Israeli and Italian Conservation Centers Join Forces on Mural Conservation Project

The following information was received from the International Conservation Centre – Citta’ di Roma (the Center), Old Acre, Israel.  For further information on this and other projects or  to visit the restoration site, contact Mrs. Shelley-Anne Peleg, Director, International Conservation Center, Citta’ di Roma, at

A multi-phase mural conservation project is currently taking place at the International Conservation Centre – Citta’ di Roma (the Center), Old Acre, Israel.  A team of skilled professionals from two conservation institutions joined forces on this unique project, which includes practical mural conservation, a series of related workshops, master classes and on-going professional cooperation.

The Center in Acre and the Istituto Veneto per Beni Culturali in Venice, are both hubs of conservation in their respective countries, Israel and Italy.  Now, under the auspices and support of the Italian Embassy in Israel and the Italian Cultural Institute in Haifa, they cooperate on a conservation project and training programs.

The practical conservation of the ceiling at the Center’s building, a grand house in the Pisan Quarter of Old Acre, commenced in early November. Experts from both institutions inspected the mural, documented it, and carried out tests and analysis. They then jointly constructed a relevant intervention plan, which formed the basis for conservation work currently carried out. Work is expected to continue until February 2012 and involves Italian restorers, under regular guidance and inspection by experts from the Israel Antiquity Authority (IAA) Conservation Department.

Alongside the practical conservation, the Center and the Venice Istituto run open workshops and master classes. Those study days are directed at both professionals in related fields and interested individuals with a background in conservation. During the last open workshop, (November 23rd – 24th, 2011), architect – restorer Paolo Mariani from Venice, examined the relations between monuments degradation and its painted masterpieces, the degradation process of wall painting, and relevant restoration methods. His lectures were followed by specific reference to the painted ceiling currently restored at the Center.

Participants on the workshop had the privilege of additional professional visitors that are leading figures at the IAA: Mr. Raanan Kislev- Head of the Conservation Departments, Kamil Saari – Head of Research and Inspection Department, Jacques Neauger -Head of Artistic Conservation. The workshop was also attended by Mr. Giovanni Pillonca, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Haifa, who expressed his delight with the workshop’s content and suggested presenting a summary of the proceedings in a lecture at the Cultural Institute in Haifa.  The workshop was conducted in the usual Center community-participation manner, hosting Father Quirico Calella from Acre’s Fransiscan Church and local women residents who provided the catering of traditional Acre delicacies.

Mr. Ranzo Ravagnan, Director of the Istituto Veneto per Beni Culturali and Mrs. Shelley-Anne Peleg, Director of the International Conservation Center, both expressed their delight with this form of cooperation between the institutions they lead. Future cooperation programs will include additional open workshops as well as students and experts exchange programs.