Fashion house Fendi is to pay for the €2.5m (£2m) restoration of Rome’s historic Trevi Fountain, the monument that starred in Federico Fellini’s 1960 classic film La Dolce Vita.Chunks of stone and plaster fell from the fountain’s ornate baroque facade last summer, loosened by snow and ice during the previous winter.
The fountain, which was commissioned by Pope Clement XII in 1732, was immortalised in the scene from the Fellini film in which Anita Ekberg waded into its waters in a black evening dress.
According to tradition, tossing a coin into the fountain ensures that a visitor will return to Rome.
The sponsorship deal, agreed between Fendi and Rome heritage officials, was revealed by La Repubblica newspaper and is expected to be confirmed at the end of this month during Rome fashion week.
The repairs to the facade are due to start in March and are likely to take at least a year.
Fendi is the latest company to come to the rescue of Italy’s underfunded cultural heritage, as the recession-hit country looks to private sponsors to help repair long-neglected monuments and archaeological sites.
Diego Della Valle, the owner of luxury shoe firm Tod’s, is paying for a €25m restoration of the Colosseum, although the deal has been caught up in endless delays and wrangling over the awarding of contracts for the work.
Gianni Alemanno, the mayor of Rome, said this week that the delays were becoming “exasperating” and called for a resolution to the disputes so that the restoration could begin as soon as possible.
A €1m (£838,000) restoration of another of the city’s imposing monuments, a marble pyramid built as a mausoleum for a Roman dignitary, is being funded by Yuzo Yagi, a Japanese tycoon. The pyramid dates from 12BC and adds an incongruous touch of ancient Egypt to a corner of the Italian capital.
In Venice, a €5m restoration of the famous Rialto Bridge is to be paid for by Diesel, the Italian fashion company. It was completed in 1591 and is the oldest of four bridges that cross the Grand Canal.
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