In the wake of the impulses given by the Quirinal Treaty, which emphasizes the field of cultural heritage as an area of cooperation between Italy and France, the Istituto di Scienze del Patrimonio Culturale del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, the Fondation des Sciences du Patrimoine, the Institut Français Italia, and the French Embassy in Italy organise the IT-FR cooperation in Heritage Science event series: a string of hybrid events, both online and in person, on the Cultural Heritage in the Green transition issue.

The Italian-French bilateral cooperation on heritage science is based on the recognized excellence of the two countries on several long-term joint research initiativesItaly will host the statutory headquarters of the European Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS), which is in the process of forming a consortium, for a European research infrastructure ERIC, by 2023. France leads the Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage and Global Change (JPI CH) and the project that will lead to the creation of Alliance for Research on Cultural Heritage in Europe (ARCHE).

To watch the replay of the previous seminars, please visit the website of CNR ISPC and the ISPC YouTube channel.

15 September 2022 Seminar

Presentation Abstracts

Chiara Bortolotto

The Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development. Toward a green transition?

Conceptualized as “living heritage” and characterized by intrinsic links with the economy, environment, and society, Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) explicitly introduces new issues and concerns within the realm of heritage policies, which go far beyond those conventionally associated with conservation. Drawing on participant observation of ICH governance within the governing bodies of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the ICH on the one hand, and of the preparation of a nomination to the UNESCO Representative List in an Italian town on the other hand, I shed light on the disruptions in heritage representations when heritage work becomes more about making plans for the future than engaging with the past. In tackling the temporality regime underpinning ICH, this paper highlights an important paradigm shift from “conservation” aimed at perpetuating authenticity to “safeguarding,” entailing instead the integration of change. I argue that this shift not only challenges established heritage theory and practice, but opens up new possibilities for accelerating a green transition.

Giulio Lucarini & Anita Radini

Human adaptation to and impact on the Environment

In the last decades, archaeology and paleo-environmental disciplines have largely contributed to a wider understanding of human responses to climate changes of the past, especially in relation to socio-cultural phenomena of great importance, such as demographic fluctuations, migrations or technological adaptation. That provided insights for a better management of similar problems in present days.

These same disciplines also explore what the impact of human activities on Planet Earth may have been in the distant past. If, in fact, the heavy acceleration that has been produced since the mid-nineteenth century is evident, the diachronic analysis of the complex relationships that governed human beings and environment, shows that this impact may have occurred even before the Industrial Revolution and that it can be traced back to the first agricultural and pastoral production experiences of the planet.

The study concerning the origins of these economies and their long-term environmental impact is today of great relevance by reason of the role that these subsistence strategies still play globally among communities, but also for the debate on their ecological effects. At the same time, studying the adaptations of ancient societies to situations of environmental stress can help address responses to climate change and the increasing aridification that different regions of the planet are experiencing today.

Ann Bourges

Integrating data from the past to build the future: heritage a source and a showcase of innovation

Heritage is often also a source of inspiration, inspiration with regard to the materials used, the techniques, the craftsmanship, the know-how. Tangible and intangible goods are also an asset, a tool for innovation to bring new solutions. By drawing inspiration from the past and the virtuous riches of our heritage, solutions for preservation, but also for better living are within reach. There is as much to be done in identifying the effects as in identifying the innovative potential offered by heritage.

The European New Bauhaus movement bears witness to this and heritage has a huge role to play in these actions to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The heritage must be a showcase for innovation, listing all the materials and virtuous techniques that can be integrated into the main objective of the European green pact, zero carbon by 2050. Integrating data from the past to better build the future today.

Alessandra Marasco

Cultural heritage experiences in the twin transition: promoting sustainable visitor behaviours

The role of cultural heritage in inspiring action for climate mitigation and sustainable futures is an emerging area of research (JPI Cultural Heritage & JPI Climate, 2022). Visitors represent an important target audience for raising awareness and encouraging behavioural change towards more sustainable practices to protect cultural heritage, reduce environmental impacts and reach climate neutrality goals (Potts, 2021; Markham et al., 2016). Promoting sustainable visitor behaviours for the conservation of cultural heritage and the environment is thus a strategic priority for cultural heritage institutions, but remains challenging, particularly with regard to how sustainable behaviours can be integrated in the design of visitor-centred experiences (Ardoin, Schuh, and Khalil, 2016).

With the aim to contribute to the debate in this field, this presentation focuses on how to promote sustainable visitor behaviours through cultural heritage experiences from the twin transition perspective. It provides insights into the understanding of sustainable visitor behaviours, key antecedents identified by literature and the opportunities offered by digital technologies. Building on an experience design approach (Tussyadiah, 2014, 2017), guiding principles are presented for designing experiences involving digital technologies that are effective in encouraging and engaging visitors in sustainable behaviours.

Thomas Mouzard & Sofia Pescarin

For a relational and integrated approach to safeguarding tangible and intangible heritage

The safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) contributes by definition to the green transition because, in application of the 2003 Unesco Convention, it must respect the objectives of sustainable development (SD), of which ecology is one of the 3 axes. According to the Operational Directives revised in 2016, States Parties strive to “strengthen the role of ICH as a factor and guarantor of SD”. After summarizing the main orientations and principles of this international normative instrument in this field, this communication will begin by presenting a summary assessment and the issues that arise in France in their implementation. Thirdly, we will approach the problem from an anthropological point of view by highlighting the impossibility of responding to the ecological challenges of our time without reconsidering our ways of relating to the living, and getting out of the double dichotomy humanity / nature, modernities / traditions.

Valeria Di Tullio

Green Conservation and E-RIHS: experiences of access to research infrastructures

As several aspects of society, also the conservation of cultural heritage is moving towards a more sustainable approach. In this presentation, several examples of access to the Italian node of E-RIHS (European research infrastructure for heritage science) will be presented showing the role of multi-disciplinary collaboration between scientists, conservators, art historians and others to promote the safeguarding of cultural heritage and enhance its sustainability through better-coordinated research and innovation. The employment and the dissemination of new approaches of green conservation can be thus successfully improved by providing access to high-level scientific tools, data, advanced knowledge as well as to innovative methodologies applied to the Cultural Heritage.

Piero Baglioni

Green technologies and materials for Cultural Heritage Conservation

European Cultural Heritage (CH) is a crucial resource that must be maintained, preserved and accessible, to counteract degradation enhanced by unfavorable environmental conditions and climate changes. Traditional conservation methodologies lack durability, sustainability and cost-effectiveness, and are typically based on energy-consuming processes or non-environmentally friendly materials.

Coping with these issues, new solutions based on green and sustainable materials and methods, to preserve, conserve and restore have been proposed and will be further developed within the “green matrix” and the European Green deal. In this talk I will briefly highlight: 1) Protective coatings based on green materials from waste and plant proteins, with self-heling and reversibility character, possibly functionalized with organic/inorganic nanoparticles to impart VOC capture, anti-corrosion and barrier behaviors; 2) Foams and packaging materials made by biodegradable/compostable polymers from renewable sources to control T/RH. 3) Consolidants based on natural polymers from renewable sources, to mechanically strengthen weak artifacts. 4) Gels and cleaning fluids inspired by the most advanced systems currently available to conservators, improving them according to green and circular economy.

Edwige Pons Branchu

The history of water in urban heritage, research avenues for water management in the future city

In densely populated areas, urban development has a significant impact on the quality of natural water, and in particular that of near-surface aquifers. The quality of these waters is poorly known, as are the factors that influence it (sources of pollution for example), and are not used as a resource. We present here the study of the near surface waters of Paris and its surroundings. The innovative approach developed within the framework of several projects aimed to put in place analytical tools to reconstruct the historical evolution of water quality. This is based on the study of fine limestone deposits formed by seepage water over time and found in historic aqueducts, catacombs or other underground structures. It is thus possible to trace the temporal evolution of certain sources of pollution in connection with urban development or human activities, and better constrain them. This approach is also underway for the study of the water supplying the fountains of the Palace of Versailles.

This methodology could be applied to other sites in France and Italy. Indeed, the better knowledge of the history of urban waters or highly anthropized areas makes it possible to discuss their possible valorization as an alternative resource, in a context of scarcity of water resources.

10 November 2022 Seminar

Presentation Abstracts

Eric Chaumillon

Evolution-adaptation of coastlines in the context of climate change

Sedimentary coasts are very dynamic even without climate change or sea level changes. Their shoreline can move at rates of meters per years. If the sedimentary budget of a given coast is negative, erosion predominates and the shoreline is retreating. Conversely, if the sedimentary budget is positive, sediment accumulation predominates and the shoreline is migrating seaward. Today a major consequence of global warming is sea level rise. Global mean sea level rise accelerates since the 19th century and reaches 3,6 mm/yr for the last decades. This trend will continue for the next centuries. The effect of sea level rise on many sedimentary coasts is a shoreward migration of the shoreline. Sediment accumulation along the coastline is the main parameter that can counteract this shoreline migration induced by sea level rise. Unfortunately, sedimentation along many coasts is reduced due to human activities, like river damming or land reclamation, leading to an increase of coastal vulnerability to flooding. In addition to global sea level rise, fast sea level rise due to storm surges can occur locally and lead to major marine flooding. The frequency of these extreme sea levels related to storms will be increased by global sea level rise. Facing these already observed and projected evolutions, many adaption strategies are proposed. Hard defences, consisting of sea walls, rock armour, groynes, etc are able to prevent shoreline migration but at the same time are expensive and usually lead to beach erosion and major perturbations of coastal ecosystems. An example of soft defence is given by beach nourishment. Massive sand supply can result in an effective coastal protection, but also strongly impact coastal ecosystems. Both hard and soft defences are costly, energy-consuming and need maintenance. Ecosystem-based solution are increasingly popular in the research community and their application on sedimentary coasts has several advantages. An example is given by protection and restauration of coastal marshes and wetlands and/or “depolderisation”. The main advantages are: (1) fast sedimentation and building up elevation to keep pace with sea-level rise; (2) limitation of extreme sea levels during storms by flooding of lowlands, (3) wave energy dissipation by vegetation; (4) increase in biodiversity and biomass; (5) increase in water quality and (6) protection of coastal natural heritage leading to improve human health and well-being, social cohesion and connection of people to nature.

Crescenzo Violante

Sensing the invisible for a sustainable management of underwater cultural landscape: hints from the Baia submerged archeological park


Sensing technologies applied to different operational purposes:

  1. Systematic non-invasive in situ monitoring of UCH
  • Monitoring is the most effective method for studying changes to a submerged site over the course of its lifetime and for potentially identifying the factors that influence a site’s degradation so that preventative measures can be implemented.
    • In line with the main principle of the UNESCO 2001 Convention aiming to develop new ways of in situ protection
  1. Simultaneous investigation of seafloor geomorphologic features and its cultural resources
  • Improve the integration of archaeology and cultural heritage management within the marine science in line with the aims of
    • The Ocean Decade Heritage Network
    • The integration of UHC into Marine Spatial Planning (MPA)
  1. Fruition of UCH
  • Sensing technologies provide a continuous overview of the seabed morphology and associated cultural features both to diving and not diving public.
    • Underwater cultural landscapes are not human living environments and we do not see them directly and continuously.


Very High Resolution and Ultra High Resolution echosounder systems including

  • Multibeam echosounder system
    • Depth measurements for morphological and archaeological characterization and mapping
  • Side Scan Sonar system
    • Seafloor acoustic reflectivity measurements for target detection and seabed composition


A pilot action is being implemented through the application of remote sensing techniques in the submerged Archaeological Park of Baia (the Roman Baiae; Naples, Italy). This area represents a unique example that combine cultural and natural heritage in marine environment. The importance of such interrelation has been formally recognized with the establishment of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) in 2002, based on the presence of marine habitats of community importance.

The Archaeological Park of Baia is part of an active volcanic complex, the Campi Flegrei caldera, which is characterized by frequent earthquakes and short-term vertical ground movements in the range of several metres to several tens of metres, known as bradyseism. Consequently, a number of architectural remains including villae maritimae and landing ports are now are presently drowned up to ca. -10 m below the actual mean sea level.

Eleonora Gioventù

Green materials and methods in the conservation of cultural heritage: the challenge for an ecological index

The theme of sustainability in the conservation and restoration of cultural heritage is mainly addressed to the research and testing of new organic products deriving from natural sources such as : essential oils, nanocelluloses, polysaccharides extracted from algae , bacteria for cleaning and consolidation of artworks. On the contrary equally important factors, such as the global procedures and methodologies used in restoration sites, are often not taken into consideration although they influence the sustainability of the interventions in a perhaps even greater way. This is probably due to the complex multiplicity of aspects to be evaluated. For this reason, it would be advisable to adopt green planning guidelines that favor the reduction of environmental impact. The practice of guided and sustainable planning, by quantifying the ecological impact of each operations, could in fact promote the development of an ecological project index, which can guide administrations in the choice of more sustainable interventions.

Beatriz Meneńdez

Sustainable conservation of built cultural heritage in a changing environment

Large research and innovation efforts have been made in Europe and worldwide for the conservation of Built Cultural Heritage (BCH) but more work is needed to take into account the ecological footprint of the materials and methods employed during conservation works. In this way, matching cultural heritage requirements with ecological, economic and social aspects becomes a crucial point in future conservation and restoration policies. One aspect of sustainability is the durability of proposed solutions and materials. In order to improve the durability of the conservation interventions it is important to know the environmental conditions of the building in the future, specifically climate and atmospheric composition.

To treat these aspects an international and multidisciplinary group of researchers, companies, stakeholders and associations, from Latin America and Europe was founded to work on the sustainable conservation of built cultural heritage in actual and future conditions. The proposed operational methods will consider the bidirectional relationships between conservation and environmental change. Conservation methods must contribute to minimize the environmental change by reducing the footprint of the building all over its lifetime and at the same time, they must adapt to actual and future environments, that changes must faster than during the previous life of buildings.

27 January 2023 Seminar

Presentation Abstracts

Danilo Forleo

European Protocol In preventive Conservation – for historic houses and palace-museums 

Since 2015, the Palace of Versailles has led the EPICO (European Protocol In preventive Conservation) research programme, focused on the preventive conservation of historic houses and palacemuseums. Alongside the Network of European Royal Residences (ARRE), the EPV partners with different members of ARRE as well as international research and educational institutes.  Within the framework of sound, sustainable management, EPICO has continued its preventive approach by developing an assessment method collections, designed specifically for historic houses. A sustainable management strategy based on preventive conservation requires precise knowledge of the state and conservation conditions of collections. An action plan can then be drawn up to establish preventive and maintenance priorities that aim to limit the amount of restoration required; this will have a significant beneficial impact on environmental and economic management of resources. This method can be applied to any historic house, regardless of its size or the number of collections it conserves. Using simple tools the EPICO method aims to provide a full overview of the condition of the building to establish priorities and draw up a long-term strategy. This is based on a systemic assessment strategy in which the conditions of conservation, the state of conservation of the collection and the presentation of the works are analysed.

Grazia Tucci

Safeguarding cultural heritage against natural and anthropic risks. The contribution of the Italian partnership on ‘Cultural Heritage Active Innovation for Sustainable Society’ and the national PhD programme on Heritage Sciences

The speech “Safeguarding cultural heritage against natural and anthropic risks. The contribution of the Italian partnership on ‘Cultural Heritage Active Innovation for Sustainable Society’ and the national PhD programme on Heritage Sciences” illustrates the Italian contribution in the field of research on cultural heritage, with particular reference to the built heritage, in relation to the causes and effects of climate change. Brief references to national and European regulations will introduce the NRRP (National Recovery and Resilience Plan) Extended Partnership Programme, followed by an illustration of the objectives and methods of the new national PhD programme “Heritage Science”, also created with NRRP resources, with the aim of training a new generation of researchers and professionals working in the cultural heritage sector, capable of collaborating and competing in the context of the most prestigious European and international initiatives.

Elisabeth Marie-Victoire & Myriam Bouichou

Thermal comfort in historic concrete buildings, Problematics and innovation axis – FRESCO Project

Since the 1990s, the amount of concrete buildings protected as historical monuments in France exponentially grew to reach in 2021 more than 920 buildings. If concrete has allowed many architectural innovations, of which the work of Le Corbusier is one of the major emblems, it has also generated new problems. Thus, the desire to refine the walls to create an architectural lightness, the large openings according to the concept of the free plan created by Le Corbusier in the 1920s, are first a source of thermal discomfort. Additionally, concrete pathologies, often related to condensation phenomena, are observed. The current global warming, confirmed by the IPCC report (IPCC_AR6_WGII, Chapter06) will contribute to accentuate these problems, and make it urgent to find new ways of resilience.

If solutions such as thermal insulation from the outside have proven their worth, they are difficult to transpose to historic monuments which restoration ethics require the preservation of the architectural aspect and the material. Research of innovative technological solutions and management of the use are thus necessary.

In this context, the FRESCO project, supported by the COMUE Paris-Est aims to find innovative solutions to improve thermal comfort, energy efficiency and material conservation in historic concrete buildings, while respecting their deontological requirements. The project, whose novelty lies in the systemic vision of the behavior of 20th century heritage buildings, is focusing on three famous examples of the architecture of Le Corbusier.

Alessandra Bonazza

Tools and strategies for enhancing preparedness of cultural heritage against climate change induced extreme events 

The risk to cultural heritage as a consequence of the related hazards and impacts of climate change, particularly extreme events, is globally recognized. However, this is not sufficiently addressed by research-based measures dedicated to its safeguarding, nor is it properly set out in national disaster risk-reduction and management plans and measures.  

Research and innovation on user-driven solutions, tools, mitigation and adaptation strategies, is therefore urgently required, based on sound scientific studies, capitalization of achieved knowledge, transferring and dissemination of results and coordinated actions among the different actors involved in the decision-making process for protection and management of cultural and natural heritage. Recent results obtained at European level are discussed by focusing in particular on the “Risk mapping tool for cultural heritage protection” and the “Methodology for vulnerability ranking” developed in the framework of the Interreg Central European Projects ProteCHt2save and STRENCH. Strategies proposed for the safeguarding of cultural heritage in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) within the EU Study “Safeguarding Cultural Heritage from Natural and Man-Made Disasters” are also presented.

Bruno Phalip

Conservation-restoration of buildings and the biosphere: a persistent incomprehension? Misunderstandings and resistance. 

A profound change in our ways of thinking and acting? For several years, the multiplication of editorial initiatives, research, conferences and meetings, and public demands, seem to be moving in the direction of a slow but sure integration of environmental issues related to monuments and sites.

Nevertheless, despite the displays, various arguments are formulated that lessen the impact of the wishes expressed to work differently. Resistance and contradictions betray the weight of habits, the lack of human and material means in the services, the absence of adapted training, as well as the difficulties to question theories and practices, affect the different actors, institutions or companies.

It is a fact that, despite some good attempts and experiments, the exception is the rule. The latter hardly questions the usual practices with immediate value, the interventionist policies, the techniques used (destructive, abrasive, mechanical…), the products (biocides, waterproofing agents, hardeners, additives…), and the resulting waste; all this contributes to distancing the intentions of a balance between monument, site and environmental protection.

Letizia Martinelli 

Multidisciplinary framework and cross-fertilisation challenges for energy and environmental improvement of built heritage 

Built heritage is being recognised as a driver for sustainable development and green transition, as shown by the recent actions of the Climate Heritage Network, with the development of the European Cultural Heritage Green Paper in response to the European Green Deal. Environmental design and built heritage science are undergoing an integrated and interdisciplinary cross-fertilisation, capable of leveraging the best of both hard sciences and humanities, to face the challenges of the energy and environmental improvement of historical buildings. To this end, Heritage Building Information Modelling (HBIM) and Building Performance Simulation (BPS) are promising tools to tackle the heterogeneity and complexities of built heritage, even if interoperability between the two is still complex. HBIM is an information management tool to structure the improvement workflow, while BPS can identify and simulate the energy behaviour of the building’s current state and evaluate the proposed interventions. The application of a workflow based on these tools to Palazzo Maffei Borghese, a historical building in the city centre of Rome, proves their effectiveness for research and professional practice.

27 April 2023 Seminar

Presentation Abstracts

Antoine Jacobsohn

Preparing historical gardens for the future.
Learning from the Potager du Roi, the urban historical kitchen garden of the Ecole nationale supérieure de paysage, Versailles.

Potager du Roi is a remarkable garden that fits into a unique urban composition. Since its creation starting in 1678, the site has undergone many changes without ever losing its original structure. Many architectural and plant structures of large gardens, such as walls, fountains and many linear tree plantings or parterres, have a life cycle that is approximately centennial. Potager du Roi was completed in 1683. The first major restoration occurred in the 1780’s and the second began in the 1880’s. Today, Potager du Roi suffers from a fourty-year deficit of sustained investment. This presentation will describe how an agroecological approach, based both on historical and on contemporary practices, is being applied to conserve and share the unique and exceptional atmosphere of the garden designed by La Quintinie; to position the site as a living heritage at the heart of contemporary debates and in particular sustainable practices concerning food and health issues in an urban environment.

Flavia Bartoli

Botanical approach for Cultural Heritage: Historical Garden and Archaelogical Park.

The Plant Blindness is defined as “the inability to see plants in the surrounding environment”, with the consequence of failing to recognize their importance. Concept dating back to 1998, it is the result of years of research by James Wandersee and Elizabeth Schussler.

Historic gardens, like archaeological parks, are often hot spots of biodiversity and refugia. Places within which many rare or legally protected plant species are saved from the incessant advance of urbanization. The management conditions linked to the conservation of monuments allow these species to survive. Within these places, therefore, the right balance must be found for the conservation and enhancement not only of the monuments present but also of the biodiversity present which therefore adds value to the site itself. Only correct conservation and targeted enhancement can defeat the plant blindness not only of visitors but also of those who manage and maintain the site. In my speech today we will see a series of problems related to the conservation and enhancement of the plant component within historic gardens but also in archaeological parks, scrolling through some emblematic case studies.

Jean-Michel Sainsard

Le jardinier et le projet, pour une adaptation aux changements climatiques.

To see climate change as a death knell is a simplistic view of the garden as a work. Even if it is worrying, the disappearance of certain plants cannot be considered impossible for the survival of gardens. In contrast to the forest, it must be remembered that the issues at stake in a garden are primarily landscape issues. Of course, replanting has a high cost, but we must pay attention to the experimental dimension of the garden and the trials to be multiplied. Landscape designers are thus led to rethink gardens to create other forms which enrich the garden with different meanings. The history of gardens and the structures still in place confirm that this research is familiar. The experience of plants becoming unsuitable, obliging us to redesign entire structures, reminds us that the answer is always in the project, that the historic garden is also composed of the surrounding landscape, of axes, of full and empty spaces, of buildings, of uses and practices, of the economy. This requires excellent capacities of intellectual openness and pedagogy to question certain historical forms and compositions. We, therefore, choose to be optimistic, to think of ourselves as being at the dawn of a new way of thinking about the historic garden, which trusts in the capacity of living organisms to adapt to the project and in garden management.


Daniele Spizzichino

Monitoring and safeguarding of cultural heritage: the case of Italian parks and gardens.

Italy and France, but in general the Euro‐Mediterranean area will facing important challenges in the next years relating to the conservation and protection of the natural and cultural  heritage threatened by the direct and indirect effects due to Climate Change. ISPRA, MIC and ISCR have been collaborating for almost twenty years for the definition of indicators of natural and anthropic risk on the national cultural heritage through the Carta del Rischio project ( Indeed, thanks to this platform, today, for example, it is possible to analyze the distribution, typology and natural and anthropic pressures on specific categories, such as Parks and Gardens. From the analysis of static hazard in the coming years it will be possible to move on to dynamic monitoring, almost in real time, thanks also to the support of services and products derived from earth observation. With this in mind, the Ministry of Culture is developing a pilot project for the national monitoring of CH. The general structure of the Plan and the methodological procedures under implementation will certainly be an example for future collaborations between Italy and France.

28 June 2023 Seminar

Presentation Abstracts

Chiara d’Alessandro, Rossella Galletti, Helga Sanità

The Digital Valorization of the Intangible Heritage. The case of the Mediterranean Diet Virtual Museum.

Digitization of cultural heritage is an indispensable methodological practice for their preservation and valorization. In the field of intangible cultural heritage, every heritage agency process is characterized by three elements: by the narrative that constructs the assets; by the need to inventory them, i.e., to file and catalog them in order to ensure the dissemination of their knowledge and their preservation; and by the protagonists of the heritage themselves, the stakeholders, i.e., the bearers and practitioners – as UNESCO defines them – who represent the communities that hold the assets and are themselves living heritages. The Virtual Museum of the Mediterranean Diet was conceived and created by the anthropologists of MedEatResearch. It is a digital inventory tool of Mediterranean food cultures, where there are the most disparate witnesses, from the doctors who first codified the Mediterranean diet to the centenarians from Cilento who daily practice it, tell through video interviews the secrets of this intangible heritage of humanity.

Vincent Detalle

ESPADON Project, in Heritage Sciences, Dynamic Analysis of Ancient and Digital

ESPADON aims to provide the community with new instrumental means for multi-scale 3D tomography and multi-physics 2D imaging, made possible by increased computational power. Additionally, it aims to offer unique digital resources and expertise for processing and managing massive data, in complementarity with the support of TGIR Human-Num and the ongoing actions of SoCoRe and Parcours. ESPADON builds upon existing dynamics established since the launch of the first EquipEx PATRIMEX.
In the long term, this project will integrate the following elements:

  • The establishment of a network of devices working at different scales and levels of mobility, allowing for on-site analysis of artworks when necessary.
  • Shared management and utilization of data.
  • The effective structuring, largely already demonstrated, of a network of researchers and laboratories across the territory, incorporating training elements for students and future researchers.
  • The establishment of raw data archiving, as well as “finalized” data, enabling the creation of augmented heritage objects.

Danilo Forleo

Between Ecological and Digital Transition: Towards a New Multidimensional Approach to Conservation Based on the EPICO Method.

EPICO (European Protocol In Preventive Conservation) is a research programme and assessment method specially designed for the preventive conservation of collections in historic residences and castle museums. This innovative method, with its systemic approach, links the condition of collections and decor, environmental phenomena and site management in order to determine diagnoses, preventive conservation actions and the resources needed to implement them.

In the current context of climate change and economic crisis, preventive conservation has become an essential discipline for meeting the challenges of ecological and digital transition. This article presents a new multi-dimensional approach to preventive conservation based on the EPICO method within the framework of the Ministry of Culture’s guidelines and the ESPADON project. One of the aims of the new research programme is to enhance this diagnostic method by studying and implementing new digital and instrumental tools to meet the new ecological and digital challenges.

The aim is to consolidate and guarantee the interoperability and transmission of the information already produced with the EPICO method for the conservation of castle-museums and to make it a benchmark in the field of preventive conservation. The transfer of technology to a digital platform will make the method more accessible and integrate local and international information from different multi-scale and multimodal measurements into an ecosystem providing a global vision and optimised preventive conservation.

Fara Autiero

Naples Dante Project: a network of digital Dante projects.


Sofia Pescarin

The PERCEIVE Project. Perceptive Enhanced Realities of Colored collEctions through Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Experiences

Emilie Hubert-Joly

SUMUM Programme – New Acquisition and Processing Strategies for Digitising Heritage

When digitizing cultural heritage objects, the respect of their integrity is a basic principle. The study of their material and their interaction over time and the environment requires to limit sampling and the use of non-invasive means of observation. This is why the sciences and technologies of imaging capturing the the form (3D) and more recently of the appearance play a leading role. The encounter between digital sciences and the needs in conservation of cultural heritage constitute for these sciences new challenges and fields of validation, and for the actors of the heritage new forms of apprehension and opportunities of valorization. The markers of the SUMUM project consist in the development and implementation of a multi-scale and multimodal approach adapted to the complexity of surface information and their appearance, driven as closely as possible by the needs and demands of end-users (monitoring of change, visualization, etc.) by proposing adapted acquisition strategies and shared processing tools adaptable to the wide variety of needs and demands of heritage actors.
SUMUM has proposed innovative strategies (on both instrumental and associated processing sides) for the digitization/modeling of heritage objects and the appearance of their surfaces in view of their conservation restoration.
The implementation of our approaches was carried out through 4 acquisition campaigns on complex objects of different natures; namely the works of Victor Vasarely (Aix-en-Provence), The Snakes tree of Niki de saint Phalle (Angers) and a sculpture of Cesar (Marseille). Beforehand, a documentation study and definition of the needs and possibilities was carried out to elaborate the strategies and to have references. During these campaigns, we deployed different acquisition modalities (terrestrial and aerial photogrammetry via a drone, RTI, technical photography, polarimetry, colorimetry, LiDAR scanner, spectral imaging, etc.). An important processing work taking into account the multi-scale and multimodal nature of the data was carried out and allowed an integration to the AIOLI platform, thus facilitating the annotation, the processing propagation and also the valorization and the diffusion of the results.
Innovative strategies and systems of digitization of shape and appearance coupling different imaging modalities at different scales of observation have been imagined, developed and implemented. The exploitation of the resulting data show their relevance with regard to the expectations of the stakeholders (conservation and restoration) because they allow a more shared and realistic apprehension and explorations of surfaces more progressive in terms of scale. Data from these approaches have been integrated and disseminated to experts and the general public.

Giovanni Pescarmona

Digital Strategies and Platforms for Cultural Heritage: The Next Generation EU Investment of the MiC Digital Library

In this talk the speaker will briefly outlines the mission and the activities of the the Central Institute for the Digitalisation of Cultural Heritage (ICDP) – Digital Library of the Italian Ministry of Culture (MiC), its institutional aims and goals, and will outline the major challenges and opportunities of the Next Generation EU M1C3 1.1 Investment “DIGITAL STRATEGIES AND PLATFORMS FOR CULTURAL HERITAGE”. The investment, with a total budget of 500 million Euros, is part of the Italian National Recovery and Resilience Plan, and has the objective of creating a new digital cultural ecosystem, based on a cloud strategy and strong technical advancements.

In the talk I will explain in greater detail two of the twelve sub-investments comprised in the project: the stream 5 – Digitisation of cultural heritage and the stream 4 – Software infrastructure for Cultural Heritage. The Digitisation campaign will be the greatest digitisation project ever carried out in Italy: 200 million Euros, targeted to the creation of 65 million new digital cultural assets that will benefit Museum, Archives, Libraries and cultural institutions on the territory. The Stream 4 will create a new data space for the Italian digitised heritage. Based on a Cloud approach, the infrastructure will provide a wide array of IT services for institutions, businesses and the public, fostering the creation of new cultural and economic value.

Claire Pacheco

Euphrosyn: the digital platform transforming New AGLAE data into digital heritage

Integrating and sharing scientific data within the frameworks, norms and processes of Open Science should be considered as the alpha and the omega of any study of Cultural Heritage entity. As a matter of fact, if the property of a Cultural Heritage object is not always institutional, its cultural and spiritual dimension is intrinsically universal and belongs to anyone.

So, how should we consider the IBA data acquired on such specific targets? Are they part of the cultural heritage object which will then be digitally augmented? Are they part of a digital twin of the piece of art?

Hence, the mission of the New AGLAE team is to preserve and transfer the IBA data sets acquired on precious objects made of stones, glass, ceramics, metals, etc. and dating from Paleolithic to 21st c. to future generations as a piece of digital cultural heritage, starting by making the data respect the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). The FAIR process is optimized along the IBA data life cycle, from the application for New AGLAE beam time to the perennial storage of data sets and the publication of data, through their processing and current storage.

Following this logic and also in order to improve the various uses of IBA data within the communities built around the New AGLAE, IBA for Cultural Heritage and more widely Heritage Science, the Euphrosyne project was conceived. Euphrosyne is not only Aglae’s sister in mythology, but it is also the name of the digital platform that is being developed with the Digital Workshop of the French Ministry of Culture to make the New AGLAE data FAIR.

Euphrosyne enables New AGLAE users to safely reach their data and to remotely process them with the software suite available at the facility. Soon, the digital tool should enable interrogating, accessing and sharing IBA data respecting the FAIR principles.

19 October 2023 Seminar

Presentation Abstracts

Emmanuel Demetrescu

Interpreting and reconstructing the past: Trans-disciplinary approaches and synergy between humanistic, scientific data and technological tools.

In the attempt to interpret and reconstruct the past, a transdisciplinary approach that combines languages from different disciplines is essential. This synergy creates new tools and methods that help researchers face the challenges of documenting and analysing archaeological finds, monuments, and historical objects. During our presentation, we will explore the opportunities and challenges of combining ‘hard’ scientific data obtained from technological tools (such as 3D surveys and sensor data in the non-visible spectrum) with ‘soft’ data, such as photographs, texts, and written testimonies, enabling a more complete and accurate view of the past. During the presentation, concrete examples will be presented from research carried out as part of the studies for the construction of the Rome Metro Line C and the UNESCO site of Cerveteri.

Eliana Siotto

Enhancing Cultural Heritage: the impact of 3D acquisition in integrating human knowledge and digital technologies

3D acquisition technologies play a pivotal role in the preservation and enhancement of Cultural Heritage. Utilising 3D geometric data, in conjunction with targeted processing and algorithms, serves as the cornerstone for non-invasive and non-contact diagnostics. This technology acts as a crucial conduit for integrating data from historical-archival research and scientific investigations. Simultaneously, it facilitates the hybridisation of real and virtual data to support restoration and polychrome reconstructions. Furthermore, it enables seamless information and data exchange by developing web-based platforms. This presentation aims to elucidate the significant impact of 3D geometric models in harmonising human expertise with state-of-the-art technologies. It draws on experiences gained from analysing the wooden support of Leonardo da Vinci’s Adoration of the Magi, reconstructing fragments from the 15th-century Madonna of Pietranico, investigating ancient polychromy on Roman sarcophagi housed in the Vatican Museums, the Capitoline Museums, and the National Roman Museum collections, as well as examining Antonello da Messina’s Ecce Homo in the Alberoni Gallery in Piacenza.

Livio De Luca

Notre-Dame de Paris : a cathedral of digital data and multidisciplinary knowledge in heritage science

Cultural heritage research makes the confrontation between material objects and multidisciplinary studies the arena for the production of collective knowledge. In the digital age, this is then a privileged setting for the study of the collective analysis and interpretation of facts, objects and phenomena, bringing together a new generation of data to build new scientific and cultural resources – our tomorrow’s heritage. How can one memorise these bundles of individual gazes directed at one and the same object of study? How to analyse their dynamics of construction, overlap and fusion leading to new knowledge? Our research introduces a new field – a field of multidisciplinary and multidimensional digital data – as raw material for studying the mechanisms of knowledge production in heritage science. With an innovative approach to computational modelling and digitisation, we’re using the exceptional experimental setting of the Notre-Dame de Paris scientific action (involving 175 researchers from disciplines such as archaeology, anthropology, architecture, history, chemistry, physics and computer science) to build a corpus of data on scientific practises in cultural heritage research in the digital age.
By introducing and experimenting next-generation methods and tools for the semantically-enriched data production and analysis, we aim to shift the cursor of digitisation from the physical object to knowledge about the object, in order to analyse the interdependence between the complex features of the material object and the associated knowledge objects built by scholars through their research practises.

Violette Abergel

3D visualisation of Notre-Dame de Paris multidimensional data: a multidisciplinary challenge.

The Notre-Dame scientific action involves around 200 researchers from disciplines such as archaeology, anthropology, architecture, history, chemistry, physics and computer science.

The corpus built up through the collection of pre-existing digital data and the gradual aggregation of data produced by these members since the start of the project is now both rich and heterogeneous. It is caracterised by a wide variety of file formats, natures, temporal states and scales, and conveys very different meanings depending on the communities of researchers who use it. In response to the resulting exploration and analysis challenges, a 3D viewer has been developed. Its aim is not only to spatialise all these resources in a common reference system to ease their visualisation, but, above all, to link them together by simultaneously exploiting their geometric, visual, semantic and temporal properties in order to provide new multidisciplinary analysis methods.

7 February 2024 Seminar

Presentation Abstracts

Iwona Dudek

Research workflows and digital data sets: traceability, reproducibility, comparability issues illustrated on spatio-acoustic data acquisition protocols.

In this presentation, we discuss the importance of traceability, verifiability and comparability of research workflows and digital data sets. We highlight the challenges associated with the choice of language, which can affect the interpretation of research descriptions. To address this, we propose the use of conceptual modelling, controlled vocabulary and diagrammatic representations as a means of reducing interpretation variability. These elements form the basis on which the MEMORIA exploratory information system is built. The main objectives of the system, notably the identification and preservation of information on different types of research results and the sequences of actions that led to their creation, are illustrated using spatio-acoustic data acquisition protocols. We conclude by mentioning the constraints and limitations of the system, including the reliability of the data and the time-consuming nature of the documentation. 

Angela Bellia

Towards a Digital Approach for Preserving and Managing Sonic Heritage.

Ancient theatres are spread across a large territory that covers three continents. The international community has urged the commitment to preserve ancient theatres from the ravages of time and the action of human beings: given that disastrous natural events, climate changes, pollution and/or improper uses of these buildings are progressively damaging these architectural structures and their sonic heritage, effective preservation planning policy based on the prevention and mitigation of vulnerabilities and dangers is vital, especially in ancient theatres are now used as locations for concerts and modern performances. The survey on the sonic heritage of these ancient spaces for performances can enhance our knowledge of the acoustic design of theatre buildings obtained through 3D virtual reconstructions and the creation of acoustic models, taking in consideration the philological reading of the original system and the theoretical verification of the available archaeological data. Performing analysis on the best sound effects in ancient theatres can help significantly in establishing more precisely the nexus sound-in-space in performative spaces. Moreover, the assessment of the risk of sonic heritage in theatrical spaces and the relationship with their intangible aspects can enhance our knowledge on their transformation from generic or conventional built structures to buildings that can amplify the active sound properties of architecture. The development of a new multidisciplinary analytical approach that models the relationship between the intangible aspects and the spatial configuration of ancient theatrical structures can contribute to their future protection and preservation and their modern reuse. 

Marie-Laure Chavazas

Non-destructive diagnosis of marble sculptures by 3D imaging coupled with acoustic tomography.

Evaluating the internal deterioration state of cultural heritage artefacts is of foremost importance to propose adequate conservation and restoration. Studying these particular objects implies some requirements: techniques used for diagnosis must not damage the object. Ultrasonic methods can be an adequate solution as they are non-destructive. In this work, acoustic tomography is performed on a marble altar to produce a cartography of ultrasonic pulse velocity inside the object. Because of the complex geometry of the altar, distances between emitters and receivers are calculated on a photogrammetric 3D model. Ultrasonic pulse velocity values can highlight the internal homogeneity or heterogeneity of the object, its zones of weakness, its cracks, etc. 

Cristiano Riminesi

Integration of multi-scale and multi-resolution techniques for structural diagnostic on wall paintings with 3D modelling. The case study of the masterpiece of the Brancacci chapel frescoes.

The paper discusses the use of complementary non-destructive techniques based on optical and electromagnetic methods for the characterization of the structural integrity of the wall paintings and their support. The test site are the renaissance wall paintings by Masaccio, Masolino, and Filippino Lippi in the Brancacci chapel in Firenze.

Arnaud Schaumasse

Drassm, the original model of a single administrative and research service for all of France’s maritime areas.


Barbara Davidde

Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Italian Maritime Space.

The presentation will focus on the work carried out by the Italian Ministry of Culture and the  Italian National Superintendency for Underwater Cultural Heritage to define the cultural and landscape values that can be recognised in the marine environment and to document and protect Underwater Cultural Heritage; this work is part of an administrative process -which is currently being concluded- that will define the use and regulation of the Italian Maritime Spatial Plane. New technologies used to monitor, control and enhance the underwater cultural heritage will also be presented. 

Fabio Pagano & Crescenzo Violante

Digital tools for underwater cultural heritage management. The case of the Campi Flegrei Archaeological Park.

The Archaeological Park of Campi Flegrei (PAFLEG) is one of the autonomous institutions created within the most recent reform of the Italian Ministry of Culture. It embraces twenty-five separated sites located north of Naples, including the oldest Greek colony in the Western Mediterranean, Cumae, and one of the major centres of ancient Rome’s economic and military power, Puteoli, with its port. The PAFLEG is located in an active volcanic area characterized by vertical ground movements called “bradyseism”. Consequently, architectural remains including villae maritimae with their marble and mosaic decoration, and landing ports are now submerged up to a depth of ca. -10 m b.s.l. in the Underwater Park of Baiae. Here several actions are being implemented for the digitalization of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (UCH). Innovative scientific analysis methods and most recent technological advances and developments in marine digital technologies, enables non-invasive documentation, analysis, and monitoring of UCH, with unprecedented precision and sensitivity, contributing to its knowledge and preservation. Such approach is now crucial to develop strategies for conservation of marine cultural heritage, and for a number of policy and management issues. 

Funding Opportunities

We are pleased to share information about various funding opportunities that are currently available, launched by the Institut Français and the Université Franco-Italianne. The strong relationship between Italy and France makes these bilateral exchange programs of great interest. Each of the opportunities below include the theme of Innovations in the field of cultural heritage. These opportunities are open to French and Italian students, professors, and researchers, as well as individuals from several other European countries (just in the case of the France Excellence Europa) who are interested in studying and/or working in France and Italy.