The present contribution aims to illustrate some first results obtained from ongoing research on a 16th-century masonry sail vault in the Fortezza Vecchia (the Old Fortress) in Livorno (Italy). A multidisciplinary research is currently ongoing. The information collected by means of geometric surveys and experimental tests are being used as input data for the different analytical and numerical models expressly developed to study the vault’s structural response. The structural analysis has been performed using two analytical models set within the framework of limit analysis. The first considers the vault as a thin shell, and suitable sets of statically admissible stresses are built; the second model is a modern reinterpretation of Durand-Claye’s method for domes. As an additional term of comparison, numerical analyses are carried out by means of FE models. The study is still under development, and a first set of results has been obtained by limiting the analysis to vertical loads accounting for the self-weight of the vault and that of the overlying soil layers

Full document

The PDF file did not load properly or your web browser does not support viewing PDF files. Download directly to your device: Download PDF document


[1] Barsi, F., Barsotti, R. and Bennati, S. Equilibrium of masonry sail vaults: the case study of a subterranean vault by Antonio da Sangallo the elder in the “Fortezza Vecchia” in Livorno. Submitted to the XXIV AIMETA Conf., Rome, Italy, 15-19 September 2019.

[2] Aita, D., Barsotti, R. and Bennati, S. Equilibrium analysis of a sail vault in Livorno’s Fortezza Vecchia through a modern re-edition of the stability area method. Submitted to the XXIV AIMETA Conf., Rome, Italy, 15-19 September 2019.

[3] Frattarelli Fischer, L. L’Arcano del mare - Un porto nella prima età globale: Livorno. Pisa (2018).

[4] Vasari, G. Le vite de’ più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori italiani, da Cimabue insino a’ tempi nostri. Firenze: Lorenzo Torrentino (1550).

[5] Ulivieri, D. Fortezza Vecchia in Livorno. Nexus Network J. (2014) 16 (3):675-697.

[6] Bevilacqua, M.G., Caroti, G., Piemonte, A. and Ulivieri, D. Reconstruction of lost architectural volumes by integration of photogrammetry from archive imagery with 3-D models of the status quo. Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XLII2/W9, 119-125, DOI 10.5194/isprs-archives-XLII-2-W9-119-2019 (2019).

[7] Bennati, S., Aita, D., Barsotti, R., Caroti, G., Chellini, G., Piemonte, A., Barsi, F. and Traverso, C., (in press), Survey, experimental tests and mechanical modeling of the dome of Pisa Cathedral: a multidisciplinary study. International Journal of Masonry Research and Innovation.

[8] Durand-Claye, A. Note sur la vérification de la stabilité des voûtes en maçonnerie et sur l’emploi des courbes de pression. Ann. des Ponts et Chaussées (1867) 13:63-93.

[9] Durand-Claye, A. Vérification de la stabilité des voûtes et des arcs. Applications aux voûtes sphériques. Ann. des Ponts et Chaussées (1880) 19 I sem.:416-440.

[10] Aita, D., Barsotti, R. and Bennati, S. A modern reinterpretation of Durand-Claye’s method for the study of equilibrium conditions of masonry domes. Proc. XXIII AIMETA Conf., Salerno, L. Ascione, V. Berardi, L. Feo, F. Fraternali and A. M. Tralli (eds.), Gechi Edizioni, Mediglia (MI), 1459-1471 (2017).

[11] Aita, D., Barsotti, R. and Bennati, S. Looking at the collapse modes of circular and pointed masonry arches through the lens of Durand-Claye's stability area method. Archive of Applied Mechanics (2019) 89 (8):1537-1554.

[12] Aita, D., Barsotti, R. and Bennati, S. A parametric study of masonry domes equilibrium via a revisitation of the Durand-Claye method. Proc. COMPDYN 2019, Crete, Greece, 24-26 June 2019, M. Papadrakakis, M. Fragiadakis (eds.) (2019).

[13] Aita, D., Barsotti, R., Bennati S. Studying the dome of Pisa cathedral via a modern reinterpretation of Durand-Claye’s method, JoMMS (2019) 14(5): 603–619, DOI: 10.2140/jomms.2019.14.603.

Back to Top

Document information

Published on 30/11/21
Submitted on 30/11/21

Volume Interdisciplinary projects and case studies, 2021
DOI: 10.23967/sahc.2021.276
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

Document Score


Views 9
Recommendations 0

Share this document

claim authorship

Are you one of the authors of this document?