Sir Michael and Lady Dorothy Hintze have contributed to the restoration of the Scala Santa, a sacred staircase which Christ is said to have climbed to be sentenced to crucifixion. The staircase has been restored to its original condition, after having been encased in wood for the last 300 years.
The Telegraph reports on the significance of the restoration:
The marble staircase had been encased in wood since 1723, when the pope of the time, Innocent XIII, decided that it could no longer stand the wear and tear of millions of pilgrims, who by tradition must crawl up it on their hands and knees to earn indulgences.
During a long restoration, the wooden planks were removed and the intricate 16th century frescoes on the walls and ceiling above the staircase cleaned and returned to their original lustre…
The restoration of the steps was funded by a charitable organisation called the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, with donors including a British-Australian businessman and philanthropist, Sir Michael Hintze, and his wife, Lady Dorothy Hintze.