The Watch

Terra del Sole Prison Cells

Castrocaro Terme e Terra del Sole, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

1998 World Monuments Watch

Prisoners confined to Terra del Sole's nine cells passed time carving messages into the walls or rendering scenes of the city visible through their window bars. Prison officials added their own propaganda inscriptions. The resulting graffiti, dating from 1564, act as an informal and candid record of prison life in Renaissance Terra del Sole, a fortified ducal city that served as both war machine and administrative center on the frontier of Florentine Romagna. The efficiency of the city's commissioners, all of whom were appointed by the grand duke, is reflected in the archive they maintained of criminal and civic cases. More than 2,000 volumes document court cases that came before them between 1490 and the tribunal reforms of 1780. Continued restoration of the archive Contents is needed, as well as measures to preserve the graffiti. Inscriptions have begun to erode from visitors brushing up against them, excessive carbon dioxide produced by visitors, hot lights, and modern graffiti.

Since the Watch

Following Watch listing in 1998 the historic graffiti was photographed, emergency structural repairs were undertaken, and exterior sculptural elements were restored. January 2011

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