Art Restoration in Puglia, Italy

The Art Restoration program include a practical 'hands on' experience in the process of conservation and restoration of Frescoes, Canvas, Wood, Stone and Decorative paintings and plaster in the rich cultural setting of Puglia region. By learning and actively working, participants also contribute to the conservation of the art and historical heritage of the region.

2017 Workshop Dates:

June 13-28 (spaces are limited, so early registration is recommended!)

There are no prerequisites required to participate to the workshops. - The Frescoes that are worked on and studied are part of the rupestral Byzantine settlements (underground habitations) located in the Alta Murgia area, which include the masseria ("farmhouse") of Jesce, the Masseria of Carpentino, the Masseria of Fornello, the Crypt of San Michele delle Grotte, and Grotta dell' Angelo dating from the 14th to 16th century.

In these rural settings, the ipogei settlements represented important centers of social and religious activities. The communities of this area created their own cultural identity, finding artistic expression in works of religious iconographic art. Between the 8th and the 12th centuries, small monastic and lay communities emigrated to Southern Italy. The high Murgia was one of the places of major activity due to it being the point of contact between two religious currents: the Latin Monastic tradition and the Basilian monks from Cappadoccia (Turkey) and Armenia, of Greek Orthodox origin.

Participants will also create their own frescoes employing traditional techniques and materials- from making the plaster,' sinopia' underdrawings, and painting with natural pigments. - Wood Statue and Canvases are provided by local churches and private collections and will be worked on onsite at Masseria La Selva. Participants will be introduced to examples of 17th to 19th centuries wood statues and paintings that are unique to the history of the Altamurgia region. Most of the artworks selected for the program are religious subjects.

While the authors themselves are not very well known, the patronage they recieved from nobilty and church congregations, inculcated with a strong devotional culture, allowed them to create works of notable atistry. Part of these artworks are still carried in religious processions. - Decorative study is conducted onsite at Masseria La Selva and provides the basics of the natural materials and techniques employed in Decorative Arts- murals, wall paintings, trompe l'oile, decoration, faux finishes, and plaster frieze. An overview of natural pigments, lime mixture variations, and types of grains and sands. Participants will practice the process of decorative painting restoration, and surface preparation and design. Practice of decorative mortar frieze.

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What to Expect?

After introductions which are common to all areas, participants may choose a specific area of focus. The workshops are complimented by seminars in Art History, Geomorphological Studies and Religious Iconography and Rituals and include several site visits, including visits to Pompeii, Sassi of Matera (Unesco World Heritage site), the Rupestral Churches Park, museums and art exibitions.

The workshops are led by Tonio Creanza director of Sinergie/Messors ; Dr. Teresanna Loiodice, Cultural Heritage; Giuseppe Laquale, Art Heritage Conservator. Participants are picked up at the Bari airport (BRI) or train station and transferd to Masseria La Selva. Set an hour inland from the coast of Bari, Masseria La Selva was built in the mid 18th century as a hunting lodge for the Roman Orsini family.  The Orsini family had a long history in the region dating back to 1420 when the Normans gave them neighbouring town of Gravina, where Pope Benedict XIII  of the Orsini family later presided.     

At the turn of the 20th century the head of the Lorusso family  bought the Masseria and it became a working farm with crops of cotton, wheat and tobacco. The main floor houses a vast open kitchen, a sitting room with arched ceilings and stone fireplace, and a dining hall. On the second floor two wings expand east and west from the central music room, to the bedrooms, bathrooms, and a maze of sitting rooms decorated in antiques and farm tool collections. There are 9 bedrooms all overlooking the back courtyard each furnished with two single beds. Masseria La Selva is set on 200 hectares of private land of gentle hills. There are sheep, pigs ,geese and cows on the property, and cheese is made in the adjacent building every morning. 3 home cooked meals are served daily. The meals created in the kitchen are typical of the Puglia region by Rosanna and her crew and everybody is welcome to join the preparation having so the opportunity to learn also about local food.

The nearby town of Altamura is famous for its round loaves of crusty bread which will be a staple at your table along with family harvested olive oil. Breakfast will be laid out in the kitchen in the morning and sit down lunch and dinner will be served in the dining room or outside courtyard. The masseria has story-telling family collections of old pitchforks and farm tools, fencing masks, trophies, paintings, and antique furniture. We like to have long dinners outside in the courtyard, where sometimes films will be projected on the walls of the building and locals drop by to practice their English or share their Italian.

Typical schedule: Lectures/pratictical work in the mornings. Excursions and visits in the afternoon. Day trips to historical sites with lunch on site. Day trip to the beach.

  • Program ID: # 1630
  • duration:
    2 Weeks to 1 Month
  • location:
    Altamura (Bari) Italy Altamura
    40° 49' 42.0924" N, 16° 33' 13.14" E
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
    Moderately Fit
  • Closest Airport:
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
  • Program Type:
    Community Development Projects
    Learn Abroad
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