Coat of arms in calc-tufa stone (XVIII century.?)
The coat of arms was placed on the keystone of the portal that framed the entrance of Palazzo Ranieri, an ancient aristocratic residence with exposed stone walls. Built in the heart of the old town at the end of XVIII century, the Palace is currently owned by the Regional Council of Calabria and is under restoration to become a public housing building. In order to ensure a greater protection of the asset and to avoid accidental defacing during the renovation works, the coat of arms was removed from its location as a precaution, then kept at the Museum where it was added, according to contextual criteria, in the new exhibition of works of art that have been recently found in the old town. In the past, the coat of arms were routinely used by families to show off and celebrate silently their privileges and their position in the social strata. In the present case, because of the total lack of literature on local heraldry and the poor legibility of the symbols on the coat of arms that were deteriorated by time, it is not possible to determine with certainty if it belonged to the Ranieri family. The style and the material suggest that the coat of arms and the portal were more likely created by stonemasons from Fuscaldo, a nearby village. These artisans were well known for their ability to work the calc-tufa stone, extracted directly from local quarries: they gave birth in the past, especially during the Baroque age, to a key decorative component of the architectural language of Calabria. The Laboratory of Restoration of the Museum performed some dry cleaning and various measures of consolidation on the material.