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Cultural heritage buildings and artefacts made of natural stones are subjected to deterioration, due mainly to environmental (chemical, physical, biological) agents or anthropogenic pollutants. These lead to the degradation of the stone, compromising its aesthetic appearance but also its physical integrity. Many products have been developed and used to hinder the effects of decay agents or to restore the stone material.
An innovative and very promising strategy to prevent building materials from soiling and biofouling seems to be the use of TiO2 nanocoatings, because of their ability to photo-decompose pollutants under UV irradiation, their durability and affordable costs.
TiO2-based nanocoatings have been widely applied on many stone materials such as marbles, travertines, dolostones and limestones; however, the efficiency of these coatings in such applications is still debated.
Art objects conservation or historical analysis necessitates a thorough knowledge of the materials used by the artist and during the subsequent changes, their chemical composition and determination of their preservation state. In the case of paintings this requires the ability to correctly identify the pigments that were used for creation or later restoration of the artwork. This is a challenging problem, as the applied method should be non-contact, robust for the wide variety of chemical substances used and straightforward in the interpretation. Recently, the hyperspectral imaging has emerged as a promising measuring methodology for this kind of the artwork analysis; the combination of acquiring spectral information and planar (photography-like) pixel arrangement provides a lot of potential for material characterization. While initial studies of hyperspectral imaging application to art objects analysis are encouraging, the difficulties of working with its multidimensional data are acknowledged; in many cases complex algorithms are required to fully utilize its potential.
In the field of conservation there is a continuous challenge to develop new and sustainable treatments, which have no or a minimal impact on the microstructure of the object. In the conservation of photographs, removal of corrosion products from the surface is a delicate issue; conservators/restorers should choose the most suitable method.
In recent years many activities were conducted to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the First World War (WWI) outbreak.
Among these, the VAST (valorisation of history and landscape) project (http://vast.fbk.eu) was part of the initiatives promoted by the Autonomous Province of Trento (Italy) as a tribute to WWI events in the region. The project was primarily aimed to document and promote, through 3D digitization approaches, ICT technologies and communication material, the memory of sites, theatre of the world conflict. The Trento’s area was under the Austro–Hungarian Empire until the end of WWI and on the border with the Italian Kingdom, so it represented a crucial and bloody war front. It was thus constellated of military fortresses, trenches and tunnels, most of them now ruined and at risk to slowly disappear.