Santa Maria di Collemaggio Church (L'Aquila, Italy): Historical reconstruction by non-destructive testing techniques

Stefano Sfarra, Abdelhakim Bendada, Clemente Ibarra-Castanedo, Dario Ambrosini, Domenica Paoletti, Xavier Maldague

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The main goal of this work was the non-destructive testing (NDT) of an ancient fresco (15th century) preserved in the Santa Maria di Collemaggio Church (L'Aquila, Italy) and damaged after the 2009 earthquake. Active infrared thermography (IRT), near-infrared (NIR) reflectography and ultraviolet imaging (UV) were used. In addition, the state of the fresco prior to the earthquake was analyzed by electronic speckle pattern interferometry (ESPI), digital speckle correlation (DSC), raking light, tap, and chemical NDT techniques. The use of these techniques was important for the monitoring of new damages and for a comparison between the results over the years. Square heating thermography (SHT) data were processed using principal component thermography (PCT) and pulsed phase thermography (PPT) algorithms, in order to improve the defects' signature and to reduce the impact of non-uniform heating and emissivity variations due to the painting's pigments. A multi-analysis approach, segmentation operators and a specific data correlation method emphasize the overall study of the fresco. Furthermore, the facade and the high altar area were inspected by passive thermography and ground-penetrating radar (GPR), respectively. In the present case, the combined use of NDT techniques was useful to fill in the gaps in the construction history of the building.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-390
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Architectural Heritage
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Active infrared thermography
  • Church
  • Coin tap test
  • Earthquake
  • Electronic speckle pattern interferometry
  • Fresco
  • Near-infrared reflectography
  • Raking light
  • Segmentation algorithms
  • Speckle decorrelation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Conservation
  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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