13th Century Frescoes Being Restored in Italy

In Italy, 13th century frescoes in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, which were damaged in a 1997 earthquake and thought to be irreparable, are now being restored with the help of computers.

During the quake, one of the vaults in the upper basilica partially collapsed. The frescoes, one of which is Cimabue's St. Matthew and another "of St. Jerome by an unknown Roman contemporary of Giotto," fell to the floor, some 65 feet below, smashing into roughly 200,000 pieces on the floor.

The pieces were slowly cleaned and identified and data was entered into a computer, which helped sort, catalog and reconstruct the pieces.