Restoration and conservation

Restoration of the Palladian Basilica

Vicenza | Italy


Municipality of Vicenza
Architectural design
P. Marconi, S. Perez Arroyo, E. Vassallo, A. Donadello
Amount of works
15.000.000 €
Services Provided
Structures design | Construction management | Safety coordination
Restoration and conservation
1,150 square meters
Construction technique
reinforced concrete, glued laminated timber

The symbol of the city of Vicenza

The Basilica Palladiana, a symbol of the city of Vicenza and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, owes its name to the great master Andrea Palladio, who redesigned the pre-existing Palazzo della Ragione, dating from the Gothic era, adding the famous white marble serliane loggia.
The characteristic inverted ship's hull roof, covered with copper plates, was reconstructed during the restoration phases completed in 2012, restoring it to its original state prior to postwar reconstruction.

During the last world war the Palladian Basilica was bombed and severely damaged, and the original roof was rebuilt immediately after the war, with construction techniques that in the long run showed their fragilities. Restoration work began in 2007 with the aim of halting the ongoing processes of degradation, while respecting the monumentality and architectural values of the building, and restoring the original image of the basilica.

The restoration of the Basilica

The most complex part of the work was the removal of the load-bearing arches of the roof hull. Prior to the start of the work, a thorough investigation campaign was carried out to ascertain the real state of the structures, including the design choices that would have to take into account the new earthquake-resistant regulations.
The pre-existing arches made of reinforced concrete, were replaced by lighter glulam elements, while the outer copper cladding and wooden planking were entirely salvaged and put back in place.

The roof terrace on the Piazza delle Erbe side has been consolidated.
The facades were cleaned of signs of weathering and time, and some floors were replaced. The masonry structures and brick vaults were treated with "sewing and unsewing" where cracks had affected them, creating problems for their stability. New technological facilities, a stairwell, elevator, and technical compartments in the basement have made it more comfortable to enter and stay in the premises, and a new cafeteria completes the work.
The project, in addition to halting the processes of decay with structural consolidation and restoration of damaged elements, established the redevelopment and functional recovery of the entire Basilica complex including the Tormento Tower, Domus Commestabilis, and Corte dei Bissari. The works carried out with respect for monumentality and historical and architectural values have returned one of Andrea Palladio's most important works to the city of Vicenza and to all humanity.

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