Dal disegno alla conservazione, tra Roma e Napoli. Ferdinando Mazzanti e la tutela dei monumenti nell'Italia postunitaria
In: Quaderni dell'Istituto di Storia dell'Architettura, 2020
From Drawing to Conservation, between Rome and Naples.
Ferdinando Mazzanti and the preservation of monuments in post-unification Italy
At the end of the 19th century, the activity of the architect Ferdinando Mazzanti (1850-1899) gives a significant example of a fruitful cross between medievalist archaeological culture, careful study of the monument and working on it. The young commitment at the Application School for Engineers of Turin reflected on his scientific production, oriented to exploring the forms of architecture and art of the early Christianity in Roman area with a wide documentation of the heritage in central and southern Italy. Mazzanti was appointed director of the Ufficio regionale per la conservazione dei monumenti per le provincie meridionali in 1897 and he dedicated, in particular, to the study for the restoration of the Arch of Alfonso of Aragon in Castelnuovo and to the conservation work of the Baptistery of San Giovanni in Fonte in Naples Cathedral. Here, the operations carried out on the early Christian mosaics showed a gradual refinement of the intervention strategies and the consequent positive recognition both at local and at national scale. The approach to the Medieval cycle was charged with a conservative afflatus, aiming at strengthening all the detached parts and at forbidding any renovation. Affording these topics, the paper deepens Mazzanti’s contribution of to the late-19th century restoration culture connoted by a significant prudence: this is carried on focusing on the works in the Neapolitan baptistery as a little known step in constructing a more cautious approach to historical monuments which will have a more widespread affirmation with Adolfo Avena during the following years.