August 05, 2014

The Colosseum To Get A Makeover


It has a somewhat chequered history but amazingly it still stands as a reminder of past events and architectural achievement. Of course when it was first built it was even more impressive - covered in marble and statues, see picture below.
It is still quite a sight if you get the chance to visit the Ancient Roman Forum!

From You Tube:  
"Colosseum - HD footage, information and facts on the icon of ancient Rome; the Colosseum. The Colosseum was the Roman Empire's most impressive building. The ruins of the Colosseum have fascinated people over the centuries with its striking presence...."

BILLIONAIRE Diego Della Valle has declared the first phase of his €25 million ($35.7m) project to restor­e the Colosseum in Rome a resounding success and a model for Italy’s economic recovery. 
In an interview with The Australian in Rome, the Italian found­er of the luxury Tod’s leathergoods empire, which opened its first Australian boutique in Sydney last month, said he was thrilled with the restoration of the first five arches of the ancient amphitheatre and saw it as an example for saving other precious historic sites.

“Seeing this piece of the Coloss­eum returned to its original colour today is testimony to the fact that we can do it, and do it well,” Mr Della Valle said. “In my view, we have to encourage many other businesses to do the same with other cultural sites in Italy. Those among us who have had the good fortune and capacity to create a company that is doing well have to support this kind of thing.”

His compatriots are doing just that. The Rome-based jeweller and watchmaker Bulgari, bought by the French luxury giant LVMH in 2011, recently pledged €1.5m to fund a renovation of Rome’s Spanish Steps. Fendi, also Rome-based and also owned by LVMH, is funding a €2.8m restoration of Rome’s Trevi fountain, while Della Valle’s luxury leathergoods rival Salvatore Ferragamo recently committed €600,000 to renovate eight rooms in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery.

Brunello Cucinelli, who built a cashmere clothing empire, is finan­cing the reconstruction of Perugia’s ancient Etruscan Arch, while the founder of Italian denim brand Diesel, Renzo Rosso, is spending €5m to restore the Rialto Bridge in Venice.

Prada has funded the restoration of the fortress in the Tuscan city of Arezzo and Gucci has donated €340,000 to restore 10 16th-century tapestries at the PalazzoVecchio in Florence.
Italy is a country rich in monuments but low in the cash needed to restore them. Italian luxury brands, many of which have enjoyed unprecedented global growth in recent years, are stepping in to safeguard them for the future.

It’s also undoubtedly motiv­ated by a desire to keep foreign tourists pouring into Italy. Mr Della Valle is encouraging the Italian government to develop a nation­al strategy, including incentives for private sponsors to restore and protect Italy’s rich cultural heritage and promote tourism.

“There will only be real economic recovery if we emphasise our strong points,’’ he said. “ ‘Made in Italy’ is a resource that is known and appreciated around the world and we have to continue on this path. Italy has a great opportunity to build a future and offer job oppor­tunities to young people and to save small businesses.”

The Colosseum project began one year ago and is expected to be completed by mid-2016.

It is the first time that the Colosseum, one of Italy’s most popular attractions, has been cleaned. Begun in 72AD by Emperor Vespasian, the legendary monument once witnessed bloody gladiatorial contests, executions and spectacular theatrical performances but fell into disrepair in the Middle Ages.

The ambitious restoration is funded entirely by Mr Della Valle’s company and will eventually include the complete restoration of the underground area, the construction of a new ticket office and hospitality services. The restorers have so far completed five of the monument’s 80 arcades.

A team of experts have been working intensely with brushes as small as a toothbrush and water spray to gently strip layers of grime and pollution from the surface of the monument to reveal its original creamy white stone.

“Today is the first time after years of talking that we can see something that has really happened,” Mr Della Valle said.

Rome’s archeological superintendent, Mariarosaria Barbera, said on Tuesday that the arches had finally been restored to their original splendour.

By Josephine McKenna

With thanks to The Australian


This picture from Roman Architecture, with thanks.

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