Engineering Company

Pio-Clementine Museum and Vatican Museums - Rome

The Vatican Museums were established in the 16th century by Pope Julius II who collected the first group of sculptures placed in the so called “Cortile delle Statue”, today Cortile Ottagono.
The idea of arranging artistic collections in special buildings accessible to the public, namely the Museums and the Papal Galleries, was generated in the 18th century by Pope Clement XIV and Pope Pius VI. It is due to Clement XIV in fact, in 1771, the foundation of the Museum, later named Pio-Clementine Museum, whereas the subsequent enlargements are due to Pope Pius VI, among which the monumental entrance with the Atrio dei Quattro Cancelli and the Scala Simonetti. Within today’s Vatican Museums, the Pio-Clementine Museum today is the biggest museum complex, it accomodates in 12 halls the most important Greek and Roman masterpieces that are guarded in the Vatican State.
The project of rebuilding and adapting the electric installations and special systems, originated from the need to extend to the evening hoursthe opening of some Vatican Museums halls and, particularly of the Pio-Clementine Museum. That determined the necessity of dealing with the ordinary and safety lighting subject for all the museum premises in a systematic and coordinated way, as well as the necessity of planning an automatic management system of the lighting and an absolute uninterruptible power supply system devoted to the electric installations of the emegency lighting.
The ordinary electric lighting of the museum premises was planned considering the preliminary definition of a number or artistic, architectural, technical and normative requirements, pointed out together with the Customer, in order to accurately take into consideration the particular context with the aim to guarantee high enjoyment, protection and security level of the masterpieces and the halls where they are placed, as well as the visitors and operators.
Opengineering project proposal was developed keeping in mind the following characteristics:

  • providing an electric lighting for the museum premises which make the evening visits possible, even when natural light is completely absent;
  • reducing as much as possible the visibility and size of the new lighting fixtures in order to respect and enhance the architectural and artistic characteristics of the halls;
  • ensuring the optimum lighting to the different types of works of art placed in the halls;
  • meeting the minimum lighting engineering requirements provided by the safety rules in force in Italy;
  • finding devices and components which provide an optimum energy balance and reduce as much as possible and simplify the maintenance interventions;
  • providing the minimum necessary lighting during the recurrent controls of the personnel in charge of the museum security;
  • integrating the necessary security and control devices system (fire detection, anti-intrusion, CCTV).

The technical-lighting project, with the aim to meet the above mentioned requirements, aims at setting a number of minimum conditions that are to be respected while planning the system of the relevant halls, and aims at defining the technical and functional characteristics that the devices should have.
Therefore, the lighting engineering proposed solution was different for each hall, according to the architectural, artistic and functional characteristics of each one of them. For all proposed solutions the following criteria are valid. All sources which are used from the chosen fixtures have a high color rendering, with a CRI > 90; Particularly, those for the direct accent lighting will be halogen long life lamps (10.000 h) with a CRI near 100. All the proposed fixtures will have high lumen/W emission sources and long life lamps, in order to curb energy consumption and therefore management and maintenance costs.
As far as safety lighting is concerned, the approved solution keeps into consideration the Administration choice to set under absolute continuity the entire system thus avoiding the double circuits but allowing the power regulation of the secondary circuits. As far as the lighting management automatic system is concerned, the project provides a considerable energy conservation and the reduction of the maintenance costs.
The system in fact, controls the lighting flow of the switched on lamps according to the natural light flow coming from the outside, it also regulates the lighting so that it is always possible to have the required value of brightness for the controlled areas (increasing or decreasing the light flow radiated from the lamps). The system, if necessary, can also control the use of the halls by means of 360° sensors, switching off the sensors lighting when the presence of personnel is not detected for a certain time, then switching it on immediately if the personnel is present.
That centralized lights management system enables the management of lighting levels inside every single hall, providing a striking sequence of light scenaries to the visitors. The management and control system will consist of BUS addressable digital modules, that are controlled by a microprocessor control central unit that can be controlled in a centralized way through a touch screen, according to programmable scenaries. In order to support the safety lighting system an absolute uninterruptible power supply system, in compliance with the regulation in force, was planned.
The main difficulty of the museums electric installations, both light and motive power, is the power supply from the normal electric system that is distributed from three separated electric substation; doing so, the service continuity only depends on the availability of such electric system, because there is neither a power supply source from a motor generator (short-break), neither one from UPS (no-break).
In order to solve that difficulty and eliminate any dangerous situation caused by possible inefficiencies of the normal electric system, the project included a power supply system divided into normal power supply, and absolute uninterruptible power supply, to which a part of the current lighting system can be connected in such a way as to provide an emergency lighting system that have an autonomy of at least one hour, as provided by the security regulation in force.


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Pio-Clementine Museum and Vatican Museums - Rome


Vatican City - Governorship - Technical Services General Administration



General Coordination of the Project

Ing. Sergio Fusacchia
Ing. Fabrizio Marchi

Technical-lighting Project

Arch. Fabrizio Ventura


Preliminary, Definitive, Executive Planning, for Special Systems and Electric Installations

Task assigned by

Electra Impianti S.r.l.