Frescoes adorning the walls of a chapel said to house the "Holy Stairs" climbed by Jesus when he was brought before Pontius Pilate have appeared in their original colors.
The 13-month restoration of the Chapel of St. Sylvester in the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome was unveiled Tuesday, reported AKI. This was the first restoration of these frescoes in 500 years and the second phase of a restoration program for the whole of the Sancta Sanctorum, which houses the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs).
Wooden steps encase white marble steps, which make up, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the staircase once leading to Pilate's headquarters in Jerusalem.
Tradition says the steps were brought to Rome from Jerusalem by St. Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine I, the first Christian emperor. In 1589, Pope Sixtus V relocated the steps to the Sancta Sanctorum, which was built by architect Domenico Fontana to house the steps.
The Los Angeles-based Getty Foundation, Rome's provincial authorities and Selex Communications are jointly co-ordinating the restoration project.