Superintendence for Architectural Heritage
The territory of the Holy See within the Vatican walls and in its extraterritorial sites is comprehensively distinguished by buildings that have marked the history of architecture, accompanying all of the important events in the history of the Church from her origins to our times.
Since 2008 the conservation of this heritage has been entrusted to the Superintendence for Architectural Heritage, a section of the Department of Scientific Services of the Vatican Museums, whose Director fulfils the role of Superintendent.
The Office dedicates a major part of its activity to the conservation of the buildings in which the Vatican Museums are located, as well as supporting the Technical Services of the Governorate of Vatican City State in the more significant interventions relating to extra-territorial assets.
Since its creation (2008), the Office has made its expertise available on the occasion of important restoration works, such as those relating to the colonnade of St. Peter’s Square, the cloister of St. John Lateran, and the Church of St. Thomas of Villanova at Castel Gandolfo.
Currently, the most significant work in which the board is engaged, in close collaboration with the Directorate of Technical Services of the Governorate, is the “Courtyard of the Pinecone”, or rather the upper Belvedere Courtyard, where a comprehensive restoration of the fronts and coverings is underway, along with the static consolidation of the east wing (Chiaramonti Gallery).
Recently the Office provided a contribution to the restoration of the “Braccio di Carlo Magno” on St. Peter Square, and is currently initiating the restoration of the ceiling of the Hall of Blessings in St. Peter’s.
Historical research represents the fulcrum of the activities of this Scientific Service, and is understood both as a support for conservation operations and as a tool for the interpretation of the knowledge attained from restoration works.
For the purpose of spreading awareness of the architectural heritage of the Holy See, alongside the publication of scientific contributions, the Office has recently initiated a programme of lessons and visits regarding architecture, dedicated to schools, universities and post-graduate training institutes.
Vitale Zanchettin, Director