Regarded as one of the masterworks of the British Museum, the so-called «Elgin Marbles» remain to this day an object of curiosity, reverence but also endless strife. From London, the plaster casts of the Elgin Marbles found their way into all the important Academies and art collections of Europe. Thus, before Rome and Venice, they reached Florence, in June 1818: 49 cases containing the Parthenon casts, «to the care of the English ambassador». The Elgin casts are still housed in the Florentine Accademia, but 200 years later, they are now in quite a fragile condition; dust and chemical agents in the air have blackened and marred their forms, making them in some cases barely recognisable. Thus, a long and delicate restoration process was planned, which included work on the Demeter-Persephone and Dione-Aphrodite groups of figures. Upon completion of the conservation work, the scaffolding was taken down and the two magnificent plaster casts of the Ottocento, much admired by all artists, were revealed once more and seen in a new light. Phidias’ sculptures constituted a “school for the world” in the age of Pericles, praised by Greek and Roman historians alike; this far-sighted gift to the city of Florence by Grand Duke Ferdinand still maintains quite intact its educational value for all those who wish to acquaint themselves with the Arts.