Light for Pompeii

Published on Wednesday, 5 July 2017

“I believe that this itinerary of sounds and lights will spread around the world: a postcard that shows a beautiful and contemporary face of Italy, combining development and tradition”

– Carlo Tamburi, Head of Country Italy

The innovative lighting system in Pompeii testifies once again Enel's attention to promoting local communities: “We do a lot of work at a local level to understand what is really needed. It is a way to be close to people and to demonstrate that we care about real and sustainable development.” As regards the artistic lighting, Tamburi announced that, together with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, other projects to promote Italy’s cultural heritage are in the pipeline. “These are very complicated initiatives, both in technological and administrative terms.”


Enel's smart light solutions for Pompeii

Enel Sole is the company of the Enel Group specialised in innovative solutions, with LED and smart technologies for road and public lighting, but with a consolidated know-how even in the field of artistic lighting. “The project in Pompeii is part of the experience gained in 17 years of activity, through more than a thousand interventions on monuments and museums in Italy and abroad," explained Emanuele Sguazzi, Head of Solutions for Large Customers and Public Administrations, Enel Italy Market. He pointed out, “In Pompeii we overhauled the system that had been installed in 2000 by Enel, using a brand new technology. It is a system that combines energy efficiency, beauty and the opportunity to enhance a fascinating and unique tour. It is a journey that opens a living window on the city of Pompeii, before the eruption in 79 AD. It is the result of long work, made of reports, mediation and continuous cooperation between Enel, the Superintendence, the CNR and the Ministry and that made it possible to put together a winning team to bring Pompeii back to life by night,” noted Sguazzi.

The relamping, as it is called in technical jargon, provided for the replacement of all the old halogen lamps with LED devices, cutting power consumption from 55 KW to 11 KW. The introduction of control systems, also thanks to the modernization of a part of the power lines in the area, has allowed the installation of a modern automation system through which it is possible to control the entire system remotely and adjust the light intensity of each of the 432 light points of the itinerary and to integrate sounds, noise and video perfectly.

The itinerary was created by a team of about ten people, including technicians, engineers and architects. All Enel Sole employees: “We did everything in house, because we have the skills and resources to do it,” stressed Sguazzi.


Light tells a story

“From the very beginning, the objective was to open the site at night as if it were a museum. In this context, the integration of the lighting system with sound and images aims to transform the experience of the visit into a narrative: as if the walls could tell about the ancient city through the dialogues of those who worked and lived there. The story of Pompeii as a living place,” added Francesca Migliorato, Head of the artistic lighting division at Enel Sole. “The video that concludes the itinerary in the Basilica shows the architectures and the paintings of the villas and Pompeian red; it tells the story of the relationship of the city’s inhabitants with the environment.”

The itinerary “A night in Pompeii” goes from Porta Marina of the ancient city, winds from Via Marina to the Forum, the centre of civil and religious life in the ancient city, then enters the market, continues to the basilica and reaches the Antiquarium, where a permanent exhibition features a diorama and virtual reconstructions showing how the city was organised.

An ethereal journey in history and art, made more evocative by the light that is able to tell a story and highlight, bringing the mystery of a lost time out from the dark.

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