Saving Santa Barbara

On May 29th 2012, after a strong earthquake, the lantern of the bell-tower of the St. Barbara’s Church collapsed down. In a month time, a special crew of firemen saved the dome of the bell-tower, making it safe. It has been an extraordinary work of engineering. At a height of 56 meters (156 feet).

The church of Santa Barbara, which had the role of Palace chapel ("Basilica Palatina") for the Gonzagas, was built in 1562-1572 by Giovanni Battista Bertani, commissioned by Duke Guglielmo.
It has been dedicated to Saint Barbara, in memory of Barbara of Brandenburg (i.e. the Marchioness of Mantua, portrayed by Mantegna in the “Bridal Chamber”), the great-great grandmother of Duke Guglielmo.

Saint Barbara is also the patron saint of firemen. For this reason we want to publish some pictures regarding  the great job the firemen did to save the dome of the bell-tower Church. 

The Ducal Palace is still quite completely closed. The restoration works have already started, but they will take a long time. And they require money. The portrait of the Marchioness Barbara, frescoed by Mantegna along with the other members of her family, awaits – and deserves – help.

VisitMantua is now working with a great friend of us, La Mode Diplomatique, to plan some actions in  supporting the fundraising and the restorations. 
Follow us to be updated on this topic: Mantegna and the Ducal Palace need your help!   

A third of the Ducal Palace is now reopened: discover more reading this post.

Mantegna’s frescoes have been creaked by an earthquake. 
Let the world know:
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After-earthquakes re-openings in Mantua

Palazzo Te is now pretty completely open. The only room still closed is the “Room of the Sun and the Moon”.

The Ducal Palace, where the restorers are now working, will be closed for an indefinite period of time. Anyway some spaces of the Palace have been reopened on June 16th:

  • The Private Rooms of Isabella d’Este (“Scalcheria”, “Studiolo”, “Grotta” and “Secret Garden”) – entrance from Piazza Sordello.
  • The Botanic Garden (“Giardino dei Semplici”) and the “Rustica” (“Chamber of the Fishes”, “Cabinet of Orpheus”, “Chamber of Jupiter”, “Chamber of the Four Pillars”, “Chamber of Bacchus”, “Chamber of the Fruits” and the “Chamber of the two Columns”, with an exhibition of Ancient Greeks Marbles within  ) – entrance from Piazza Paccagnini.
A third of the Ducal Palace is now reopened: discover more reading this post.

Earthquake in Mantua: a list of the main damages in the Ducal Palace

Bridal Chamber by Mantegna (“Camera degli Sposi”, aka “Camera Picta”: a long crack appeared on the wall with portraits of the Gonzaga family; some of pieces of frescoed plaster have fallen down.
Chamber of the Initials: opening of cracks in the frescoed ceiling.
Chamber of the Friezes: large and worrying cracks.
More generally, severe damages to the supporting wall structures: break and fall of bricks in correspondence of the windows. Break of the footbridges behind the crenellation of the towers.

Hall of Manto: Fall of frescoed plasters, large cracks in the frescoes, dislocation of the coffered wooden ceiling (the largest in Mantua).
Staircase of Aeneas (connection between the New Court and the Castle): severe dislocating cracks of the walls.
Gallery of the Marbles (aka Gallery of the Months): severe falls of plaster and painted stuccoes. Collapse of a part of the moulding cornice. 
Gallery of the Exhibition: many cracks. The Gallery is also threatened by the unstable dome of the of near Bell-tower of the Basilica of Santa Barbara (Church of the Palace), which is likely to collapse, breaking through the ceiling.
Nova Domus: a crack in the outer (supporting) wall in correspondence of one of two terraces overlooking the Garden of the Simples.
Corridor of Bertani: unstable ceiling (somewhere collapsing).
Corridor of Paolo Pozzo: collapse of a part of the marble balustrade on the roof of the passage.

PALATINE BASILICA OF SANTA BARBARA (Private Church of the Gonzagas)
Collapse of the lantern of the bell-tower (destroyed).
Unstable dome of the bell-tower.
Damage to the façade.
An angular crack on one of the Cubes (square domes) of the Church.

Hall of the Rivers: widespread falls of frescoed plaster.
Ducal Flat: tipping of a wall to the outside, with danger of collapse on the beneath Paccagnini Square; dislocation of the windows.
Chamber of Pisanello: failure of one of the rafters.

A third of the Ducal Palace is now reopened: discover more reading this post.

Mantegna’s frescoes have been creaked by an earthquake. 
Let the world know:
Send Tweet , and share the SOS

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