I monumenti del Mezzogiorno medievale nei taccuini di Giacomo Boni (1888-1898): documentazione, tutela, conservazione del patrimonio artistico nell'Italia post-unitaria

Author: Andrea Paribeni

Medieval Monuments of Southern Italy in Giacomo Boni’s Notebooks (1888-1898): Documentation, Preservation and Conservation of the Artistic Heritage in Post-Risorgimento Italy

Before becoming the world famous archaeologist of the Roman Forum, Giacomo Boni (1859-1925) worked for several years as official of the General Directorate of Antiquities and Fine Arts. From April 1888 until the beginning of 1898 he was sent as Inspector to make surveys in every region of Italy in order to check the condition of the monuments and verify methods and execution of restoration that very often weren’t respectful of the integrity and authenticity of those art historical buildings. In his inspections Boni paid particular attention to the medieval monuments of Abruzzo, Apulia, Ca­labria and Sicily, hitherto largely neglected by conservators and art historians. Boni’s remarkable activity in those years is not adequately known, as he published only short papers in the Riforma and Archivio Storico dell’Arte, but it’s possible to get very useful information by several interesting reports sent by him to the General Directorate now kept in the Archivio Centrale dello Stato and also by some unpublished travel booknotes that we have been found in the Archivio Boni-Tea (Istituto Lombardo Accademia Scienze e Lettere, Milan). In this paper, beside some written and graphic documents regarding monuments as Lagopesole Castle and the Trinity of Venosa, a general picture of conservation methods commonly adopted in Italy at the end of the 19th century will be presented.