My friend is restoring a beautiful 15th-century building in the center of town.
Sadly, it had been tied up in a legal mess, which in Italy takes forever to resolve, and in the meantime, nothing could be done to protect it from the elements, let alone restore it. When my friend took the project on, the first thing to be done was fix the roof. It was caving in.
The paint and plaster on the walls were cracked and flaking, and underneath they discovered layers of art. “This is the sixteenth century,” my friend said, pointing to one area. “And this is a fifteenth-century fresco. We have to decide now how far back to go, where to stop so that we don’t destroy anything that could be saved, maybe not now, but years from now, when we expect restoration techniques will have improved.”
To do it well, the work is painstakingly slow and expensive, and I think what a gift these treasures are and how lucky Italy is to have people who appreciate them and dedicate years of their lives to keep them from being lost forever.