The yard of restauration will be introduced to the public 16 and 17 October 2020
Opens to the public on 16 and 17 October 2020 the exceptional archaeological area, brought to light in the historic center of Turin and located inside the courtyard of Quadrato in Via delle Orfane 20, building renovated by the Gruppo Building.
The restoration is by the Restoration Conservation Center “La Venaria Reale” under the direction of the Superintendence of Archaeology Fine Arts and Landscape for the Metropolitan City of Turin. The complex conservation interventions are carried out with the support of the CRT Foundation (Call for Restoration of Building Sites 2019) and the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities-Regional Secretariat for Piedmont, as part of the three-year program 2018-2020.
The discovery of the archaeological site, with mosaic decorations depicting in particular the mythological figure of the hunter Atteone, It took place in the autumn of 2017 during the redevelopment works that allowed the city to return a new page of the history of archaeology of the imperial Roman era.
The peculiarity of the context, extended over an area of about 125 square meters, and the present conservation problems have made the archaeological area an effective case study also for the educational and educational purposes promoted by the Degree Course in Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage of the University of Turin, in agreement with the Venaria Centre. For about a month, since the beginning of July, the work of professionals was then accompanied by an educational site that saw the involvement of five students in the sector PFP1 (Restoration of stone and derivative artifacts, decorated surfaces of architecture), supervised by the Director of the Centre’s Laboratories.
The archaeological site is expected to be completed in spring 2021.
The opening to the site will be accompanied by guided tours by Arcana Domus, whose specialized staff will tell the salient phases of the archaeological excavation and architectural recovery to discover a new part of the city.
“The conservation site in Via delle Orfane was an important opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration between professionals from different institutions and realities of the territory and the growth of the skills of students of the Degree Course in conservation and restoration of Cultural heritage of the University” – declares Michela Cardinali, Director of the Restoration Laboratories of the CCR – The development of continuous opportunities to promote professional exchange and skills growth at the same time is one of the strengths and main objectives on which the CCR’s development line is based”. “The great importance of this restoration site – said Stefano Trucco, President of the CCR – consists in returning an archaeological area to the City, as a place networked with other sites recently made accessible to the public in urban sites and attractions of Turin, such as, for example, the archaeological excavation that can be visited inside the Cloud Lavazza and the site found in the area adjacent to the Cathedral of Turin.”
“The duty of those of us who restore the urban heritage is also to preserve the traces of the past and to open them to the city and the public to transmit their knowledge. Working in Roman Turin we were lucky enough to discover a great treasure of archaeology that, thanks to the Conservation and Restoration Center and the Superintendence, we can open to the public on this occasion” – says Piero Boffa, President of the Gruppo Building.
The restoration work shall:
The walls, preserved for a maximum of about 1 metre and with traces of original red and ochre plaster, have been subject to consolidation, cleaning, grouting and partial reconstruction and integration.
The Roman pavements in opus signinum, mosaic frames and a decorated emblem have undergone delicate interventions, which have provided for a first phase of surface cleaning, suitable to remove the biological material that covered them and the consistent deposit of concreted soil present. At the same time, the tiles and the detached or semi-mobile stone scales were fixed in their original location. The widespread ochre and red incrustations that particularly affected the emblem with the figure of Atteone in the center, consisting of white, black and ochre tiles, were partly removed or lightened and partly maintained for conservative reasons.
During the cleaning of the floors were found new finds, presumably from the Lombard era, belonging to a probable burial: human bones, under study, and a comb in organic material.
The discovery of the Roman site of Via delle Orfane 18 took place in 2017, during the archaeological assistance to the works for the construction of the underground garage connected to the renovation of the property, conducted by the archaeological firm Studio di Marco Subbrizio.
The assistance was requested by the Superintendence because the courtyard, located within an island between the current Via delle Orfane, Via Santa Chiara, Via Sant’Agostino and Via San Domenico, near the western side of the Roman walls, still visible on Via della Consolata, was to be considered a strong archaeological risk, both for its size and for the large portion of it never previously affected by excavation.
In the immediate vicinity, just beyond the Via Sant’Agostino, was also brought to light, in 1993, the largest and best preserved house previously known in Turin, consisting of at least eleven rooms, including a banquet hall (triclinium) richly decorated with a mosaic carpet with a frame of diamonds on a black band and polychrome emblem depicting a winged cupid riding a dolphin (early II century AD). The area was therefore known as one of those destined, in Roman times, to prestigious residential buildings.
The excavation assistance operations were transformed into a real stratigraphic archaeological excavation following the emergence of the first significant structures. The oldest remains brought to light during the work consist of a large plant of imperial Roman (I-II), with environments particularly preserved in the southeast of the area.
Four large rectangular rooms side by side, over 10 m deep and oriented east-west, are bordered by walls with pebble foundations and probably high in raw clay, according to a construction technique apparently unsuitable for the environment, but in reality amply testified in Piedmont in the Roman age, whose interior was decorated with colored plasters, with bands and backgrounds in black, red and green.
The rooms had to face east on a porched courtyard, testified by the remains of a brick column covered with grooved stucco, where there was also a masonry basin covered with pink cocciopesto plaster; the walls on this side were almost completely open, with large stone thresholds in which are visible square footprints that housed the hinges of possible wooden locking gates.
The rooms are equipped with stone and mortar flake floors, with perimeter frame of black mosaic tiles, rather frequent in the domus of Augusta Taurinorum.
One of the rooms, partially removed from the modern cellars and preserved only in the eastern part, also has in front of the entrance a decoration in hexagons inscribed in a circle, made with rectangular black tiles, arranged “basket”, a technique never before found in Turin, while the southern compartment retains almost entirely a square emblem made of black and white mosaic tiles, in which is represented the mythological figure of the hunter Actaeon attacked by his dogs while he is turning into a deer.
According to the myth, during a hunting trip, Actaeon provoked the anger of Artemis surprising her while she bathed naked with her companions. The goddess, to prevent the hunter from uttering a word about what he had seen, turned the young man into a deer by spraying water on his face. Actaeon saw his transformation only when he escaped to a spring, where he could be reflected in the water. Meanwhile, the hunter was joined by the pack of his 50 dogs who, not recognizing him, tore him to pieces.
The myth, very represented for example in Pompeian painting, has few comparisons in the figured mosaics and still refers to a cultured and refined client.
The functional interpretation of the areas identified by the excavations is still being clarified. The size and the complete opening on the eastern side seem to exclude that it is the rooms of a domus dwelling and lead rather to assume the relevance to a public building or intended for private social activities, such as the seat of a professional college (schola), richly adorned by associates and benefactors. It is in this evocative regard to think that the herma, unfortunately acephalous and without inscription, found during the excavation could be dedicated to the Patronus of one of these guilds.
Less “monumental” but still interesting are the finds ascribable to the phases that go from the late-ancient age up to the full modern age. After a systematic activity of demolition of the complex of Roman age, with recovery of building materials, the first evidence of reoccupation of the area is attributable to the use of this space as a cemetery area: In fact, twelve burials have been found, mostly infantile, without funeral equipment except for a pendant in vitreous and bronze paste. The anthropological study of the burials and the radiocarbon dating, still in progress, will help to clarify the chronology of such burials, but an element of great interest has emerged recently during the restoration operations: the removal of a concretion of mortar and carbon residues on the floor of the “Hall of Actaeon” has in fact highlighted the residual trace of a further tomb, testified only by some fragments of human bones, but accompanied by a bone comb with graticule incisions of possible Lombard production.
For the Early Middle Ages the evidence is even more tenuous: the only material attestations about new living phases are to be attributed to a probable bottom of hut with related wooden palifications, found in the south-east of the yard.
In the following centuries a still significant discovery is represented at a melting pit for bell, dating around the tenth century and relative to the bell tower of the ancient church of St. James (today St. Augustine). As a result of the findings, recognizing the important value of the complex of environments of the south-east sector of the excavated area, exceptional in the archaeological panorama of Augusta Taurinorum both for its state of conservation and for the architectural level of the whole, the Superintendence has asked the manufacturer, Building S.p.A. to develop a design variant for the conservation and enhancement of the three rooms best preserved, including the preparation of the roof, already realized, that it allows the vision from the plan of the inner courtyard.
Curated by the Soprintendenza Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio per la Città Metropolitana di Torino.
The archaeological site of Quadrato in Turin
On the occasion of the restoration work of the former convent of Sant’Agostino in Via delle Orfane at the Quadrilateral of Turin, archaeological finds of exceptional consistency have emerged: a vast plan dating back to the Roman Imperial period between the I and the III century AD, for commercial or public use, with mosaic decorations representing the mythological figure of the hunter Atteone mauled by his dogs. The particularly well-preserved Roman environments are located in the south-eastern sector of the area: the hypothesis is that they are rooms and flooring of the interior and exterior of a spa area. Specifically, there are four rectangular and flanked rooms that overlook a porched courtyard, witnessed by the remains of a brick column covered with slotted stucco, with large stone thresholds in which footprints are visible that could correspond to wooden gates closing. The complete opening of the three southern rooms on the eastern side seems to exclude that it is a dwelling house, assuming rather the public and commercial use. The rooms retain mosaic decorations of which the most appreciable is that in the western sector of the great southern room, about 10 x 6 meters, depicting an emblem with black and white mosaic tiles, in which is probably represented the mythological figure.
The Gruppo Building has invested in the preservation of archaeological finds, with a major restoration of the site, making available to citizens a discovery of great importance for the city. The work is expected to be completed in spring 2021.
The Square project of the Building Group is divided into five floors above ground, an attic floor and a basement; it includes a large internal courtyard and is part of the largest convent complex of the Augustinians built in the mid-sixteenth century. The premises were occupied by the former conservatory and subsequently by the court, civil chamber. Work started in January 2016 ended in 2018. The contemporary house and urban relay, project of the studio Boffa, Petrone & Partners and Building Engineering, whose work was carried out by Building Spa, has also opened to art and the city with a work of Pixelpancho, in line with the other housing projects of the Building Group.
The CRT Foundation for the recovery of hidden beauty: 36,000 euros at the restoration site “Square”
CRT Foundation supports with 36,000 euros the restoration site “Square”, to bring to light the “hidden beauty” of the Roman domus, found in via delle Orfane in Turin. the contribution re-enters in the within of the ban “Restorations Diffuse Yards”, that it favors the rebirth historical, artistic and architectonic assets and concurs concretely to the ripartenza of economic activities to high occupational impact, fundamental in order to preserve the economic fabric-social of the territory. Up to now 2,600 assets have been restored with the project “Restorations Shipyards Diffuse” of the CRT Foundation, which has allocated a total of 42.8 million euros.
The CRT Foundation is a private non-profit organization founded in 1991 and is one of the “engines” of development and growth of Piedmont and the Aosta Valley in three macro-areas: Art and Culture, Research and Education, Welfare and Territory. It intervenes with its own projects and resources for the enhancement of artistic heritage and cultural activities, the promotion of scientific research and the training of young people, support for innovation and social entrepreneurship, assistance to people in difficulty, the protection of the environment, the system of civil protection and first aid. So far, the CRT Foundation has distributed resources of 1.9 billion euros and allowed the implementation of more than 40,000 interventions for the territory, with support not only distributive, but also project, listening to the needs of aggregative realities, institutional and non-profit. He also redeveloped the OGR-Officine Grandi Riparazioni in Turin, with 100 million euros: the largest direct investment in a single project, as well as one of the largest examples of philanthropy ventures in Europe.
THE VISIT TO THE SQUARE WITH GUIDED TOURS BY ARCANA DOMUS.
The construction site of Via delle Orfane 20
On Friday 16 and Saturday 17 October the Superintendence, in collaboration with the Centre for Conservation and Restoration La Venaria Reale and with the support of the company Building, open to the public the archaeological site of Via delle Orfane to share with the community the results of the ongoing research. Thanks to the report of the archaeologists and restorers, involved in the research operations, will be presented the site, the archaeological intervention and the complex phases of the restoration. The site will be accessible every hour, and by reservation, to small groups of visitors, consisting of a maximum of ten people.
The opening to the site will be accompanied by guided tours by Arcana Domus.
COST: free of charge
DURATION OF THE ROUTE: 45′
DEPARTURE TIMES VISITS: Friday 16 and Saturday 17 October
h. 9.45 – 10.30 – 11.15 – 12
h. 14 – 14.45 – 15.30 – 16.15
RESERVATION REQUIRED by h. 15 on Thursday 15 October 2020:
• by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating
OBLIGATORY a telephone number and the time chosen for the visit
• by telephone on +39 340 484 4634 (service from Monday to Friday
h. 9 – 17)
Reservation available subject to availability.
Arcana Domus is a Cultural Association born from the collaboration of a group of professionals to give life to a process of valorization and fruition, at different levels, of archaeological emergencies inserted within private urban spaces. All the projects promoted by Arcana Domus consist of cultural and educational activities, events and guided tours carried out by specialized personnel, with the aim of opening to the public unpublished places of Turin’s archeology and architecture through discovery initiatives, narration and networking of the emergencies themselves, to reveal a story still partly unpublished in the City.