On the night of 15 July 1823, the Roman sky lit up in a warm, eerie glow as flames mercilessly brought down the Basilica of San Paolo fuori le Mura (Figure 13.1). The culprit was a distracted carpenter who, after a long night of laboring in the rafters, had left a candle burning amid the dry timbers. In so doing, he had unwittingly consigned his repairs to be the last in a long line of restorations to the basilica’s roof. Indeed, between the fifth and nineteenth centuries, there were —by my count-21 recorded roof restorations (Table 13.1).