Lonely Planet Writer

Rome calls for people to adopt ancient ruins and help restore historic sites

Would you like to be the guardian of a ruin belonging to an ancient civilization? Well if you have €600,00 you could be!

Ruins in Roman Forum, Rome.
Ruins in Roman Forum, Rome. Image by S.Borisov

Rome has issued an urgent SOS appeal to philanthropists, companies, and its own citizens in an attempt to help restore some of the capital’s most famous historic sites.

The Roman Forum, the Circus Maximus and the walls, aqueducts, and sewerage system are among the sites in need of full restoration or clean-ups, but Rome has debts of some €12 billion and cannot afford to fund the work.

The Colosseum, Rome and other major attraction should be protected from rowdy and drunken tourists according to local citizens
Image by Anna Fox / CC BY 2.0

The city’s cultural superintendent Claudio Parisi Presicce has said that he expects the collective love for Rome, once the centre of the most powerful empire in the world, would mean that there would be an outpouring of support.

Speaking to the Guardian he said, “We need new strategic ideas. We have to create a link between the people living above the modern city and the ancient city that lies beneath them.”

Rome's Spanish Steps becomes more pedestrian friendly. Image by Sean MacEntee / CC BY 2.0
Rome’s Spanish Steps. Image by Sean MacEntee / CC BY 2.0 Image by Sean MacEntee / CC BY 2.0

The move comes after a series of incredibly successful collaborations that saw luxury fashion brands sponsor the restoration on some of Rome’s most iconic monuments and historic sites. Fendi funded the restoration of La Dolce Vita’s famed Trevi Fountain, Tod’s is currently paying for the restoration of the Colosseum, and Bulgari pays for the maintenance of the Spanish Steps.

Rome skyline.
Rome skyline. Image by Bert Kaufmann / CC BY-SA 2.0

Much of the focus of this new wave of restoration will focus on new excavations at the Roman Forum, one of the most important sites in the capital, where the ancient Senate and temples once stood. Another of the ambitious projects is to create a walkway around the remains of the Aurelian walls that’s estimated to cost €9 million.

Trevi Fountain.
Trevi Fountain. Image by Ruben Holthuijsen / CC BY 2.0

Investors willing to put millions into ‘the eternal city’ would be able to claim patronage of the restoration of over 80 fountains and the aqueduct that runs into the Trevi fountain.

So if you’ve got a spare €10 million, get in touch with the Rome authorities!