Rome landmarks get makeover thanks to corporate funding

Rome wasn’t built in a day - and it is taking even longer to give badly needed makeovers to many of the city’s famous landmarks, despite the fact that it is now peak tourist season.

Tourist attractions in Rome such as the Trevi Fountain are being renovated thanks to corporate support

Tourist attractions in Rome such as the Trevi Fountain are being renovated thanks to corporate support Image by Alastair Young / CC BY 2.0

The fact that much needed renovation work is being undertaken at all is not due to the Italian government making funds available but thanks to corporate finance.

The Colosseum, Rome

The Colosseum, Rome  is getting a makeover tooImage by Anna Fox / CC BY 2.0

CBS News reports that historic sites such as the Trevi Fountain are shrouded in scaffolding, meaning tourists can’t do as Romans, and visitors alike have been doing for years now, by tossing a coin into the water.

Undeterred, some visitors have still thrown in coins to make their wishes but have heard them hit the dry bottom of the fountain – not something they want to take too many photos of for their albums. American visitor Katherine Deorsey from Rhode Island was disappointed that she couldn’t throw a coin in as the fountain was dry. However, beside it a strategically placed sign told people the work is being financed by Fendi, a top Italian fashion house.

The corporate makeover in Rome is due to the fact that the financially stretched government is allowing commercial organisations to pay for such work in exchange for a 65% tax credit.

While the various landmarks will maintain their own names, a plaque on the side will show which company is paying for the project.

So for the moment, the Spanish Steps has attracted the luxury jewellery company, Bulgari, to spend close on $2 million in renovation payments for the almost 300-year-old staircase. And not far away, the work on the Colosseum is being underwritten to the tune of $30 million by Todd’s Show company.

Italy possesses the most UNESCO heritage sites in the world with a cost of $140 million to fix the crumbling Pompeii. That is why the government is putting out its hand for corporate help to look after the other 49 sites needs hundreds of millions more to keep the landmarks in good condition.

Luca Desiata, who specialises in corporate and art joint sponsorships said the amount of money required equated to the GDP of some small eastern European countries.

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