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
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.
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
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.
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
Article 4. It is essential to the
conservation of monuments that they be maintained on a permanent
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.
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
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
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
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 evidence.
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 in 1956.
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 its meaning.
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
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.