The scene of the crime, so to speak: The Roman Forum with worksite Photo: Corriere della Sera
Hot words are flying over use of "inappropriate" materials in a project to restore a 2000-year-old monument that's part of the Forum in Rome. It's one of a number of controversial projects, including a plan to restore the Colosseum for events.
In this case, it's the Temple of Peace built by Emperor Vespasian in 75 AD. He's also the emperor who had the Colosseum built. The charges involve use of cement to reinforce portions of the Temple's seven columns and to replace sections that are missing.
The Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera has run photos of the work being done, and quoted an architect who says the restoration includes "a totally fake column with a fake base, with a fake core, and a capital that is probably fake." He's further quoted that "The Roman Forum will lose its identity as an archeological site...where everything is precious...because it is authentic."
The original material was pink granite, ordered from a quarry near Aswan, Egypt, back when that was part of the Roman Empire. City arts and culture officials defend the method, saying it is similar to methods being used to restore the Acropolis in Athens, but some of the critics are not moved, saying "even the works on the Parthenon are too invasive."