The Documentation for the Preservation of Great Decorations in “Quadratura” in Noble Palaces of Pontremoli (Italy)

The Documentation for the Preservation of Great Decorations in “Quadratura” in Noble Palaces of Pontremoli (Italy)

Stefano Bertocci (University of Florence, Italy) and Monica Bercigli (University of Florence, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6936-7.ch004


The themes of conservation and dissemination of heritage, both tangible and intangible, are actually central in the scientific debate. Modern technologies play a crucial role in the transition into the “digital age” and it is essential to make the best use of their potential. This chapter describes a pipeline, made precisely thanks to well-established previous experiences, which is applied to the case study of the noble palaces of Pontremoli and their decorations in “quadrature.” It is illustrated how starting from the data of digital survey it is possible to construct and realize a virtual world in the form of a “videogame,” which is useful as a tool for easier disclosure of cultural heritage.
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The rapid evolution of technology in recent decades has greatly moved the attention of the scientific community of the field of drawings towards aspects of Research that pay attention to new problems. Databases derived from 3D digital survey represent a very rich source for the documentation and knowledge of artifacts but currently require an in-depth analysis.

In particular, rules, survey methodologies and guidelines must be established for their correct acquisition.

A further problem is about the preservation of original data, also for the purpose of creating functional databases, or for the potential use and dissemination of information.

Principles must be shared for the validation of information and data collected and at the same time databases must be built to protect this heritage, so that it can be consulted and used by anyone who needs it.

For this purpose, during previous years, methodological reference systems, papers and documents were developed1, discussed and shared by specialists and scholars in the field of architecture, such as the “European Charter of Architectural Heritage”2 (1975) or, with regard to specific concepts of digitization, the “Charter on the conservation of Digital Heritage”3 (2003).

Tools actually available for architectural surveying and graphic representation are affordable by everyone, as far as costs and availability are concerned. The critical point for the control of the quality of scientific production and for the correct and effective dissemination of products is the “handbooks” drafting and the delineation of shared methodological procedures for obtaining satisfactory results.

Furthermore, the London Charter updated version of 20094 proposed to define objectives and principles related to the use of “…computer-based visualisation methods in relation to intellectual integrity, reliability, documentation, sustainability and access.” (London Charter, 2009, Introduction)

It sets some principles that ensure how “…digital heritage visualisation is, and is seen to be, at least as intellectually and technically rigorous as longer established cultural heritage research and communication methods. At the same time, such principles must reflect the distinctive properties of computer-based visualization technologies and methods.” (London Charter, 2009, Introduction). Guidelines that should be followed by researchers are also described, to ensure that people and community, whether academic or educational, can understand, evaluate and then apply and use proposed methods.

On the basis of different research fields, however, diversified methodologies must be adopted, as “a computer-based visualization method should normally be used only when it is the most appropriate available method for that purpose” and “it should not be assumed that computer-based visualization is the most appropriate means of addressing all cultural heritage research or communication aims.” (London Charter, 2009).

Today, various tools are available for the dissemination and use of Cultural Heritage, both material and immaterial, and these concern, especially in our field, with the virtual reconstruction of architecture or artefacts. The construction of 3D models through different software, and their migration on online platforms and mobile devices, offers the opportunity to generate highly immersive “virtual worlds” where it is possible to reach a high level of realism.

However, it is necessary to choose right and most suitable tools for graphical representation based on the needs and final aim of the work or research project.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Non-Manifold Edges: In general, a geometry is non-manifold if it doesn't form a single figure. For examples the edges that don't constitute a face, vertices that don't constitute a face, two solid connected at an edge or at a vertex only.

Script: In computer language, a script is a program or sequence of instructions that is interpreted or completed by another program. A sequence of instruction can activate a multimedial sequence of event, like activate a sound, a text and so on.

Remesh: The “remesh” operation again calculates the mesh of the polygons to obtain a uniform tessellation and a smoother mesh of the original. It’s possible to choose the “target edge length” to make it more or less dense, in order to have a low-poly or a high-poly mesh.

Unrolling: Process of “unrolling” of the vaulted surfaces through which a two-dimensional drawing of the surfaces is obtained. The surfaces with double curvature cannot be developed.

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