Italian Artistic Restoration Summer Course


Program Description

Italy has an artistic and historical heritage of outstanding importance, covering a very long period of time, and which has often conditioned the art of other countries. This system of monuments, churches, and museums represents a point of reference for anyone involved or interested in the world of art. Valorising and making these assets available requires the intervention of professionals who can boast a training in which the historical and artistic knowledge is balanced with technical and scientific skills as well as high operational skills.

Through the two-week summer course that Accademia di Belle Arti 'Aldo Galli' offers, you have the opportunity to learn how to give new life to paintings on canvas and on wood, according to the criteria of contemporary restoration.

Schedule: The course of study lasts 2 weeks for a total of 60 hours. Lessons take place from Monday to Friday, part-time, both morning and afternoon.

Target: The course is designed for high school graduates, university students, or professionals from other fields, who want to deepen or approach the Italian tradition of restoration of cultural heritage and wish to learn the basic notions and techniques, or experiment with new ones.

Methodology and structure

The course, conceived as a traditional restoration workshop, is characterized by an immediate approach to practical work in the laboratory where, under the guidance of our teachers, you manually experiment with the basic techniques of restoration and conservation of paintings on canvas and on wood, intervening on artifacts provided by the school. The theoretical notions are addressed during practical work.

Under the guidance of our expert teachers, you acquire the fundamental skills to approach the analysis of the works in a correct way, the main intervention techniques linked to the Italian tradition of restoration, the tools, and the appropriate scientific language.

By the end of the course, characterized as a restoration workshop, you will have learned the basics to map out basic restoration and conservation interventions on artworks and artifacts.

Structural Restoration - The first week is dedicated to the structural problems of the paintings, such as 1) consolidation, lining, reduction of tears and small inlays as regards the paintings on canvas; 2) panel paintings consolidation, insect infestation (wood can be a food source or a nesting place for a variety of insects such as wood-boring beetles, termites, and grubs), the reduction of bubbles in the pictorial film, etc.

Aesthetic Restoration - The second week is dedicated to the aesthetic restoration, both imitative and with chromatic selection (through the study of the color, the style of the work, and the intervention techniques).

The site visits to Basilica di Sant’Abbondio, Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta (Duomo), Chiesa San Fedele, Pinacoteca Civica (Como), Isola Comacina, la Villa del Balbianello (Lenno) and Santa Tecla and San Giovanni (Torno) churches represents an important method of learning as well as a cultural enrichment.

Study Plan

Structural Restoration

Study of the easel paintings

The first step consists in the in-depth study of the painting and the definition of its problems, in order to establish the necessary intervention for its restoration and future conservation. In this phase, you learn about the most common types and causes of degradation of the paintings. Then the course moves on to the protection of the pictorial film by means of glazing, an indispensable operation both on paintings on canvas and on wood.

Supports Restoration

The next step consists in the restoration of the supports. Lining, Streep lining, suturing of cuts and abrasions, consolidation of the paint with regard to paintings on canvas using the vacuum technique; consolidation and reclamation of the wood part from insect attack and solutions for paint adhesion loss for panel paintings.


Basic knowledge of chemistry will be acquired through the cleaning phase, in order to allow you to comprehend the criteria for choosing the solvents and their use. Given the complexity of the cleaning operations, you will act on limited parts of the painting. Once the cleaning has been completed, the missing parts are plastered with a spatula for the paintings on canvas and with a brush for those on wood.

Aesthetic Restoration​


Nods on gilding both in gouache and on a mission. The teacher will show you (on previously prepared tablets) the various phases of gilding according to the Italian Renaissance system. You will be able to use both real and fake gold.


Notes on the theory of colors. Exhibition of colors useful for the restoration and preparation of palettes.

Painting integration

You acquire the pictorial retouching method in tempera with finishes with varnish colors.


Illustration of natural and synthetic paints and their use.


Fabio Bernabei

In 1977 he joined the restoration studio of paintings led by Prof. Silvio Di Volo in Florence. He opened his own studio in 1983. He works for important antique dealers, collectors, and religious institutions both in Italy and abroad. He has taught at the Professional Training School of the Province of Siena. He has collaborated with the Local Health Authority for the inclusion in the labor market of people with psychological problems through art therapy. Over the years he has developed high skills in the restoration of fourteenth-century tables and then specialized in the restoration of paintings of the second Italian nineteenth century. He also created, using old techniques, some altarpieces for religious institutions.

Last updated Aug 2020

About the School

Universally acknowledged for its great quality in manufacturing textiles – especially silk — this lakefront city was the epicenter of last century artistic and architectural avantgardes. A cultural in ... Read More

Universally acknowledged for its great quality in manufacturing textiles – especially silk — this lakefront city was the epicenter of last century artistic and architectural avantgardes. A cultural institution that is the pride of this city and one of Italy's finest schools of restoration, the Galli Academy joined the IED Group in 2009. Read less