THE “CARA VALLE” ABBEY AND ITS REFECTORY
The Refectory of Chiaravalle abbey, still in use today, is a masonry building (with bricks that are not common in size), vaulted and characterized by complex stratifications that required careful cognitive analysis of the documentary sources, structural and physical analysis to be understood. To this aim, an accurate 3D laser scanner and photogrammetric survey was carried out during last years in order to obtain geometric information on the building and its complex elements, in scale 1 : 50. Those data were also fundamental to support the mapping of the different construction phases, the transformations and the dated additions, to be compared to the archive, iconographic and photographic documents. A canal derived from the Vettabbia, which served to move the blades of the mill (now reactivated), flows right under the Refectory causing the usual phenomena of degradation. Saint Bernard had chosen this place because it was rich both in water, and therefore highly productive, and in clayey soil, which allowed the construction of the buildings of the abbey. However, today the strongly compromised irrigation and water regulation system (especially after the construction, in 2003, of the large purifier in Milano Nosedo) represents the main factor of degradation for all the buildings of the monastic complex, in particular for the Refectory.The purpose of this paper is to present the main results of the studies and surveys conducted on the Chiaravalle abbey in the last ten years, focusing in particular on the Refectory.