Over the last two weeks there has been some serious activity going on at the ristorante Locanda di Mezzo in Barga Vecchia once their clients had eaten their fill and left the premises.
Workmen then entered the building and started work on one of the rooms inside the Locanda. They worked for many hours, then cleared up and left only to return a few days later and carried on their labours.
This week is becomes slightly clearer as to just what has been going on.
Fabrizio Da Prato has been preparing a room and specifically one wall with a design in plaster using Marmorino Veneziano – a type of plaster or stucco. It is based on calcium oxide and used for interior and exterior wall decorations usually applied over a primer and basecoat base, from one to four layers. It is finished (burnished) with a specialised steel trowel to a smooth glass-like sheen. It was used as far back as Roman times, but was made popular once more during the Renaissance 500 years ago in Venice.
As can be seen from the images above there is still a considerable amount of work to be done before the public can view the finished work but already those who have spent any time in the Duomo in Barga will have noticed just where Fabrizio has got his inspiration for this work – the Cosmati decorations around the centuries old marble font.
Cosmatesque, or Cosmati, is a style of geometric decorative inlay stonework typical of the architecture of Medieval Italy, and especially of Rome and its surroundings, and derived from that of the Byzantine Empire. It was used most extensively for the decoration of church floors, but was also used to decorate church walls, pulpits, and bishop’s thrones. The name derives from the Cosmati, the leading family workshop of marble craftsmen in Rome who created such geometrical decorations.