifferent to the impassioned participation of the Lucca people in the fifth year of ‘Places I Love’. A ‘people’s movement’ was led by the FAI Lucca Delegation to rescue this small Baroque jewel that had been closed for years. Thanks to the funding allocated by the Ministry of Cultural Assets and Activities it has been possible to start work on saving the church, beginning with the restoration of the roof, which had been in danger of collapsing for some time. ‘Places I Love’ will work on recovering a symbolic element of the church, its fine, 19th-century organ.
This instrument, which still has all its original components and can quite probably be attributed to the expert hands of the organist Domenic Pucci, was built with great technical skill and ingenious solutions to make the most of the church’s restricted space. The organ has suffered a massive xylophagous attack to the wrest planks, the bellows, the pipe valves and all the wooden pipes. The restoration will initially involve dismantling the organ, which will then be taken to a workshop for cleaning and consolidation of the casing. FAI is in close contact with the Lucca Soprintendenza and Municipality, the owner of the property, to define the methods and timing of the work.
Chiesa di San Filippo Neri
The church, closed for 50 years and deconsecrated, was chosen because of its artistic value. Indeed, it is one of the most interesting buildings in the Marches due to the richness and variety of its stucco decorations and its superb altars in scagliola. It is also of historic importance because, having been consecrated in 1607, it is one of the first testimonies of the Philippines in Fermo and in Italy, whose construction was begun when the saint was still alive.
Damaged by the earthquake of 1997, the same one that struck Assisi, and with restoration works long held up, it can now be a symbol of rebirth and a message of hope. Thanks to the association with the Municipality, owner of the property, which will begin its overall recovery, FAI can take part by restoring a significant part of the church: the Baroque doorway in Istrian stone. This looks onto the central Corso Cavour - next to the courthouse, once the convent of the Philippines - and is surmounted by an epigraph enhanced by an angel’s head in the round with long and elaborate wings.
The Fermo Municipality has planned the entire recovery of the building thanks partly to the boost given by the result of the 2010 census, which closely involved the FAI Fermo Delegation. The Municipality has successfully worked to raise the necessary funds for the overall restoration of the church. FAI will take part in this by donating the restoration of the main doorway and, thanks to a contribution from ‘Places I Love’, supporting the work.
The ‘Places I Love’ census allowed attention to be once again focused on what is considered one of the most interesting buildings in the Marches due to the precious nature of its decorations, located in the heart of Fermo and now closed for years, and to make known the lively public interest in the church of San Filippo Neri. The census will allow recovery of the church’s main doorway, which will be restored by the Fermo Municipality, owner of the building, and by the Regional Direction for Cultural Assets.
The Marches Regional Administration has recently allocated a further 200,000 euros thanks partly to the awareness raising activity played by the census, which will be added to the funding already raised by the Municipality, in association with the Regional Direction for Cultural Assets and the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Fermo for restoration of the church. Thanks to this funding the most urgent works can soon be started (repair of the roof and the masonry). The Fermo Municipality thus hopes to reopen the church by 2013.
Chiesa di San Bartolomeo
Isola di Stromboli, Lipari (ME)
The place was chosen because of the passion and fervour with which tourists and the island’s inhabitants worked to collect the incredible number of notifications made to the census. The commitment shown clearly expressed the real spirit of the FAI census. The Commission’s choice of the church of San Bartolomeo was partly because of the history of this religious building, built with effort and dedication by the island inhabitants assisted by many Sicilian emigrants - and closed since 2002 following an earthquake - that over the years has been not only a place of worship for the islanders but also and above all a place of refuge and protection from the consequences of volcano eruptions.
FAI listened to the sorrowful appeal of the islanders and made an official commitment to act to recover a building so dear to the community. The Regional Direction for Cultural Assets responded to FAI’s request and will work with the foundation to reopen the church for worship covering the remaining costs of the more urgent works.
After the promptings of the ‘Places I Love’ and the consequent media attention, the Soprintendenza dei Beni Culturali e Ambientali of the Province of Messina made an inspection to assess the state of the church’s conservation and the works needed to make it safe in order to reopen it for worship. After the inspection, the Soprintendenza drew up a plan for protecting the church - which involves fitting nets to prevent pieces of damaged plaster falling and an operation intended to prevent damp - while the Stromboli parish, owner of the building, has drawn up a plan in agreement with the Soprintendenza for maintenance and cleaning of the drainage trench that surrounds the church, in order to resolve the age-old problem of rising damp inside the church.
FAI is currently in close contact with the Regional Administration, the Soprintendenza and Stromboli parish to establish the times of the work. In the meantime, the enthusiasm and dedication that led to collecting numerous notifications in favour of the church have not diminished. In the course of these months the local committee that was set up during the census has maintained interest in this place of worship so loved by tourists and islanders with promotional and awareness raising activities.
Giardino di Piazza 4 Novembre
The Piazza 4 Novembre Garden, notified by 4,292 people, is a small public park in a very central position on the Bari waterfront, next to the Teatro Margherita. Currently in a state of decline, the Garden will soon be the object of complete upgrading by the Bari Municipality, its owner, thanks partly to the awareness raised and the tide of opinion generated by the ‘Places I Love’. FAI and Intesa Sanpaolo identified the bronze bust of the patriot Giuseppe Massari, a leader in the Bari Risorgimento, as an element of particular significance in the 2010 census. This will now be restored thanks to the ‘Places I Love’ contribution.
The mobilisation launched during the census and led by the FAI Bari Delegation brought the predicament of this place so dear to the public to the attention of the Municipality. The latter responded to the appeal of the Bari people and is committed to carrying out restoration works to the garden. Thanks to the contribution made by the ‘Places I Love’, it will be possible to restore the bronze bust of Giuseppe Massari, one of the great Bari leaders of the Risorgimento.
The piazza garden dedicated to the ‘Heroes of the sea’ in front of the historic Regina Margherita theatre will be restored and returned to the community after years of abandon. The Bari Muncipality, owner of the garden, has allocated the necessary funding for upgrading the garden, which will include special maintenance works, the installation of urban furniture and recovery of the decorative elements. The ‘Places I Love’ census will allow restoration of the bust of Giuseppe Massari, which stands in the garden, right in front of the Regina Margherita theatre. The Garden with its historic monument will thus be returned to use by the public, who originally made a tangible contribution to its creation.
The place was chosen because of its historical-artistic value, as it represents Palladio’s debut in Friuli. It is dedicated to Domenico Bollani, lieutenant of the Serenissima, who commissioned it in 1556 in thanksgiving for the end of a plague epidemic, but also with the dual aim of placing the city under the symbol of the Lion of St Mark, which is above the arch. It was also chosen because of its importance within the layout of the Piazza Libertà, one of the central squares in Udine, where it gives entrance to the ascent to the castle, and because of the affective value it has for the locals, who for some time have been calling for its restoration.
The ‘Places I Love’ contribution allowed restoration of the statue of St Mark’s Lion that adorns the top of the Arco Bollani. The arch is situated at the foot of the ascent to the castle and is a special place for which the FAI Udine Delegation worked enthusiastically, encouraging public mobilisation during the census.
FAI, thanks to the ‘Places I Love’ contribution, offered its support to the Udine Muncipality, owner of the arch. Aware of the importance of protecting the city’s historic and artistic patrimony, the Muncipality launched a restoration programme for the monumental part of the Piazza della Libertà, Udine’s ‘living room’, decorated with important Renaissance works and where the arch is located. The ‘Places I Love’ allowed the restoration of the old structure of the Arco Bollani, emblem of Palladio’s debut in Friuli, which required maintenance work, particularly to the St Mark’s Lion on top. The statue was showing signs of the formation of microflora. The Vicenza stone used to make it is a soft stone that is easily affected by biological regrowth, which was manifested in an unsightly grey-green colouring. The work consisted of cleaning the lion and maintaining the arch.
Vucciria ed edicola marmorea del Genio
The statue of the Genio was chosen by the Commission not only because it is the symbol of Palermo, but also because it is a small jewel located in the heart of the Vucciria district, which, after the splendour of past years, now needs to be upgraded and given new life. The notifications received in the census were the climax of a long campaign to raise awareness conducted by the FAI Palermo Delegation, which involved the public, institutions, public and private companies, schools and sports clubs, proving the fact that to the locals this really is a special place. Large numbers were involved in this positive action, which has allowed a part, albeit small, of the artistic and monumental wealth of this splendid city to become known.
The census will allow the upgrading of the Piazza del Garaffo, where the statue of the Genio stands, to proceed. The statue will be restored by the Palermo Muncipality, its owner, on the basis of a maintenance project donated by FAI.
According to what is established in the agreement signed by FAI and the Muncipality, the Delegation will donate the restoration project to the Muncipality, which will carry out the work. Thanks to the ‘Places I Love’ contribution, FAI will also work on the upgrading of Piazza del Garaffo, where the marble aedicule with the Genio stands, with works of pedestrianisation and urban furnishings. Thanks to the Foundation’s work it will be possible to restore dignity to the piazza, which lost its historic fountain many years ago - moved to Piazza Marina - and was turned into a parking area. So the long campaign to raise awareness conducted by the FAI Palermo Delegation to save the Genio in Piazza del Garraffo and the district itself, whose historic market has now dwindled to a few stalls, has now reached its end with the project to restore this small jewel in the heart of the Vucciria district. It is a demonstration of love for a district that has been an integral part of the city’s history, culminating in the ‘Places I Love’ census, which has allowed the perilous state of this statue to be brought to national attention. The Palermo Muncipality, owner of the aedicule, responded to the prompting of the census by committing itself to restoring the statue. FAI will support the administration and, thanks to the ‘Places I Love’ contribution, will pedestrianise the area and install urban furnishings in the small square in front of the aedicule.
Piè di marmo
The place was chosen not only because it is one of the strangest and most distinctive assets notified in the fifth census, but also because of its affective value and its undoubted historical artistic value. A genuine attraction of which there are numerous reproductions, the marble Piè is a fragment, the only one remaining, of an ancient Roman statue in the heart of Rome. It is a colossal foot that has a street named after it and which certainly belonged to a cult statue, also colossal, possibly an acrolith. It is thought that the statue stood in the most important Egyptian sanctuary in Rome, dedicated to Isis and Sarapis.
Thanks to the census, the support and actions of the FAI Rome Delegation and the cooperation of the Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Roma Capitale, the most loved place in Lazio - and one of the most unusual places nominated in 2010 - has been returned to the community finally restored.
In July the restoration works were completed on the marble Piè, a very well known and special place to Romans and an unusual attraction for tourists. It is located in the very centre of the city not far from the Pantheon, and for years had been in a serious state of abandon. In May 2011 the restoration works on the state-owned sculpture began, carried out thanks to the ‘Places I Love’ contribution and the support of the Sovraintendenza ai Beni Culturali di Roma Capitale.
The work and its base, carved from a single block of marble, had seriously deteriorated due to the vagaries of history and decay of the material exposed to the elements. The restoration was carried out in two stages: cleaning of the surfaces and repair of the lacunae.
Lanzo D'Intelvi (CO)
This is a landscape asset of rare beauty, a natural area that has been defined as the ‘Balcony of Italy’ because of the singular and stunning panorama it offers. It is a place that, because of its position on the Swiss border, is also of important tourist value. FAI began acting to raise awareness in 2008, following the notifications received in the fourth census. It began technical discussions with the Lombardy Regional Administration, the Swiss Canton and the municipalities of Intelvi and Arogno. Now that a first stage has been finally completed - the eyesore that disfigured the peak is currently being demolished - the Foundation is ready to act, as it committed to doing in the past, to ensure its full appreciation and usability.
Thanks to the media attention generated by two of the ‘Places I Love’ censuses and the cross-border technical discussions in which FAI participated, works have begun to remove the cable car arrival station that disfigured the Vetta peak. The contribution made by the ‘Places I Love’ will allow work to proceed on upgrading the area in Italian territory.
The splendid Vetta Sighignola peak has been disfigured by the arrival station for the never completed Campione - Monte -Sighignola cable car for more than 37 years. The local Italian and Swiss institutions listened to the appeal made by the public through two years of the census - the Vetta was also nominated in 2008 - and worked together to set up an effective transnational technical group, encouraged by FAI, to give new life to the Balcony of Italy carrying out works to demolish the eyesore. The demolition works will be followed by upgrading of the area, creating a new panoramic terrace in Swiss territory using the base of the uncompleted upper station. A connection will be made between this new terrace, the one above in Italian territory and the strip of land beneath with benches, equipped areas, games for children and exercise paths, also extending into the surrounding forest. Thanks to the ‘Places I Love’ contribution, FAI, working with the Muncipality of Lanzo d’Intelvi, will work on the naturalist arrangement and landscaping of the area, which will once again become a destination of international tourist interest after a long interlude.
Affreschi della Cappella di Santa Rosa, Cattedrale
The place was chosen because, with its reopening to the public after years of being inaccessible, it can be an example and a model for the restoration of the other chapels in the majestic cathedral of Viterbo, all for some time walled off. The walls that prevent visiting and worshipping at the chapels were built after the second world war in a series of restoration works intended to give the church back its presumed original appearance. This chapel was chosen by the Commission partly because it has a rare example of frescoes in the intrados of the arch dating from the first 25 years of the 18th century portraying Saint Rose, who is very dear to the Viterbo people. The other paintings add to the distinctiveness of the chapel, with a decorative repertoire of false reliefs that unravel around mock architecture by way of an illusory use of perspective.
After years of being closed to the public, visitors can once again admire the chapel in the Viterbo cathedral, which contains one of the rare examples of a fresco depiction of Saint Rose. This is thanks to the ‘Places I Love’ census, which was supported and assisted by the FAI Viterbo Delegation.
FAI will work to restore the chapel of Santa Rosa in the majestic Viterbo cathedral, thanks to the contribution made by the ‘Places I Love’. It will also support part of the project to check the static conditions, remove the masonry walling, carry out structural consolidation and restore the decorations in the chapel. The project has been drawn up by the FAI Viterbo Delegation, which will donate it to the Viterbo curia, owner of the chapel.
Ninfeo di Palazzo Guarnieri
Palazzo Guarnieri stands as a central piece of urban architecture on the promontory of Porto Maurizio, an area of the city of Imperia which is rich with historical remains. Together with the imposing Dome, it represents one of the core attractions of the area, and it defines its landscape.
The palace is the base of the International Institute for Ligurian Studies, and it truly is the Place the city Loves: indeed, students from elementary to high school have taken action to protect it. The Palace’s magnificent frescoed lodge represents is one of its most valuable artistic element.
Thanks to the Census “Places I Love”, Fai will intervene by restoring the Ninfeo, one of the most outstanding elements of the frescoed lodge. Currently, the property presents several superficial deposits, gaps and fragmentations caused by weather exposure, together with damages that have compromised its integrity through the years.
Towards the end of 2011, the Province of Imperia, aware of just how important it is to protect the palace, whose importance is both historical and social because of the institute it hosts, has started the recuperation of the frescoed lodge, which was in urgent need.
The extraordinary repairs and conservative restoration will be aimed towards the recuperation of the paintings, of the decorative elements, and the strengthening of the vaulting.
FAI will work side- by-side with the Province of Imperia and will take part in the restoration of the eighteenth century statue of the Ninfeo by painting the surfaces and filling the ruptures so to return it to the community, undamaged at last.