The rupestrian church was discovered on May 1, 1963 by members of the Circolo La Scaletta of Matera. In 2001, the Zètema Foundation of Matera launched an exemplary, scientifically-based full recovery project of the rock monument with the support of the Central Institute of Restoration.
The Crypt was subjected to one year of bioclimatic monitoring, to check the environmental conditions and photometric measurements in different seasonal periods. geological and geotechnical investigations were carried out to verify the static situations and the cave complex’s security. Work then proceeded to the isolation of the outer covering of the underground space, through implementation of a capillary drainage system for water and the use of “bentonite” coatings.
A complete mapping of the degradation of the vast and diverse pictorial cycle was also performed.
In order to eradicate the micro-bacterial fabric that covered the frescoes, a census of the articulated biological colonization was performed, with diagnostic research on bio-deterioration, and a subsequent selection of the most relevant biocides for the removal of biological coverings.
To enable the restoration of the Crypt of Original Sin, the Foundation launched a Zètema action project, in order to receive funding, such as those of the Council Presidency (8/1000) and bank foundations ("South Development Project" ACRI, as part of Cariplo, the Carisbo and Casse di Vicenza and Vigevano Savings).
Works carried out for the Crypt of Original Sin have allowed for the preservation, restoration and enhancement of an exceptional underground monument, due to its high quality and the extraordinary historical value, constituting a scientific model and reference for the conservation, restoration and the management of large regional and national rupestrian heritage sites.
The conservation project was made possible with the help of the following people and entities:
Vincenzo Dragone, Luigia Di Pede and Cataldo Dragone
Studio SDIA Progetti, Matera – design and management
Doretta Mazzeschi e la C.B.C. coop. r.l., Roma – restoration and conservation of the monument and the pictorial cycle
OCRA s.r.l., Matera – mural conservation
SPACE s.r.l., Matera – Energy & surveillance systems
DART s.n.c. di Silvia Gambardella & c., Roma – crosslinking structures in acrylic
FEAL, Matera – iron framework
Vivai Agribiotecnica s.r.l. F.lli Dichio, Metaponto – supply of trees, shrubs and herbaceous species
Giardini di Marroccoli Giuseppe, Altamura - planting and maintenance of trees, shrubs and herbaceous species
‘La Riuscita’ coop. r.l. , Pomarico – civil engineering and building structures
geom. Michele Cetera – site manager
ing. Ippolito Massari, Roma – microclimate and photometric surveys
arch. Gisella Capponi, I.S.C.R. Roma - design
dr. Elisabetta Giani, I.S.C.R. Roma – physical surveys
dr. Annamaria Giovagnoli, I.S.C.R. Roma – chemical surveys
dr. Maria Pia Nugari, I.S.C.R. Roma – microbiological & botany investigations
dr. Annamaria Petrini, I.S.C.R. Roma – microbiological & botany investigations
Monica Cola e M.C.M. s.r.l., Roma – degradation mapping
prof.ssa Giulia Caneva, Roma - diagnostic research on biodeterioration
Pangea – Naturalisti Associati, Roma – biological, biochemical and biomolecular surveys
Studio Capodilupo – Vizziello, Matera – geological surveys
Studio Colucci - Sacco, Matera – planimetric surveys
Giuseppe Gambetta, Matera – botanical research
Gianfranco Lionetti, Matera – archaeological surveys
Belisario Manicone, Matera – photographic surveys
Antonello Di Gennaro, Matera – photographic documentation
Antonio Trivigno, Irsina – photographic documentation
VideoUno, Matera video documentation
Disbursements for the years 2001 - 2002 by eight per thousand IRPEF paid to the Treasury Management
the CARIPLO Foundation of Milano, the CARISBO of Bologna, the Foundations of Piacenza and Vigevano within the project “Sviluppo Sud dell’ACRI” Zétema Foundation – Matera.