Imbued with a message from the past, the
historic monuments of generations of people remain to the present day
as living witnesses of their age-old traditions. People are becoming more
and more conscious of the unity of human values and regard ancient monuments
as a common heritage. The common responsibility to safeguard them for
future generations is recognized. It is our duty to hand them on in the
full richness of their authenticity.
It is essential that the principles guiding
the preservation and restoration of ancient buildings should be agreed
and be laid down on an international basis, with each country being responsible
for applying the plan within the framework of its own culture and traditions.
By defining these basic principles for the
first time, the Athens Charter of 1931 contributed towards the development
of an extensive international movement which has assumed concrete form
in national documents, in the work of ICOM and UNESCO and in the establishment
by the latter of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation
and the Restoration of Cultural Property. Increasing awareness and critical
study have been brought to bear on problems which have continually become
more complex and varied; now the time has come to examine the Charter
afresh in order to make a thorough study of the principles involved and
to enlarge its scope in a new document.
Accordingly, the IInd International Congress
of Architects and Technicians of Historic Monuments, which met in Venice
from May 25th to 31st 1964, approved the following text:
ARTICLE 1. The concept of an historic monument embraces not only
the single architectural work but also the urban or rural setting in which
is found the evidence of a particular civilization, a significant development
or an historic event. This applies not only to great works of art but
also to more modest works of the past which have acquired cultural significance
with the passing of time.
ARTICLE 2. The conservation and restoration of monuments must have
recourse to all the sciences and techniques which can contribute to
the study and safeguarding of the architectural heritage.
ARTICLE 3. The intention in conserving and restoring monuments
is to safeguard them no less as works of art than as historical evidence.
ARTICLE 4. It is essential to the conservation of monuments that they
be maintained on a permanent basis.
ARTICLE 5. The conservation of monuments is always facilitated by making
use of them for some socially useful purpose. Such use is therefore
desirable but it must not change the lay-out or decoration of the building.
It is within these limits only that modifications demanded by a change
of function should be envisaged and may be permitted.
ARTICLE 6. The conservation of a monument implies preserving a setting
which is not out of scale. Wherever the traditional setting exists,
it must be kept. No new construction, demolition or modification which
would alter the relations of mass and color must be allowed.
ARTICLE 7. A monument is inseparable from the history to which
it bears witness and from the setting in which it occurs. The moving
of all or part of a monument cannot be allowed except where the safeguarding
of that monument demands it or where it is justified by national or international
interest of paramount importance.
ARTICLE 8. Items of sculpture, painting or decoration which form an
integral part of a monument may only be removed from it if this is
the sole means of ensuring their preservation.
ARTICLE 9. The process of restoration is a highly specialized operation.
Its aim is to preserve and reveal the aesthetic and historic value of
the monument and is based on respect for original material and authentic
documents. It must stop at the point where conjecture begins, and in this
case moreover any extra work which is indispensable must be distinct from
the architectural composition and must bear a contemporary stamp. The
restoration in any case must be preceded and followed by an archaeological
and historical study of the monument.
ARTICLE 10. Where traditional techniques prove inadequate, the
consolidation of a monument can be achieved by the use of any modem technique
for conservation and construction, the efficacy of which has been shown
by scientific data and proved by experience.
ARTICLE 11. The valid contributions of all periods to the building
of a monument must be respected, since unity of style is not
the aim of a restoration. When a building includes the superimposed work
of different periods, the revealing of the underlying state can only be
justified in exceptional circumstances and when what is removed is of
little interest and the material which is brought to light is of great
historical, archaeological or aesthetic value, and its state of preservation
good enough to justify the action. Evaluation of the importance of the
elements involved and the decision as to what may be destroyed cannot
rest solely on the individual in charge of the work.
ARTICLE 12. Replacements of missing parts must integrate harmoniously
with the whole, but at the same time must be distinguishable from
the original so that restoration does not falsify the artistic or historic
ARTICLE 13. Additions cannot be allowed except in so far as they do
not detract from the interesting parts of the building, its traditional
setting, the balance of its composition and its relation with its surroundings.
ARTICLE 14. The sites of monuments must be the object of special care
in order to safeguard their integrity and ensure that they are cleared
and presented in a seemly manner. The work of conservation and restoration
carried out in such places should be inspired by the principles set forth
in the foregoing articles.
ARTICLE 15. Excavations should be carried out in accordance with scientific
standards and the recommendation defining international principles to
be applied in the case of archaeological excavation adopted by UNESCO
Ruins must be maintained and measures necessary for the permanent conservation
and protection of architectural features and of objects discovered must
be taken. Furthermore, every means must be taken to facilitate the
understanding of the monument and to reveal it without ever distorting
All reconstruction work should however be ruled out "a priori."
Only anastylosis, that is to say, the reassembling of existing but dismembered
parts can be permitted. The material used for integration should always
be recognizable and its use should be the least that will ensure the conservation
of a monument and the reinstatement of its form.
ARTICLE 16. In all works of preservation, restoration or excavation,
there should always be precise documentation in the form of analytical
and critical reports, illustrated with drawings and photographs. Every
stage of the work of clearing, consolidation, rearrangement and integration,
as well as technical and formal features identified during the course
of the work, should be included. This record should be placed in the
archives of a public institution and made available to research workers.
It is recommended that the report should be published.