Dario Foppoli


The outstanding importance of the Italian heritage buildings is combined with their extraordinary fragility caused by the seismic sensitivity of the national territory. This consideration has been particularly highlighted by the seismic events occurred in the last twenty years (from the earthquake of Umbria in 1997 to the one of Amatrice in 2016): the intensity of these events was not so high, but they caused major damage to historic centres and monumental heritage. Furthermore, the well-established restoration practice, an operation in which the improvement of the seismic behaviour of monumental buildings is framed, is based on the assumption that the structural strengthening of an existing building must take place in accordance with the material consistency and the original structural conception of the artefact.

It is therefore necessary to develop the design path that the Italian Seismic Code for heritage buildings calls the “path of knowledge” in order to collect all the historical, geometric, material and mechanical information that allows to properly identify the structural behaviour of a building. In particular, it is crucial to know the constructive details, the characteristics of the materials and their level of degradation, mainly the ones resulting from the execution of NDT. It is also essential to take into account the artistic importance of monumental buildings, and therefore it is necessary to carefully evaluate the testing techniques applied in compliance with the conservation aspects, especially to reduce even minor alterations that may affect historical surfaces.

The following paper presents the state of art of the Italian experience and discusses some cases history referring to outstanding monuments which exemplify the most common structural issues field, showing how a proper approach through NDT can provide proper solutions to the problems raised.


Born at Tirano – ITALY (1965). Master at Milan Politecnico completed in 1990. For over 20 years my professional activity concerns primarily cultural heritage. Since 2005 I’m technical director of the firm FOPPOLI MORETTA E ASSOCIATI.

Qualified professional for the activity of “Non Destructive Testing on Concrete, R.C. and Masonry Structures” – 3rd level (maximum level).

On the field of surveys, diagnostic, analysis and monitoring I have performed and I am performing  testing on masonry and wooden structures, structural monitoring, modeling and static and seismic assessment of some of the most important buildings of Italian heritage, such as Giotto Bell Tower in Florence, Montecitorio Palace at Rome (Italian House of Parliament), Farnese Palace at Rome (France Embassy), Palladio’s Bridge at Bassano, buildings damaged from the 2012 and 2009 Emilia and L’Aquila earthquake.

On the field of conservation of cultural heritage I have worked for the restoration and structural enhancement of public buildings, archaeological sites, castles, palaces and mansions, churches.

Coordinator of unit: “Cultural heritage” within scientific commission of Italian Association for Non Destructive Testing, Monitoring and Diagnostics (AIPnD). Involved in Italian or UE research activities on the field of preventive and planned conservation and on the field of calibration of new testing techniques for structural application, in partnership with several Italian and European Universities and research Centres. Expert of Technical Cooperation Program of IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) – UN Agency – dealing with “Advancing Non Destructive Testing technologies for the inspection of civil and industrial building”.

Author of papers for conferences, workshops and publications on the following topics: non destructive tests, structural models, monitoring, preventive conservation and valorisation of cultural heritage.