Conservator, teacher, and writer Alessandra Melucco Vaccaro passed away in Rome in September 2000 after a long illness.
Alessandra was an esteemed and valued colleague of the staff of the GCI, who contributed in various ways to the work of the Institute. As one of the editors of the GCI's 1996 publication Historical and Philosophical Issues in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage, her very valuable knowledge of modern conservation theory and archaeological conservation helped to shape the form and substance of the book. She was an engaged and thoughtful participant in the 1995 Conference on Conservation of Archaeological Sites in the Mediterranean Region, organized by the GCI and the Getty Museum. She also participated in the initial 1998 California meeting that launched the Institute's research on the values of heritage conservation.
Born in 1940, Alessandra studied classical archaeology at the University of Rome, under the direction of Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli. After her graduation, she joined the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and worked at the Soprintendenza alle Antichità in Florence and in Ostia Antica. From there, she moved on to a position as curator at the Museo dell'Alto Medioevo in Rome.
As the director of the Department of Archaeological Conservation at the Istituto Centrale per il Restauro in Rome from 1979 to 1993, she oversaw numerous conservation projects, including the work done on the Riace bronzes, the equestrian monument of Marcus Aurelius of the Capitolium, the Arch of Constantine, and Trajan's Column.
She went on to teach architectural and archaeological conservation at the University of Venice and at the Istituto Suor Orsola Benincasa in Naples. During her last five years, she directed a section of the Central Office of Cultural and Environmental Heritage of the Ministry of Cultural and Environmental Affairs that dealt with the protection of cultural landscapes and with relationships among international organizations. Through this work, she was very active in organizations such as UNESCO, the World Heritage Center, and the Council of Europe.
Greatly concerned with the conservation of archaeological sites, she was one of the promoters and directors of the Carta del Rischio project (the risk map of cultural heritage) and the EuroMed project, Programmation Integrée des Sites Archéologiques (PISA). During her career, she authored a large number of articles and monographs on issues of archaeological conservation and the protection and management of cultural landscapes. For these and her many other contributions to the field, Alessandra will long be remembered.