25 November 2021

Restoration of the San Benedetto di Norcia Basilica

The restoration project for the San Benedetto di Norcia Basilica, almost destroyed by an earthquake on October 30, 2016, carefully follows the original volumetric proportions. Preliminary analyses have traced the metric data of the external volumes and the details of the internal decorative apparatus, to be reconstructed with precision. Also planned are the restoration of the external façades, the restoration of the floors, the restoring of total access to the Basilica, the re-adaptation of the nave ceiling, the reconstruction of the choir loft, the reconstruction of the portico of measures, the redevelopment of all windows and doors and the complete rebuilding of the technological plumbing and electrical systems, as well as the new lighting system.

Among the most important interventions, a specific mention must be made about the reconstruction of the altars, originally made with stucco decorations on wall support.

The choir area will be completely rebuilt and all accesses to the church will be re-envisioned to improve usability, with the additional reopening of a path to the crypt on the right side of the nave. The reconfiguration of the access staircase on the external side is factored in, as it will be made with the same materials and the same construction technique of the existing symmetrical twin ramp on the left side. Similarly, a new connecting corridor, symmetrical to the existing one, and a new connecting ramp up to the level of the nave will also be created.

In addition, plans have been made to make the entire complex of the Basilica completely accessible, thanks to the realization of a new staircase and a mechanized elevator to allow people in wheelchairs to independently reach both the crypt and the nave of the Church.

Among the interventions, the reconstruction of the ceiling of the nave must be mentioned, which has been modified several times during the restorations carried out on the Basilica; through the historical study and analysis of the changes made over the years on the roof, it was decided to re-adapt the wooden ceiling dating back to the Baroque period.

The Portico delle Misure – leaning against the Basilica – which was completely destroyed by the earthquake, will also be reconstructed in accordance with the original. All the surviving elements will be consolidated, reinforced and restored; the cross vaults will be reconstructed. New flooring will be made, as the current one has been deteriorated by earthquake damage.

In the crypt, a project is underway for the restoration of the original stone elements and the possible integration of the portions that have been lost to the collapses. For the nave, the complete removal of the existing stone floor is factored in, as well as its replacement with a new flooring in handmade terracotta, characterized by the yellow-pink shades, typical of the territory, with a polished finish.

The paved surfaces outside the Basilica will be restored or repurposed in adherence with those existing before the collapse. In particular, the main staircase of the faΓ§ade and the secondary access staircase to the transept will be subject to a conservative cleaning and restoration operation, with possible replacement of elements that should prove to be unrecoverable. The restoration of all the frames that survived the collapse has also been factored in, in particular the wooden doors of the main entrance and of the side entrance – transept – as well as the wooden door of the sacristy.

All the lost elements will be recreated from scratch, in line with the existing ones. The windows – apse and transept – featured artistic stained-glass windows, which have been partially recovered after the seismic events.

For the two windows of the nave, plans have been made to provide the installation of new stained glass windows, which can be handcrafted specifically for the Basilica.

A complete upgrade of the electrical system will be provided, with integrated control, a monitoring system and low-consumption LED lighting with great versatility of use, along with the upgrading of the audio system with high performance and a crisp sound.

The accessibility to the church will be re-evaluated to ensure the overcoming of architectural barriers.