The Holy Face in Lucca: A Major Conservation Project



JULY 17, 2023

Diagnostic Campaign and Beginning of the Restoration of the Volto Santo in Lucca

A conference in September will present information from the current investigations, thanks to which it will be possible to plan the next phases of the restoration of the crucifix, funded by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca

This restoration of the Volto Santo, the first undertaken in the modern era, is primarily dedicated to the conservation of an artwork across the millennia. It is simultaneously an extraordinary occasion, as is always the case with projects of this importance and complexity, to seek to unravel the intricate historical and material context… Read the entire press release attached below

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DECEMBER 1, 2022

Volto Santo Move is Completed

The venerated crucifix is now in the conservation laboratory in the transept of the cathedral

The delicate process of moving the Volto Santo was completed successfully at 12:30 pm on Thursday, December 1, 2022. The sculpture was brought from the Tempietto designed by Matteo Civitali, where it has remained for centuries, to the restoration laboratory specially established for this project in the north transept of the cathedral. The sculpture has now been placed horizontally on trestles. Diagnostic analyses of the entire sculpture will begin the following week, followed by a restoration based on this deeper technical understanding of this powerful symbol of the Church and the city of Lucca.

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NOVEMBER 19, 2022

Beginning to Move the Volto Santo

Tomorrow, Thursday, December 1, 2022, at 8 a.m., work will begin to move the Volto Santo from the Tempietto built by Civitali to the specially created restoration laboratory in the north transept of the cathedral.

The church will remain closed both to the faithful and to tourists so as to ensure maximum security

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NOVEMBER 30, 2022

Moving the Volto Santo

The Crucifix will be moved into the restoration laboratory in the transept of the cathedral

Operations to stabilize and protect the Volto Santo have been concluded successfully. All is now ready to begin the delicate process of moving the venerated crucifix from the Tempietto, where it has been preserved for centuries, to the laboratory specially created for the restoration in the transept of the cathedral.

During the entire process of moving the crucifix, access to the church will be prohibited. The cathedral will thus be closed both to the faithful and to tourists from Thursday to Friday, December 1–2, 2022.

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velinatura per evitare distacchi pittorici

OCTOBER 6, 2022

The Second Phase of Restoration of the Volto Santo

During the summer, preparing the laboratory in the north transept of the cathedral

On September 19, 2022, work began as planned to stabilize and protect the Volto Santo inside the Tempietto by Civitali. This included removing some of the additional furnishings of the sculpture, which will also undergo maintenance and restoration. These operations are part of the second phase of work in preparation for transporting the wooden figure from the Tempietto to the laboratory in the north transept of the cathedral, which was prepared over the summer during the first phase of the project.

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smontaggio lesene all’interno del tempietto


September 19, 2022: Beginning the Restoration

Today, September 19, 2022, restoration activity on the Volto Santo began as planned with the initial stages of stabilizing and protecting the crucifix for transportation. The crucifix will be restored in the laboratory prepared in the north transept of the Cathedral of San Martino.


JULY 18, 2022

Restoration of the Volto Santo Begins

Restoration will be done by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure inside the cathedral

Today, July 18, 2022, preparation of a restoration laboratory has begun in the transept of San Martino. This laboratory will be the site of the long-awaited restoration of the Volto Santo, an artwork and sacred icon known around the world. The restoration, entirely financed by the Fondazione CRL, will involve collaboration between the Florentine Opificio delle Pietre Dure, leaders in the conservation and restoration of artworks, and the Soprintendenza ABAP di Lucca and the Ente Chiesa Cattedrale, who established a protocol and created a Promotional Committee and a Scientific Committee to execute this ambitious project of protection, appreciation, and communication. The crucifix will be moved to the laboratory after the Feast of the Holy Cross on September 14.

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