Characterization of the Santa Maria del Fiore cupola construction tools using X-ray fluorescence


  • Leila Es Sebar
  • Leonardo Iannucci Politecnico di Torino - Dipartimento di Scienza Applicata e Tecnologia
  • Sabrina Grassini
  • Emma Angelini
  • Marco Parvis
  • Andrea Bernardoni
  • Alexander Neuwahl
  • Rita Filardi



This paper presents the characterization of different tools employed in the construction of the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence; they are part of the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore collection and are currently exhibited in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. The analysed objects are turnbuckles, pulleys, three-legged lewises, and pincers; indeed, despite their uniqueness and their importance from the historical point of view, this study is the first one that investigates their alloys composition. Actually, this information can be of great interest for curators to find the best conservation strategies and to have new insights on the production techniques typical of the Renaissance. The study was performed using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) in order to identify the materials constituting the objects. Then, XRF spectra were analysed using chemometric techniques, namely Principal Components Analysis (PCA), in order to investigate possible similarities among different alloys and thus provide new indications to help collocating these tools in a specific historical period.

Author Biography

Leonardo Iannucci, Politecnico di Torino - Dipartimento di Scienza Applicata e Tecnologia

Leonardo Iannucci was born in Italy, in 1992. He is currently a research fellow at the Department of Applied Science and Technology, Politecnico di Torino, Italy. He is also visiting researcher at the Integrated Circuits Laboratory (ICLAB), Institute of Microengineering (IMT), EPFL site of Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
He got the M.S. degree in Materials Engineering in 2016 and then in 2019 he received the PhD in Metrology cum laude from Politecnico di Torino. In 2018 he spent a research period at the Laboratoire de Génie Chimique, INP-ENSIACET, Toulouse, France, thanks to the EuroCorr Young Scientist Grant of the European Federation of Corrosion. He has been chair of the Politecnico di Torino IEEE Student Branch, in the period 2017-2019, and won the 2019 IEEE Italy Section ‘Exemplary Student Branch Award’ and the IEEE Regional Exemplary Student Branch Award, presented by IEEE Region 8.
He was member of the Local arrangement Committee of IEEE MeMeA2020 conference and member of the I2MTC Technical Program Committee, 2018-2020.
His main research fields are measurement and instrumentation, corrosion science, electrochemical measurements and materials characterization.






Research Papers