Despite its particular heavy and dated structure, the Duomo of Carpi has resisted the violence of the earthquake without imploding on itself. Like a wounded giant, it immediately revealed its injuries distributed in all its parts, from the walls to the roof, from the vaults to the decorations and, most of all, in all those artifacts that inhabit the Cathedral architecturally, and which capitulated under the blows of the earthquake.
The tambour suffered very serious damage, causing detachments and collapsing which, in turn, damaged the roof and interior. The ribbing behind the facade was damaged by the earthquake, causing the cross on the roof to fall inside the nave; likewise for the stone spheres and other decorations.
The large thicknesses of the walls led to a whole series of damages commonly called “fissures”. Relevant repair work involved “re-stitching” the existing wall fabric with similar bricks, often after dry testing, and the implementation of new walling with reinforcing techniques.
Carbon was used in the consolidation of the vaults, applied on the extrados after smoothing to make the support base uniform. It’s invisible on the noble decorated side and confers high elastic qualities, making it possible to take the added weights.
The restoration project involved the use of technically “reversible” materials and solutions so as to protect the original nature of the work. The work was carried out by expert hands performing traditional processes, repeating the ancient gestures of traditional techniques found throughout our historic centers. They are obviously craft processes requiring great effort and dedication.
Taken from: “Carpi il Duomo ritrovato” by Manuela Rossi (Edizioni APM)