By Samantha D’Alonzo ’21

After a free day yesterday, the ONE-MA^3 group reunited in Turin this morning. We headed down to Venaria Reale. Venaria Reale is home to a 17th century complex comprising the Palace of Venaria, many beautiful gardens, and a restoration lab.

The Palace of Venaria

Venaria Reale was originally a Baroque inspired royal complex, similar to the Palace of Versailles. Eventually, the complex fell under French Influence during the expansion of Napoleon. Eventually it was abandoned and left to decay; that is until 1999 when a group of interdisciplinary researchers was brought together as part of Europe’s biggest restoration project of the time.

Our very own Professor Masic was the only chemist on the restoration team and played a crucial role in restoring the grounds. The job of the team was to collect, process, document, manage, coordinate, and analyze the grounds. Professor Masic spoke of a particular façade he restored. He also explained some difficulties the team faced during the restoration. Specifically, the team was unsure of the original color of the façade and therefore unsure of how to properly restore it. Through an interdisciplinary collaboration, an unexpected archeological discovery, and some good ole XRF, the team discovered the façade was originally white and properly restored it.

We then listened to some additional lectures from faculty at the restoration center. Elisa Rosso, the director of the restoration center spoke about culturally heritage and conservation, while Marie Claire Canepa, a restorer at the facility, spoke of the restoration of stuccos at the Chapel of Sant’Uberto in Venaria Reale.

After a tour of the restoration labs, we were given free rein to wander the beautiful palace and gardens.

                                                        One of the best parts of the grounds was this quaint building filled with a variety of games and unique musical instruments.

Some members of the group playing a racing game inside.

A main hallway of the palace

One of the beautiful garden walkways at the palace