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Trevi Fountain regains sparkle after precision cleaning with GMA Garnet

Four years ago, Italy’s Trevi Fountain - one of the world’s most famous fountains was closed for restoration for 17 months. 

The 18th century Baroque monument was in a critical condition due to microbiological and biological attacks, corrosion from the fountain, rainfalls and wind as well as black encrustations from layers of dust, topsoil and dirt. 

Moreover, the basin and cliff were scarred by visitors leaving behind engravings, graffiti and chewing gum.

The scope of the project comprised of the restoration of travertine and marble surfaces where micro-air-abrasion equipment by IBIX was used to remove thick deposits (black incrustations) and limestone encrustations from the cliff. 

“The cleaning process was a very delicate phase of the conservation work. The lack of careful calibration could cause irreparable damages to the fountain,” said Chief Executive Caterina Giovannini from IBIX. Using the Helix 9 and GMA PrecisionBlast™ garnet as the abrasive media, the surface cleaning was carried out at low pressure starting from 0.2 bar.

The HELIX system consists of a special operating gun which significantly reduces the flow of compressed air while covering a wider cleaning area. The high performance equipment provides maximum protection for the valuable surface patinas and historic coatings of precious artefacts. 

“We prefer GMA PrecisionBlast™ garnet for its effective performance especially when we had to work with very low operating pressure valves,” Caterina said. 

“Moreover, GMA products are natural, chemically inert with no toxic metals – a safe choice for the monument,  our workers on site and the general public.” 

The restoration work began in June 2014 and was completed in November 2015. Recorded as the most thorough restoration in the fountain’s history, the 2.2 million-euro project was funded by Italian fashion company Fendi.

By Stephanie Cheong, Perth