Italian couple discover 16th-century frescoes in bedroom
Mr de Paolis came across the paintings after deciding to add a bathroom in the apartment, which partly extends into an abandoned medieval tower that was thought to have been part of a military fort in Civitavecchia, a port west of Rome.
Bit by bit, De Paolis uncovered copies of the frescoes in Raphael's Room of Heliodorus at the Vatican museums, thought to have been painted by a contemporary student of the Renaissance master, Ugo da Scarpi, best known for his wood carvings.
The Room of Heliodorus is one of four frescoed chambers by Raphael and his disciples, commissioned for the private apartments of Pope Julius II in the Apostolic Palace, now part of the Vatican Museums, next to the Sistine Chapel.
About 50 square metres (500 square feet) survive of the copies, badly damaged but clearly distinguishable in places.
They are slightly smaller than the original frescoes painted in the early 16th century, depicting the heavenly protection believed to be accorded by Jesus Christ to the Roman Catholic Church.
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