The city of Chiavari overlooks the Ligurian Sea of the Western Riviera to the east of Genoa. The Chiavari historic centre can be considered one of the best conserved and preserved areas in the district. In fact, its urban and architectural structure is very different from the other towns on the Ligurian Riviera, especially because of the high presence of medieval porticoes along the main street of the historic hub.
In piazza Mazzini, across from the Cittadella, now the Palace of Justice, Chiavari conserves 4 cast iron lamp posts from the Milan foundry Compagnia Continentale, formerly Brunt, famous from the early twentieth century and which, with its high quality products, furnished many squares across Italy.
This type of lamp post was also present in Chiavari in piazza XX Settembre (now Piazza Matteotti) until the early 1900s. The two main squares in the city therefore took on a similar look, each illuminated by four identical, 4-light lamp posts.
With the advent of electric lighting, around the ’30s, the posts were radically modified, raising them with a supplementary column and replacing the lanterns with suspended spheres.
The four lamp posts in Piazza Mazzini, the only ones that survived, were disassembled and taken to the Neri restoration laboratories. Many parts were broken, particularly the bases and columns.
At Neri, all of the castings were carefully sandblasted to allow the disassembly of the individual elements and to highlight the damaged parts.
The bases required an operation to recompose the original forms with welding of the parts that had broken.
The columns, which had already been severely damaged in the past, were reinforced over time with various steel pipes inserted in them to improve the by then compromised mechanical resistance. At Neri, they were freed and given new pipes specifically calculated to guarantee maximum safety and stability.
All of the individual elements recovered after disassembly were counted and, after being cleaned, were re-welded, recomposing the original look of the lamp post.
The operation on the shelves allowed reconstruction of a truly interesting “industrial” history. The shelves are perfectly identical to the ones of the posts restored by Neri in 2000 in Dublin on the O’Connell Bridge in the Irish capital, cast not by the Brunt foundry, but by the French Durenne foundry. But that’s not all: four identical lamp posts were restored by Neri in the late ’90s in Senigallia. This is confirmation of the widespread distribution of this model.
After the mechanical reconstruction operations, all the individual cast iron components were once again sandblasted and puttied in preparation for the painting.
After the puttying, painting by dipping and spraying followed. The end result was surprising.