Italy is launching a project for teaching art restoration and conservation through the internet.
VIRartis (Virtual Art Restoration Training and Information School) will offer courses aimed at professional restorers and students and will also operate as an international clearing house for courses in specific fields.
The £1.33 million programme is being financed by the Ministry for Universities and Scientific Research and by Interactive Labs, the IT offshoot of Giunti, an academic and art-book publisher.
Carlo Ortona, the engineer coordinating the project, said that some sample material would be free of charge from the main portal, but that there would be a fee for courses, seminars and "live" conferences. "Our targets are professional restorers who want to learn new techniques, but also university students who want to take courses and earn credits towards a degree in allied fields," he said.