Home Restoration Jubilee Year 2000

Jubilee Year 2000

 

Jubilee Year 2000

The restoration of the Palazzo Ducale in Lucca was a focal point for the Provincial Government’s operative policy of reinstating its institutional and cultural visibility or creating it where it did not exist.
The project involved physical and functional restoration of the Palazzo with the reopening of external and internal itineraries and the knocking down of architectural barriers. 
A new special office called the Palazzo Fabric Office was created to act as the project’s management centre.
The total cost of the works, € 6.416.910,00 was paid for through two main sources:

 

  • 70% from Jubilee funds made available by having the project inserted in the Jubilee 2000’s Plan for projects outside Lazio;
  • 30% from the issue of ordinary Provincial bonds.

The project’s aim was to remove physical and functional obsolescence through conservation work on the building already begun by the Provincial government with the restoration of the Ammannati Gallery and the Guard Room, also called the Ademollo Room.
Restoration work in the Palazzo was accompanied by a cultural programme called the Open Palazzo and the building site became a cultural workshop open to events that would encourage collective participation in the work.
 

 

Restoration of the façades

Restoration of the façades of the Palazzo involved more than 10,000 square metres of plasterwork and 6,000 square metres of stone surfaces. The work was preceded by in-depth diagnostic research to identify areas with old plasterwork and their original colours. 
In general, the work was divided into:

 

  • Restoring plastered surfaces: cement plaster in an advanced state of deterioration and obvious crumbling, dangerous as well as unsightly, was removed once the original parts had been identified and consolidated. After the support walls had been thoroughly washed, reconstruction was done with three layers of traditional plaster. The last layer has the same features as the original both in terms of composition and degree of granularity. The work was completed with a surface dressing pre-coloured with natural pigments selected on the basis of the original shades identified by taking appropriate samples. This means that the whole surface of the façade is uniform.
  • Restoring stone elements
    Verrucano stone: removal of old inappropriate stucco; treatment of ironwork; cleaning to remove chalky crust, carried out with pads of cellulose soaked in a suitable solution of ammonium carbonate, the pads being later removed; fixing and hinging of decorative elements; static consolidation and plastering of damage with air-setting lime mortar and fluorinated elastomer, stone dust and colour. 
    Sandstone: consolidation of the stone where there was flaking, surface pulverisation and crumbling; cleaning, plastering, fixing and hinging as described above and a final treatment with ethyl silicate and water-repellent protective. 
    Marble: cleaning with pads of sodium carbonate and cellulose pulp, removal of pads, sponging with demineralised water and final protection with water-repellent products.
  • Renewing window and shutter frames
    Stripping paint, replacing damaged parts with new pieces of chestnut wood of the same size, puttying, checking metalwork and replacing or inserting as required, and finishing with three coats of oil paint.
  • Restoring outer doors and inset doors
    Cleaning, replacing missing or damaged parts with wood of the same type, consolidating the support structure, anti-parasite and protective treatment, restoring iron elements and final treatment with protective varnish.

 

 

Restoration of the courtyards

The Palazzo Ducale is set out around two courtyards, one to the south called the Cortile degli Svizzeri (the Courtyard of the Swiss Guards) and the other to the north, Cortile Carrara, named after Francesco Carrara.
Reorganisation of the external space allowed the courtyards to be reassessed according to a design that was both harmonious and suitable for pedestrian use, with removal of asphalt surfaces and the creation of paved spaces, gravelled with the architectural concrete method. Changing the electrical system meant that ground lighting could be installed in the Cortile Carrara.
Restoration also involved external fittings, namely, wall plates, plaques and the bronze statue on a marble base of Francesco Carrara.
The Carriage Way, the large rectangular space covered by a coffered barrel vault that links the two courtyards designed by Lorenzo Nottolini, was restored both as regards the plaster surfaces and the parts in verrucano stone. The walkway linking the Cortile Carrara with Piazza San Romano was also renovated.
 

 

 

Legal requirements

In order to make the building conform to current regulations relating to architectural features denying access to the disabled, two oil pressure lifts were installed.
The lifts are situated on the south side of the Cortile Carrara next to the passage called the Carriage Way, at the end of the corridor to Nottolini’s Palazzina, and have glass sides and aluminium frame.
As regards renewal of power equipment, new, conform and highly efficient electricity lines were installed in the Province and Prefecture departments, with sockets for emergency lights and new lighting fixtures. 
The heating project meant that the old inefficient free-standing oil heaters, whose age made them very dangerous, could be replaced by a central heating system housed in a suitable location, powered by methane gas and fitted with new flues. Supplies to existing plant were renewed by installing suitable pumps thus making the system cheaper to run.
 

 

 

Restoration of the Chapel of Santa Maria della Rotonda

Restoration of the Chapel of Santa Maria della Rotonda involved:

 

  • Plasterwork: finding the original colours of the plasterwork which were painted in lime and then covered by layers of various colours; cleaning these; revealing parts of the original plasterwork and consolidating parts that had become detached from the support wall; mechanical removal of unnecessary old plaster and finishings. A chemical barrier to eliminate rising damp was inserted into the walls with low-pressure injections of resin.
  • The ceiling: restoration of the decorated surface of the ceiling by preventative fixing of the painted surface, desalination of the fresco, cleaning the painted layer, consolidation, careful plastering and completion of pictorial restoration. Notes on methods
  • Terracotta brick floor: cleaning with neutral detergent and conservation treatment of the whole surface.

 

 

Restoration of the Parade Ground

Restoration of the Parade Ground Rooms, the deputation apartment historically used for the sovereign’s official functions, was directed at making the large rooms suitable for reopening them to the public, with tours of the Palazzo’s interior, and creating rooms equipped for hosting cultural events.
Restoration work involved:

 

  • repairing and conserving pictorial decoration and plasterwork;
  • restoring stone-chip, terracotta brick and terrazzo floors;
  • restoring coffered ceilings;
  • cleaning marble and stone features (fireplaces, doorways and stairs);
  • restoring wooden doors and bronze elements;
  • complete renewal of the electrical system with new light fittings;
  • installation of central heating.

The Grand Parade Rooms have been decorated with curtains and wall coverings in the colours documented in the General Inventory of Silverware, Furniture and Furnishings in the Royal Palace in Lucca drawn up during the Bourbon Duchy.

 

The restoration of the Parade Quarter could be distinguished in the following interventions:
 

 

1) Palace Staircase

The Palace Staircase is the main access to the Parade Apartments and was designed by Lorenzo Nottolini. Building began in 1818.
Restoration involved:

 

  • cleaning the roof with a water solution of ammonium bicarbonate, drying, replacing parts missing from the original design, consolidating plasterwork and stucco with injections, plastering damage and final patinating with varnish;
  • cleaning the marble floors with pads soaked in a water solution of ammonium bicarbonate after careful removal of dust, fixing loose parts and plastering damaged areas;
  • updating electrical system;
  • restoring doors and wooden doorframes.

 

 

2) The Footmen’s Room

The Footmen’s Room is the large rectangular room that overlooks Piazza Napoleone and the Cortile degli Svizzeri. The floor, as in the Manservants’ Room and the Ammannati Gallery, is made of old square blocks of terracotta and the windowsills are in sandstone. The 16th-century ceiling has wooden panels with painted and stuccoed coffers. The room is connected to the adjacent rooms by doorways with sandstone frames. The walls are plastered.
Work involved:

  • cleaning the terracotta floor and stone stairs and conservation treatment of the surface; 
  • restoring the panelled ceiling including the stucco perimeter band; 
  • restoring the wall surfaces by finding and restoring the original colour shades and decorations; 
  • cleaning and consolidating stone doorways; 
  • restoring varnished wooden doors with gold frames and wooden doorway with wax finishing; 
  • renewing electrical system and installing a hanging support with adjustable lights;
  • supplying and hanging curtains.

 

 

3) Ammannati Gallery

The Ammannati Gallery, called after the architect who designed it, consists of a large rectangular loggia between Piazza Napoleone and the Cortile degli Svizzeri. The floor, as in the Manservants’ Room and the Footmen’s Room, is made of old square blocks of terracotta and the windowsills are in sandstone. The 16th-century ceiling is wood-panelled with painted and stuccoed coffers. The windows and the doorway have architectural frames and features (columns, arches and balusters) in sandstone. The walls are plastered and have painted decorative grotesques framed in stuccowork.
The paintwork had been done with mixed techniques and was seriously affected by loss of colour, detachment of the paint surface, surface damage and heavy-handed repainting in tempera. The work involved completing the restoration that had been begun by the Provincial Administration in the two previous years.
Restoring the decoration was carried out in the following stages: consolidation of the paint surface with injections of resin by syringe, medium-weight Japanese paper having first been applied and removed after the appropriate adhesion time; consolidation with injections of compositions of mineral mortar compatible with the properties of the original plaster after vacuum removal of powdery dust; cleaning and exposing the original colours with cellulose paste pads with ammonium carbonate and dabbing with cotton wool soaked in demineralised water; plastering damaged areas, gaps and holes, and removing repairs that were not compatible with the original paintwork and finishing with aged lime putty; finishing touches.

 

 

 

4) Guard Room

The Guard Room is also known as the Ademollo Room after the artist who painted the 1820 wall frescoes with scenes from the life of Emperor Trajan. It has a 16th-century panelled ceiling with painted and stuccoed coffers. The original floor is in terrazzo. The five doorways and the steps of the two windows overlooking the Cortile degli Svizzeri are in marble. The walnut doors are decorated with gilded bronze.
Restoration work involved:

  • completing the restoration of the frescoed surfaces already begun on the north wall by the Provincial Government and restoring the panelled ceiling; 
  • cleaning and consolidating the marble elements; 
  • restoring the wooden doors treated with wax varnish; 
  • making a usable floor surface in jute and plaster painted to reproduce the decorative motif of the original terrazzo floor beneath;
  • renewing the electrical system and installing a hanging rail with adjustable lighting;
  • supplying and hanging curtains.

 

 

5) Chamberlain’s Room

The room called the Chamberlain’s or Maria Luisa’s Room is rectangular and the vaulted ceiling is decorated with white and gold stuccowork. Prior to restoration, the walls were flat-washed in a single colour, the silk wall covering having been removed before the Palazzo was transferred to the Province in 1867. The terrazzo floor in three colours has a pattern of lilies, the heraldic emblem of the Bourbons. The four doors are made of walnut and decorated with gilded bronze; the frames and steps of the two windows overlooking the Cortile degli Svizzeri are in marble. The white marble fireplace is decorated with gilded bronze and the fire surround is covered with majolica tiles.
The work involved:

 

  • restoring the pictorial decoration of the frieze; 
  • restoring the ceiling decorations; 
  • restoring the terrazzo floor; 
  • cleaning and consolidating frames, steps and the marble fireplace; 
  • restoring the wax-treated walnut door; 
  • renewing the electrical system and installing lighting above the cornice;
  • supplying and hanging fabric wall coverings and curtains.

 

 

6) The Throne or Council Room

 

The Throne or Council Room is rectangular with a vaulted ceiling decorated in tempera by Domenico Del Frate. Prior to restoration work, the walls were flat-washed in a single colour, the original silk wallcovering having been removed before the Palazzo was transferred to the Province in 1867. The painted stone-chip floor shows the monogram of Maria Luisa Bourbon. The four walnut doors are decorated with gilded bronze; the frames and steps of the windows overlooking Cortile degli Svizzeri are in marble. The fireplace is in white marble with gilded bronze decoration and the surround is covered with majolica tiles.
The work involved:

  • restoring the pictorial decoration of the frieze and ceiling; 
  • restoring the painted terrazzo floor; 
  • cleaning and consolidating frames and steps; 
  • restoring the wax-treated walnut doors; 
  • renewing the electrical system and installing new lighting above the cornice;
  • supplying and hanging fabric wallcovering and curtains.

 

 

7) Councillors’ Room

The Councillors’ or Ministers’ Room is rectangular and its vaulted ceiling has at its centre a fresco by the Florentine painter Gaspero Martellini. Prior to restoration work, the walls were flat-washed in a single colour, the original silk wallcovering having been removed before the Palazzo was transferred to the Province in 1867. The terrazzo floor shows the heraldic symbols of the Bourbons. The four doors in walnut are decorated with delicate bronze racemes and little lions’ heads in relief. The frames and steps of the windows overlooking the Cortile degli Svizzeri are in marble. The chimney is in white marble decorated with gilded bronze and the surround is covered with majolica tiles. The dado has pictorial decoration.
The work involved:

 

  • restoring the pictorial decoration on the frieze and ceiling; 
  • restoring the terrazzo floor; notes on methods
  • cleaning and consolidating the marble frames, steps and fireplace;
  • restoring the wax-treated walnut doors; 
  • renewing the electrical system and installing new lighting above the cornice;
  • supplying and hanging fabric wallcovering and curtains.

 

 

8) The Sovereign’s Study

The room called the Sovereign’s Study is rectangular and its vaulted ceiling has at its centre a fresco by the painter Domenico Del Frate narrating the Stories of Apollo. Prior to restoration work, the walls were flat-washed in a single colour, the original silk wallcovering having been removed before the Palazzo was transferred to the Province in 1867. The floor is in terrazzo. The four doors are in walnut and splendidly decorated with bronze bas-reliefs showing Victory and Fame, continuing the iconographic theme of the room which celebrates the cultural gifts of the Sovereign who had her study here. The frames and steps of the windows that overlook the Cortile degli Svizzeri are in marble. The fireplace is in white marble with a gilded bronze bas-relief in its architrave and the surround is tiled with blue and white majolica with rosettes and amphorae. The dado has pictorial decoration.
The work involved:

  • restoring the pictorial decorations on the frieze and ceiling; 
  • restoring the painted terrazzo floor; 
  • cleaning and consolidating the marble frames, steps and the fireplace and its bronze elements; 
  • restoring the wax-treated walnut doors and bronze decorations; 
  • renewing the electrical system and installing new lighting above the cornice;
  • supplying and hanging wallcovering and curtains in fireproof fabric.

 

 

Open construction site

Restoration work at the Palazzo was linked to a cultural project called Open Palazzo with the site becoming an open cultural workshop for events to encourage collective participation in the public works.
The main programme included:

 

  • Teaching and education projects
    Guided visits and on-site meetings and interdisciplinary in-service courses in the Palazzo Fabric Offices (the Jubilee Workshop project).
  • Planning the image 
    Development of creative graphics coordinated with creating the project’s logo; projecting the site’s image through the creation of a virtual façade made of a PVC net reproducing the essential architectural features of the Palazzo in two colours.
  • Artistic and cultural events
    Memory Piazzas, a virtual art performance using the façade covering as a projection screen; Art Workshop: artists’ exhibition at the Palazzo: the seventy windows on the virtual façade were turned into picture frames for works selected by competition; Buy a window, public auction of the works on the façade in aid of Kosovo.

 

 

 

 

Multimedia communication: creation of a website dedicated to the history and restoration of the Palazzo.

 

    English