CONSTRUCTION HISTORY AND DIGITAL HERITAGE. EXPERIMENTATIONS ON RENAISSANCE DOMES IN CAMPANIA (ITALY)
The paper describes an ongoing research project granted by the University of Naples Federico II (2017–2020) concerning masonry domes considered as visual poles in the historic urban landscape and as a constructively vulnerable built heritage. Studies focus on Renaissance domes in Campania region (Naples included) and combine established strategies with innovative ones for the knowledge of visible/invisible parts. Verticals and curved structures are investigated with a unitary approach, together with the pre-reinforcements placed during the construction phases or for later strengthening. These topics deal with issues crucial for the domes’ study: firstly, the overlapping of inner and outer surfaces that hide structural elements and do not enable their comprehension. In addition, we must consider the recurring difficult inspection or inaccessibility due to the big dimensions and heights from the ground. All these factors, together with the fact that decorated surfaces are a limit for the traditional diagnosis, require new investigation strategies – remote and by non-destructive methods – so as to document the invisible both for emerging and for underground parts. A model for knowledge characterized by the interlacement of ‘humanistic’ interpretation and bottom-up/bottom-down surveys is discussed. The understanding of what is invisible to direct inspection is considered a stimulating frontier for proposing innovative dissemination tools for the comprehension of cultural heritage, able to reach new communicative horizons related to the construction of complex forms of architecture. The transposition of the research outcomes into digital “accessible” data aims at having impacts for sharing a broader cultural awareness of the built heritage historical constructive significance.