Monday, November 09, 2009

Gotta watch out for those old houses...

Only in Italy: Sleeping With Raphael
I almost had a heart attack," said pensioner Tarcisio De Paolis, recalling his shock on discovering faithful copies of some of Raphael's most famous frescoes in his bedroom.

De Paolis came across the paintings after deciding to add a bathroom in the apartment, which partly extends into an abandoned medieval tower that was thought to have been part of a military fort in Civitavecchia, a port west of Rome.

When De Paolis began removing plaster from the wall in the apartment, "First I came across Saint Peter's sword, then his hand and arm," he said.

Bit by bit, De Paolis uncovered copies of the frescoes in Raphael's Room of Heliodorus at the Vatican Museums, thought to have been painted by a contemporary student of the Renaissance master, Ugo da Scarpi, best known for his wood carvings.

Yeah, those renovation projects can be dicey in countries where an "old house" is dated in millenia rather than in decades. I rather doubt we're going to uncover any art when we start peeling off all this ghastly ugly wallpaper in my hundred-plus-year-old house. I might, however, decide to leave some behind, just for someone else to find someday.

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