Calendar Search
Event Calendar

Visit Home Event Calendar Event Information

Herculaneum: Conserving and Interpreting the Roman Past

Date: Saturday, October 24, 2009
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Getty Villa, Auditorium
Admission: Free; a ticket is required. This event is now sold out.

sold out

The Roman city of Herculaneum lies at the foot of Vesuvius in southern Italy and was buried by the same volcanic eruption of A.D. 79 that covered Pompeii. However, eruptive processes destroyed the two ancient cities in dissimilar ways, leaving different conservation issues for future generations to face.

In this lecture, architect Gionata Rizzi offers a brief survey of the history of excavation and restoration of the ancient city and highlights some of the unique aspects of the site that impact conservation work. Unlike at Pompeii, organic materials—such as wood structural beams—survive at Herculaneum. Furthermore, the eruption of Vesuvius damaged the lower portions of the wall fabric only, leaving many buildings' upper floors intact. This obliged the conservation campaign in the early 20th century to introduce substantial reconstruction into the Roman fabric.

Rizzi also discusses some of the specific challenges he has dealt with as part of his contribution to the Herculaneum Conservation Project in testing new protective structures and architectural elements at a site where respect for the sense of place is needed to guide decision-making.

About Gionata Rizzi
Gionata Rizzi has been involved in the Herculaneum Conservation Project since 2002 as the architect responsible for developing pilot projects and model designs. In 2006, he oversaw the development of experimental shelters aimed at safeguarding the archaeological structures below. The lessons learned from these and other conservation trials are informing the major conservation program underway for the entire site.

Rizzi has taught and lectured widely on architectural restoration throughout Europe and the United States and worked on numerous conservation and restoration projects around the world. As a consultant for UNESCO, the World Monuments Fund, and ICCROM, he has contributed to projects at archaeological sites in France, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Pakistan. Particularly interested in stone restoration, Rizzi planned and oversaw the restoration work on the facade of the Parma Cathedral and is currently involved in a project for sheltering the Piazza Armerina mosaics in Sicily.

Also of Interest
Getty Conservation Institute Herculaneum Project

View of a two-story structure at Herculaneum showing preserved wood beams at top and volcanic destruction below

How to Get Here
The Getty Villa is located at 17985 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, approximately 25 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for directions and parking information.

Event Information by E-Mail
Be the first to know about upcoming lectures, concerts, and exhibitions by signing up for our free e-newsletters. Learn more and sign up now.