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The program of scientific investigations planned in the framework of the restoration of Michelangelo's David produced several useful guidelines for defining and developing innovative ways to process and visualize 3D data in cultural heritage applications. Our ultimate goal was to include 3D graphics among the tools which can help restorers select the proper restoration procedures for the task at hand and objectively assess restoration results. For this, the David restoration was an ideal test bed to demonstrate the usefulness of digital 3D models and visualization tools in a restoration project. Because a complex set of scientific investigations was planned before and after the restoration intervention, we could try various methodologies to support restorers and scientists with visualization tools based on 3D digital models.