by Salvatore La Lota Di Blasi
Livio Nappo and paper and parchment restoration
On the one hand there is visual art, fruit of the genius of painters and sculptors which is kept in museums and then there is another kind of art which lives in silent restoration workshops. This is where the craftwork of skilled masters make an ancient artefact come alive again, enjoying an excellent state of conservation. The restorer Livio Nappo, who works in the recovery of paper and parchment tells us all about it, “To restore,” says Nappo, “does not only mean to preserve an ancient work in paper or parchment but to safeguard its historic value.” Livio Nappo, who graduated from the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence – nowadays an international centre of distinction in the field of restoration – worked hard to create a workshop able to satisfy Tuscan commissioned work and more. An occupation commenced in Florence restoring ancient books, parchments, etchings, 18th century chinoiserie and wall paper. Nappo started working immediately after his graduation in 2009, working for the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation and in 2010 for the Natura Morta Museum of the Medici Villa in Poggio a Caiano; in 2016 he devoted himself to a first important restoration work, the Battaglia di dieci uomini nudi (The Battle of Ten Naked Men) by Antonio del Pollaiolo on behalf of the Marucellian Library; then to paintings and books for the Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici Foundation of Pisa in 2018. Nappo’s is a professional excellence, even known beyond Tuscany: in Turin, in 2017 he restored papyri for the Egyptian Museum, and in Sicily, near Ragusa in 2014, the most ancient deed in parchment of the city of Vittoria. The restoration of Globo Delamarche, exhibited at the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in 2017 is his; also his work is the recovery of ancient, end-of-the-18th-century wall paper in Villa Medici in Fiesole. Livio Nappo also invented an innovative system of mounting and conserving parchments in 2010. “My dream was restore paper articles and I hope to have succeeded,” Nappo concludes. “Times have certainly changed a lot, but together with other collaborators and amongst several difficulties we have managed to set up Ca.Li.Per. Officina, giving way to a job which did not exist before and which has given us unexpected rewards like when we received the Eccellenze Made in Florence award, in 2014 at Villa Viviani”.