The stretches of wall, the city gates and the towers on which the inspection and monitoring work was carried out, constitute what remains of the Florentine circle of walls which, after having undergone numerous modifications and stratifications, was almost entirely demolished in the mid-19th century in view of the construction of the boulevards.
The activities of surveillance and maintenance of these architectural elements consist in analyzing the state of preservation of the artifacts; performing primary maintenance operations such as the removal of weeds, cleaning of clogged drains, replacement of inefficient windows, etc., reporting situations of degradation in progress before they can represent a danger, and intervening on dangerous elements through safety operations.
The research work on the city walls included the following phases:
- Preliminary phase: description of the monument, historical context, understanding of its origin and existence in urban development, identification of previous restorations.
- Mapping and recognition of the object: photographic documentation, also by aerial platform, evaluation of the state of preservation, causes of degradation and cataloging of the necessary interventions.
- Interventions of restoration: removal of the infesting vegetation and consequent restoration of the masonry, sealing of cracks through infiltrations of lime mortar, reattachment of detachment elements, possible replacement or repair of inefficient elements, cleaning of the drainage channels, photographic documentation before, during, and after the execution of the intervention. Removal and graphic and photographic cataloging of large portions of detachment stone material (where present) so that in a subsequent phase they may undergo cleaning operations and reattachment to the wall support through brackets or pins.
- Drafting of the monitoring sheet: compilation of a form in which to insert the description of the state of affairs, of the found degradations and of their causes; questionnaires of verification on the conditions of the manufactured article; report of the interventions performed; conclusions and proposals for successive interventions, all accompanied by the graphic and photographic documentation collected during the inspection.
The surveilling of architectural monuments, including fortifications as already mentioned, occupy a special place for their functional and historical specificity. It helps to prevent the need for serious restoration work and to maintain a satisfactory aesthetic appearance of the monuments.
Such an approach makes visible the problems of conservation and restoration of the object in a complex way, and also determines the direction of its enhancement in the infrastructure of the modern city, tourist and leisure routes, as integral elements of the aesthetics of the urban environment and its historical value.