For the past couple of months there has been a team of experts working on the outside of the Duomo attempting to reverse some of the damage that the passing centuries has inflicted on the light coloured stone.
Actually they have also been working on damage inflicted not just by the passing of time but also the passage of men – some of the damage done to the two columns guarding the main entrance to the Duomo which were damaged by blasts during the last war, for instance.
Their main work has been in attempting to consolidate the bas reliefs over the side door which have been deteriorating so drastically in the last 10 years that almost all the detail has gone and the stone work was in serious danger of crumbling away for ever.
A relief is a sculptured artwork where a modelled form is raised, or, in a sunken-relief, lowered, from a plane from which the main elements of the composition project (or sink). Reliefs are common throughout the world, for example on the walls of monumental buildings. The frieze in the classical Corinthian order is often enriched with bas-relief (low relief). Alto-relievo (high-relief) may be seen in the pediments of classical temples, e.g., the Parthenon. Several panels or sections of relief together may represent a sequence of scenes.
Click on the link below to hear a short interview with one of the restoration team working on the Duomo this afternoon (in Italiano)