Luigi Maria Villani and Bibiana Bettinotti have been organizing the Practical Courses for the Restoration of Furniture, Frames and Traditional Gilding at the coastal Castle of Santa Severa, near Rome, since May 2005. During these years their’s courses have had great success with many participants who took part completing numerous personal projects of restoration and gilding . Since 2014 courses for the learning the traditional water gilding techniques are on offer by the Societa’ Tarquiniense di Arte e Storia. The formula of the weekly meeting and the comfortable atmosphere that Luigi and Bibiana are able to create, allows the participants complete freedom and knowledge to carry out restoration and gilding work even outside the contest of the courses , many students return for short periods whenever they need to deepen techniques other than those already acquired, sharing their restoration concern with the group and drawing on the experience of the Master.
Luigi Maria Villani collaborated in Italy with Maestro Roberto Saccuman in the restoration of the 16th century wooden choir at San Damiano in Assisi and the portals of the Rocca di Spoleto. In 1996 he was called to restore several gilded frames in the Chiesa di Sant‘ Antonio dei Portoghesi in Rome; there he was then in charge of the Restoration Laboratory for Conservation of Woodwork. Over the years has completed many projects of intricate restoration within Santo Antonio Baroque Church: carved and veneered doors, gates for access to the chapels, gilded frames, candlesticks, Consoles , the High Altar, the Gilded Organ’s facings, the ceilings of the gilded choir, as well as numerous Antique Furniture and frames within the Institute’s rooms and halls. He formed part of the team for the restoration of the Cornices, the Capitals, the Vaults and the Nave of this unique church.
Luigi become an antique restorer in 1983, after serving his time in Rome as apprentice to the Masters Gianluigi Nardi and Carla Tessarolo . In Genazzano, near Rome, he opened his own workshop where he led, as well as other projects for private clients, compelling restorations works for the local church of San Paolo (sixteenth century Crucifixes and Processionary-lamps) and many pieces of furniture and frames for the American Embassy in Rome. In 1986 , he moved to the Scottish Highlands where he started trading as Traditional Antique Restoration. carrying out restoration work on the collections of many castles (Brodie Castle, Cawdor Castle, Dalcross Castle, Cullen House, Balnagown Castle, Cluny Castle), forming his own apprentices, team of employees and professional woodcarvers . During his stay in Scotland he attended courses in conservation, management and business , teaching antique restoration and gilding in evening classes and weekend courses and giving lectures to various cultural and professional associations. In 1993 he obtained the National Certificate for Teaching and Assessing in the Work Place of the City & Guilds of London and was later accredited to meet the standards of the British Antique Furniture Restorers’ Association, meeting their strict evaluation criteria. He‘s often called as a specialist and consultant by Interior Designers and Architects and attended National Fairs and events as well as giving Lectures and Study Days, receiving particular attention from the local and national press in the UK.
Luigi Maria Villani and Bibiana Bettinotti are available for advice and support on restoration, gilding and finishes concerns, they also give classes in Italian language and Spanish .
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