IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE - The information on this site is subject to a disclaimer and a copyright notice
Europa  > European Commission  > Research > Special Feature 

European Research Area


Research Programmes

New framework programme
5th framework programme
Frequently Asked Questions
4th framework programme

Why European  Research?

What's new?



Useful Links



Special Feature

European Union supports the protection of Europe's cultural heritage


Brussels, 19 October 2001

Since 1986, the European Commission has been running the world's biggest research programme dedicated to protecting cultural heritage against environmental deterioration.

In Venice, on 9 October 2001, the European Commission presented three of the programme's projects to the media. (see press release of 5 October 2001).

Assisi's basilica: ISTECH project

Type of reinforcement - ISTECH project


David statue in Florence


Venice : ARCHEO project

The ISTECH project is developing a new way of  reinforcing monuments located in areas prone to seismic activity. It uses an alloy of nickel and titanium belonging to the 'shape memory alloy' family, which was originally conceived for aerospace and medical/dental purposes. The new ISTECH tool has been used to improve the stability of Assisi’s basilica and to prevent damage during future earthquakes. The project was  developed by an Italian SME together with the EU’s Joint Research Centre in Ispra and several other research institutions from Italy, Greece and Portugal.
The SAVE ART project deals with a new, 'green' conservation method to preserve old books, textiles and antiquities in an easy, low-cost way. Instead of using toxic chemical compounds that have short and long-term hazards for people, this new tool reduces the amount of oxygen to a minimum level, which kills the insect pests. This new portable tool is also appropriate for domestic works of art, as the users can not only be large libraries or museums but also private collection owners. Two Italian SMEs, together with research centres in Spain, Italy, and the UK, and a Swedish Museum have developed the project jointly .
The ARCHEO project is proving to what extent 'climate change' and 'greenhouse effects' occurred in Venice before this century. By studying Canaletto's  famous - and extremely accurate - paintings, researchers were able to reconstruct the Venice's climate and changing sea levels over the years. The project was developed by research institutions in France, Italy and the UK

The Canaletto part of the Archeo project has been widely reported in the media. Here are some of the articles available on-line:

  • Canaletto paintings to help save Venice
    BCC News
    Experts battling to save Venice from the effects of sinking and the devastating floods are receiving help from an unusual quarter. ...
  • Tidemarks Canaletto helps Venice fight floods
    The Guardian, Rory Carroll in Rome (Thursday February 15, 2001)

    Canaletto's 18th century paintings immortalised Venice as perhaps the most beautiful city in the world. Their exquisite precision may now help to save it. ..."
  • Artwork Documents Sinking Venice
    By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News, Feb. 26, 2001
    "While scrutinizing Canaletto's masterpieces, Dario Camuffo, a Padua-based scientist working for the Italian National Research Council, noticed that Canaletto's famous "vedute" (views) include the lines of green scum formed by algae left on canal-side buildings by retreating high tides. ..."
  • Cuadros de Canaletto al rescate de Venecia
    Viernes, 16.02.2001 - BBC MUNDO
    "żQuién podrá ayudar a los expertos que luchan por la salvación de Venecia ante los efectos devastadores del hundimiento de la ciudad y las inundaciones?..."
  • Canaletto et la préservation de Venise
    AFP - mercredi 17 octobre 2001, 20h02
    "PARIS, 17 oct (AFP) - Plus de 230 ans aprčs sa mort, le peintre vénitien Canaletto pourrait aider les experts dans leurs efforts pour la préservation de la cité des Doges, selon la revue britannique New Scientist.... "
  • Venise: La derničre utopie
    Piero Piazzano, journaliste italien. Rédacteur en chef de la revue Airone.
    (Courrier de l'UNESCO - septembre 2000)

    "Comment concilier l’équilibre écologique de Venise et les impératifs industriels? L’installation de digues mobiles, trčs contestée, serait-elle la solution? Décision avant 2001. ..."
  • Canaletto segít a tudósoknak
    (SuliNet nyitólap)

    "Velencét ábrázoló festmények segítségével pontosabban meg lehet állapítani, milyen mértékben süllyed Velence – állítja egy olasz kutató. Dario Camuffo, az Olasz Nemzeti Kutató Tanács munkatársa a Canaletto néven ismert Giovanni Antonio Canal XVIII ..."


Here are links to selected articles and other documents on the Commission's research website relating to the protection of cultural heritage in the European Union:




CORDIS web site is also a source of the project information on the protection of cultural heritage in the European Union.


Previous special feature : Cancer in the EU


Press releases I What's new on the Research pages? I TOP Top