Alessandra Melucco Vaccaro

Born in Rome in 1940, Alessandra Melucco Vaccaro was educated at the University of Rome under the direction of Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli. She excavated an Etruscan sanctuary at Pyrgi and published the black glazed Hellenistic wares. In 1964 she won a scholarship to attend the Scuola Archeologica Italiana di Atene (directed by Doro Levi). In 1965 she married a lawyer, Gianfranco Melucco. From 1970 to 1974 she directed and published the excavations of the Duomo Vecchio di Arezzo and the cemeteries of Chiusi – Arcisa, after which she restored and organized an exhibit, Mostra dei materiali della Tuscia Longobarda nelle raccolte pubbliche toscane in Firenze.

In 1971 Melucco Vaccaro was transferred to Rome with the l’Istituto Centrale del Restauro (ICR), and in 1974 she became the director of the Museo dell’Alto Medioevo. During this time she wrote numerous articles and an important book, I Longobardi in Italia, which is still considered to be a central resource for these studies. Mastering five languages, from 1976 to 1979, she entered politics as a member of the Communist party, and was elected a deputy to the Italian parliament.

From 1979 to 1994 she became expert in conservation and archaeological restoration, particularly of classical marble and bronze monuments. Directing the restoration of multiple significant monuments in Rome, Melucco Vaccaro also restored important monuments in Paestum, Sardegna and the Riace Bronzes in Reggio Calabria. Meanwhile, she was teaching and holding seminars on conservation and restoration throughout Italy in various universities, and became internationally acclaimed. She wrote extensively on stone conservation, architectonic patinas, and paints used on ancient monuments while she was formulating her technological methods and ethical ideas about conservation and restoration. Because of her expertise and scientific initiatives, she was appointed the archaeologist for the Italian Ministry dei Beni Culturali e Ambientali (MBCA), and in 1994 she was the Archeological Director for the l’Ufficio Centrale per i Beni Ambientali e Paesaggistici (UCBAP) del Ministero dei Beni ed Attività Culturali (MBAC), with responsibilities for technical decisions for monuments at risk and for international relations. Among the many positions she held in Italy, additionally, she was active and internationally engaged in UNESCO’s worldwide list of sites with important archaeological patrimony (WHL); she served as the Italian representative to MBAC that piloted AGESA (Atelier de Gestion des Sites Archéologiques), and was the Italian coordinator for PISA (Programmation Intégrée des Sites Archéologiques). Additionally she served as a member on the Bureau du Conseil de la Cooperation Culturelle (BDCC) for the Counsel of Europe, and was the expert for the Consiglio d’Europa for patrimony, as well as for UNESCO; she also served as a consultant for the Center for Conservation of the Getty Foundation.

Melucco Vaccaro is known for her work dedicated to the medieval period, her archaeological conservation and restoration, and for her voice forwarding preservation and maintenance programs for safeguarding cultural patrimony. Her philosophy of using non-invasive methods and minimum intervention for conservation is widely accepted today. Personally she was a humanist; she was intellectual, generous, sensible, and passionate about her profession and personal interests including Italy’s prehistory and cultural patrimony. She died in Rome in 2000, however in 2001, posthumously, President Ciampi conferred the Gold Medal of the Italian Republic on Melucco Vaccaro.

Author of biography: Laura Nicotra
Includes bibliography? Yes

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Keywords: AGESA (Atelier de Gestion des Sites Archéologiques), L’Alto Medioevo, Archeo, Archeologica, Archeologia Greca e Romana, Archeologia Medievale, Archo di Costantino, Archo di Settimio Severo, Atelier de Gestion des Sites Archéologiques (AGESA), Bandinelli, Ranuccio Bianchi, Biblioteca Vallicelliana, Brandi, Cesare, Bronzei di Marco Aurelio a Roma, Bronzi di Riace a Reggio Calabria, Bureau du Conseil de la Cooperation Culturelle (BDCC) del Consiglio d’Europa,“Carta del Rischio del Patrimonio Culturale Italiano”, Cavalli di S. Marco a Venezia, Centre for Conservation della Getty Foundation, Centro Sperimentale di Archeologia Sottomarina (Centro Internazionale di Studi Liguri), Colonne Antonina e Traiana, Colosseo, Conservazione, Consiglio d’Europa per il Patrimonio, Corpus della Scultura Altomedievale, Crispi, Domiziano, Doro Levi, Duomo Vecchio di Arezzo, Etrusco di Pyrgi, Elgin del Partenone, Firenze, Getty Foundation, Gianfranco Melucco, ICCROM,
I Longobardi in Italia, Ipogeo paleocristiano di S. Salvatore di Cabras in Sardegna,
L’Amministrazione delle Antichità e Belle Arti, International Centre for Conservation of Rome (ICCROM), Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana G. Treccani, L’Enciclopedia Medievale, L’Enciclopedia Archeologica, Lista Mondiale del Patrimonio UNESCO (WHL), L’Istituto Centrale del Restauro (ICR), l’Istituto Universitario Suor Orsola Benincasa di Napoli, l’Ufficio Centrale per i Beni Ambientali e Paesaggistici (UCBAP) del Ministero dei Beni ed Attività Culturali (MBAC), Levi, Doro, Lucca, Marco Aurelio,
Marmi Elgin (British Museum), Medaglia d’oro, Melucco, Gianfranco, Museo Archeologico di Firenze, Museo dell’Alto Medioevo, Napoli, Paestum, Parlamento, Partito Comunista Italiano, patine architettoniche, PISA (Programmation Intégrée des Sites Archéologiques), Pompei, Programmation Intégrée des Sites Archéologiques, (PISA), Pyrgi, Reggio Calabria, Restauro, Riace, Roma, Sardegna, Scuola Archeologica Italiana di Atene, Scuola Nazionale di Archeologia, Scuola di Perfezionamento in Archeologia dell’Università Federico II di Napoli, Soprintendente Aggiunto Archeologo presso il Ministero dei Beni Culturali e Ambientali, (MBCA), Soprintendenza Archeologica della Toscana, Tempio di Adriano, Tempio di Saturno, Tempio di Vespasiano nel Foro, Tharros, Tomba del Tuffatore a Paestum, Toscana, UNESCO, Università di Milano, Università di Roma La Sapienza, Vaccaro, Alessandra Melucco, Vaccaro, Emerenziana, Vaccaro, Fausto, Vaccaro, Michelangelo, Venezia.

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Breaking Ground: Pioneering Women Archaeologists
Published by the University of Michigan Press, 2004