Santa Maria dei Miracoli is a remarkable church. Not just for its visual splendour (though the bright marble of its walls would not look out of place in Pisa’s Campo dei Miracoli,) but also for the fact that it is here at all.
Only a couple of decades ago the structure was in very poor repair, having already been restored in the 18th Century. The trouble was that the good intentions of that restoration had created additional problems; the mortar they used proved to be corrosive, and also prevented the circulation of air behind the marble slabs which were originally hung on bronze hooks in the original construction. As a result the slabs became waterlogged, and when removed were found to have salt content of around 14%. Weeks of soaking in distilled water was necessary to remove it. A project that was originally envisaged to last for a couple of years took a decade and the raising of millions of Euros in donations.
Santa Maria repays those efforts handsomely.