Synopses & Reviews
Seconds before the first shock of the devastating earthquake that rocked the central Italian town of Assisi on September 26, 1997, Ghigo Roli completed photographing the interior of the Upper Basilica of St. Francis. He had been working for months on detailed pictures of the vault and its precious Medieval frescoes. Just as he stepped outside into the early morning air, at 2:30 AM, the earth shook beneath him. When it stopped, he ran back inside and found his camera miraculously intact amid the terrible destruction.
Later that day, Roli found himself outside the church, helping technicians, caretakers, and art officials asses the extent of the damage. Their work was tragically interrupted by a second, enormous quake, which caused the deaths of four people and the final collapse of the vault. Again, Roli and his camera survived.
Ghigo Roli's brilliant photographs, reproduced here in large, lush colorplates, were commissioned as a celebration of the St. Francis of Assisi Basilica. They are the most detailed and faithful pictures ever taken of its incomparable frescoes, which are considered the most extensive and interesting of the middle ages. Now, his photographs must serve as evidence and invaluable documentation for the long, painstaking restoration and reconstruction that lies ahead.
Roli's work is accompanied here by several photographs taken immediately after the destruction and an introduction by art historian Giorgio Bonsanti, who describes the vault and its frescoes in detail. This volume will stand as a tribute to the glory of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, one of the world's great art treasures.