Italy is known for its extraordinary artistic and cultural heritage with a network of five thousand museum and archaeological sites and 49 UNESCO “outstanding universal value” sites. These monuments, churches and museums attract tourists that generate about 10 billion euros per year. Our heritage sites are testimony to western culture/civilisation as well as being an extraordinary resource for the country's economy.
Promoting our cultural heritage has led to huge investment in conservation and restoration. The sector, therefore, needs professionals who have comprehensive training in art history (and humanities), technological-scientific subjects and excellent working skills.
Since 1978, the Institute's technicians and teachers, with the involvement of over 2100 graduates, have carried out over 5500 restoration projects in collaboration with public arts authorities and private companies. Thanks to the Institute's ample experience, it has worked on partnership projects in all sectors linked to the restoration of paintings on canvas and wood. All the laboratories are coordinated by one or more sector experts with over 20 years experience.
The Institute organises professional courses issuing the qualification of Technician in Restoration of Cultural Heritage (Collaborator Restorer), approved by the Region of Tuscany in accordance with Law 32/2002 and following the standards approved by the Conference of Italian Regions of 27 October 2011 which decreed the three-year duration of the course with a total of 2700 hours, 60% of which is dedicated to practical activities (of which 60% are certified cultural heritage artefacts).
Term Dates, Contact Hours and Location
1st Year (800 hours)
First Phase (15 January 2020 - 26 June 2020): theory lessons and practical lessons in the laboratories.
Second Phase (29 June 2020 - 24 July 2020): group practical work in the laboratories or on a worksite.
2nd Year (1000 hours, of which 590 are lessons and 410 are internship)
First Phase (05 October 2020 - 01 April 2021) (Easter Holidays 2-11 April 2021): theory lessons and practical lessons in the laboratories.
Second Phase (12 April 2021 - 23 July 2021): individual internship in a company.
3rd Year (900 hours, of which 500 are lessons and 400 are internship)
First Phase (04 October 2021 - 14 April 2022) (Easter Holidays 15-25 April 2022): theory lessons and practical lessons in the laboratories.
Second Phase (26 April 2022 - 30 July 2022): individual internship in a company. Preparation of a presentation book of restoration projects. Final exams.
Lessons are held from Monday to Friday for a total of 28/32 hours per week.
Palazzo Ridolfi, Via Maggio, 13, Florence and laboratories in Via delle Casine 21/r.
History of Art and History of Artistic Techniques
Biology and Climatology
Moving and Handling Works of Art
Tecnology of Materials
Drawing for Restoration
Photography for Cultural Heritage
Degradation Phenomena and Diagnostic Techniques
Consolidation and Structural Restoration of Paintings on Canvas
Conservative Restoration of Wooden Supports
Gilding and Restoration of Polychrome and Gilded Artefacts
Consolidation of Textile Supports and Contemporary Paintings
Cultural Heritage Legislation and Regulations for Restoration
Safety in the Workplace
Students must have a secondary school diploma, or international equivalent.
International qualifications must be accompanied by a declaration of the level attained, with the equivalent Italian qualification.
Courses are held in Italian. International students must have some knowledge of Italian, equivalent to an A2 level in the Common European Framework, which allows them to participate fully in lessons. New students will be asked to sit a language test before the beginning of the course and another language test before admission to the final exams. Language support is available during the course. Please contact the Secretariat for advice about intensive Italian language programmes.
Recognition on Credits
The objective of each training program is increase the level of skills that students already possess.
For this reason, Palazzo Spinelli carries out skills assessments at the beginning of the course in order to determine study credits awards. Students must produce the following documents:
Evidence of qualifications and certificates. Candidates are requested to send copies of all certificates that are relevant to their chosen course.
Curricula details of any post-diploma and/or post-graduate courses completed in the subjects that also appear in Palazzo Spinelli's course programs.
Verification of requirements for credits are validated and recorded by an external Evaluation Committee. The Committee is based in Florence and chaired by an external member selected from an approved list supplied by the Tuscany Region to guarantee the fairness and transparency of the checks.
If the Evaluation Committee approves the credits recognition request, the student will be excused from attending the course units pertaining to their request. A fee reduction is calculated based on the number of credits awarded.
The exams take place at the end of the three-year course.
The Exam Commission has 4 members: a teacher or employee of the Institute, a member designated by the trade associations, a representative from the public arts authorities, a President appointed by the Tuscany Region.
The Institute for Art and Restoration is part of the Regional Training System that has accredited our courses since 1980 (Delibera Provincia di Firenze n. 1881 of 12.06.1980 and later versions, up to the current decree n° 2347 of 27 June 2013). Accreditation is issued by the Provincia di Firenze according to art 17 comma 1 lett.b della L.R. 32/2002. The Institute is accredited by the Tuscany Region with decree n. 1722 of 25 March 2003 and later versions. Accreditation code n. FI0269.