Restoration work in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene

The work to value and conserve the aesthetic and spiritual heritage of our fine Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Rome is continuing and becoming more intense.

After the partial rewiring and improvement of the electrical system and the lighting system inside the church which was carried out in May 2015, the work in the sacristy was begun. The work to restore and strengthen the frescoes and the wooden structures (protection and pest control against wood worm and termites) in the sacristy began in February 2018 and – as is foreseeable with this kind of restoration work – with a variation on the estimated time of completion: the work will continue for another three or four months (the end of 2018?), ‘Beauty will save the world’!

In July 2018, in the internal courtyard of our home, a structure was put in place to reach the roof of the church on the portion that faces the façade of the building. The aim was the restoration of an important part of the roof of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, near to the façade (isolation against damp, cleaning of the ‘historic’ tiles, replacement of broken tiles, cleaning of the gutters and storm drains) The ‘historic’ infiltration of rain water had damaged some wooden trusses of the covering, compromising inside some parts of the frescoes and damaging with damp a part of the wooden chancel of the eighteenth century organ.

Unfortunately, this work of restoration highlighted a fracture in the false ceiling and the need to do restoration work on the side of the roof that looks onto the street – Via delle Colonnelle. This led to the setting in motion of another survey for new funding and new paper work to be able to activate a new building site on the other side of the building (the occupation of public soil).

The opening of the building site for the restoration of the tower and the belfry, and the strengthening of this part of the building after old and new fractures had opened in the clay bricks that support the overall structure (especially after the recent effects of the earthquake in central Italy), are now imminent.

Unfortunately, this work is more complex than the other work, given that down the centuries the bell tower of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene has been incorporated into the palace adjacent to the church, together with the apse of the church. Because of this very tight fit, the building site must also of necessity occupy the narrow spaces of the so-named ‘condominium’ – a part of our former generalate house – which is now, as a result of the dissolution of the Napoleonic period and the laws of the new State of Italy after 1870, made up of a series of private apartments.

Lastly, the surveys and the consultations for the restoration involving both preservation and prevention – against woodworm and termites – of the valuable wooden statue of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, and the four large busts on the altar, have already been set in motion. The work against woodworm and termites also envisages some prevention work on the four eighteenth-century confessionals and some large gilded picture frames of the side altars.

For all these initiatives and restoration work thanks are extended to the F.E.C. (Funds for Buildings of Worship – Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Italian government), and the Special Superintendence for the Protection of the Heritage of Rome, for the funding and the care shown in the carrying out of the work.