Colosseum restoration to cost $34M

Date:

Share post:

Luxury shoemaker Tod’s will fund the restoration of Rome’s Colosseum with a $34 million sponsorship campaign, the biggest to rescue Italy’s crumbling archaeological treasures with private money.

_50906094_011075144-1

“I won’t put Tod’s shoes on the Colosseum,” the company’s chief executive, Diego Della Valle, promised at a news conference when asked if huge advertising billboards would appear on the almost 2,000-year-old monument.

Officials said the branding will be discreet, such as relatively small placards at the base of the Colosseum recognizing Tod’s as the sponsor. The company will also film the restoration and use it in its publicity.

The 80 A.D. Roman amphitheatre, which housed bloody public spectacles including gladiator fights, mock sea battles and animal shows, is one of the world’s most famous monuments and attracts six million visitors each year.

But like other world-class archeological sites in Italy, it has suffered badly in recent years for lack of funds and proper upkeep, and the cash-strapped Italian government has decided to turn to the private sector.

“We wanted to make a gesture which said ‘if the Colosseum needs to be restored, we are here’,” Della Valle said. “An Italian company that has the luck of doing well and represents ’Made in Italy’…decided to say ‘thank you’ to the country.”

The urgency surrounding the monument was highlighted last May when chunks of mortar plunged through a protective netting.

Piero Meogrossi, the architect overseeing the restoration work, said the Colosseum has been getting $676,000 of public money a year for its upkeep, one tenth of what it needs.

“It’s the end of a nightmare,” said grateful Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno.

Sponsorship of the arts was for decades anathema in Italy, particularly when leftist administrations were in power. But economic hard times have led governments to the doorsteps of the private sector with cap in hand.

Last year the government launched a tender to find private sponsors for the Colosseum project, which it hopes to use as a model for restoring other national monuments.

But the tender fell through because the proposals that were submitted were inadequate, so Rome officials decided to negotiate directly with several interested companies and Tod’s, which makes luxury shoes and bags, prevailed.

Della Valle said he hoped other private companies would step forward to help fund maintenance of other treasures such as the Pompeii archaeological ruins, which have been plagued by a string of collapses in recent months.

Work is due to start in March but the Colosseum will remain open to the public throughout the restoration, which is expected to last about two years.


Author: Silvia Aloisi | Source: Reuters [January 21, 2011]


ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

New tiny species of extinct Australian marsupial lion discovered

The fossil remains of a new tiny species of marsupial lion which prowled the lush rainforests of northern...

A flair for imperfections

To most people, a useless flint axe is just that. To archaeologist Sigrid Alræk Dugstad, it is a...

Dark energy survey finds more celestial neighbours

Scientists on the Dark Energy Survey, using one of the world's most powerful digital cameras, have discovered eight...

Carnivores more seriously threatened by roads than previously acknowledged

The effects of roads on carnivores have obviously been underestimated in worldwide species conservation. This is the conclusion...

Rewriting the history of the Boaz mastodon

Through a combination of modern-day scientific sleuthing, historical detective work, and a plethora of persistence, researchers at the...

More sophisticated wiring, not just bigger brain, helped humans evolve beyond chimps

Human and chimp brains look anatomically similar because both evolved from the same ancestor millions of years ago....

Serbia to project historic bridge hologram over Danube

Serbian archeologists and engineers are working on a hologram to be projected over the Danube river to reproduce...

Park workers in Spain discover huge Roman coin trove

Workers laying pipes in a southern Spanish park have unearthed a 600-kilogram (1,300-pound) trove of Roman coins in...