The fireplace and allegorical statues in the Salone d'Ercole in Palazzo Farnese shine again, thanks to the Friuli-based company and Fondaco Italia

In the field of conservation, a prominent place is given to the restoration of cultural heritage, both public and private. The preservation of natural beauty and artistic, historical and cultural heritage is an indispensable requirement in a country like Italy, which has on its territory a precious and important heritage for all western culture. Protection, conservation and valorisation are the three fundamental phases that judge the correct management of cultural heritage. Palazzetti Spa's choice is oriented in this direction. With the project La cornice del Tempo - curiamo il passato per dare bellezza al futuro, in collaboration with Fondaco Italia, Palazzetti Spa presented the conservative restoration and valorisation of the fireplace and allegorical statues of the Salone d'Ercole in Palazzo Farnese in Rome. A journey that began years ago in Venice at Palazzo Ducale and continued in Turin at Palazzo Reale.

Masterpiece by Vignola

Palazzo Farnese, one of the most beautiful Renaissance palaces in Rome, now the seat of the French Embassy in Italy, houses a monumental fireplace, one of the treasures of the entire complex. Designed and commissioned by Vignola, with stones that are now hard to find (re-used marbles from the patrician houses from the various regions of the empire mixed together), 'the composition reflects over a millennium of history, of contacts with different countries and cultures that have been able to dialogue with each other, contaminating and reinforcing each other,' wrote in his message Ruben Palazzetti, president of Palazzetti Spa.

A four-metre high fireplace

Two months of work by Consorzio Pragma restorers have given new light to the fireplace and the statues of Abundance and Charity in the Hall of Hercules. The fireplace, some four and a half metres high, is flanked by two sheathed figures; the sculptural work is composed of a dozen varieties of polychrome marble. The whole is crowned by two putti holding the coat of arms of Ranuccio Farnese. The incrustations, much appreciated by Vignola, recall the Italian and Roman marble craftsmanship technique that came back into fashion in the 16th century. The interplay between the organic shapes of the body of the female figures or the nautilus shells, and the straight, structuring ones, gives a certain rhythm to the work. The very colour of the marbles creates this movement; their veining or depth emphasises each element.

A message to all men

"The restoration of Palazzo Farnese, one of the most beautiful Renaissance palaces in Rome, is for us a symbol of a correspondence of spirits and intentions," Ruben Palazzetti continued in his message. "Being here today has a profound significance: the commitment to the restoration of this monumental fireplace is an important step in the journey to protect Italy's artistic heritage, an integral part of our history as entrepreneurs. An intervention that binds us in a special way to France, a country that has found its home beyond the border in this building, in the conscious responsibility that these masterpieces, fruit of the eternal wisdom of art, may always carry their message, with a clear and strong voice, to the people of today and tomorrow."

Witness to history

"The fireplace stands as a monumental witness to the art of its time. I want to thank the sponsor, the Palazzetti Group, and Fondaco Italia, who are intervening at a time of great cooperation between France and Italy for the protection of our heritage," said Christian Masset, French Ambassador to Italy.

Enlightened entrepreneurship

"We are grateful to Ambassador Christian Masset and all his collaborators for making this project possible," are the words of Enrico Bressan, President of Fondaco Italia. "Achieving this restoration thanks to Palazzetti is a source of great satisfaction for us, demonstrating enlightened entrepreneurship that makes caring for the artistic heritage an integral part of its business activity. This is an authentic and concrete form of corporate social responsibility, of sustainability towards art, a gesture of love to make, with a play on words, beauty even more beautiful".

Photos: Ilaria Zago