Recent surveys have shown that the main reasons for deterioration in the cloister are due to serious humidity problems that also affect the surrounding buildings.

The damage provoked by dampness is particularly noticeable everywhere in the southern part of the cloister as well as on the west wall of the monastery overlooking Via dei Querceti, where there is a large triangular-shaped patch, the tip of which corresponds to the intersection of the buildings that surround the cloister to the south and west.

The presence of humidity in the structure has led to problems of different types and varying degrees of seriousness. These range from surface deterioration (loss of paint layer, stains, biological attack, etc) to detachment and losses material, mainly pieces of intonaco, but in some cases larger fragments detached from the load-bearing structure (bricks, tufa blocks, etc). The level of humidity generates an unhealthy atmosphere in the closed areas, which is harmful not only for the nuns who live there but also for visitors.

Humidity in the cloister is not due to a single cause but to a combination of various factors which themselves have changed over time. Some parts of the cloister show traces of long-standing humidity such as the patch on the wall facing onto Via dei Querceti which is clearly visible in late nineteenth century photographs, or the damage to the intonaco surfaces which can be seen in Antonio Muñozís photographs.

So at least part of the present-day humidity has fairly ancient origins. However, it should be pointed out that this phenomenon is not an inherent characteristic of the site where the cloister was erected. The problem arose and was aggravated by the chaotic and haphazard way in which the site was developed over the centuries, to which must be added an element of poor architectural design and the sub-standard maintenance of the fresh water supply and waste water disposal systems.











© 1999 Coordination Monica Morbidelli
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