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This text is based on notes and sketches prepared for an undergraduate course titled "Chemistry of the Environment and of Cultural Property," which Giorgio Torraca taught at the "Valle Giulia" Faculty of Architecture, University of Rome "La Sapienza," from 2001 to 2004. The lecture notes were published in 2002 by the Scuola di Specializzazione in Restauro dei Monumenti, which kindly allowed the use of the material for an English version. The English text is not truly a translation because Torraca's intent was to find equivalent ways to express the concepts in a new language and not to translate the words; furthermore, several parts have been revised and some completely rewritten.