With Italy's Prime Minister Renzi in attendance to pledge more government funds for historic preservation, the first phase of a privately-funded repair and renovation of the historic Colosseum was pronounced complete Friday.
The work, largely funded by the Tod's shoe and fashion company, cleaned centuries of grime from walls, strengthened arches of the main facades and replaced gates and barriers. The company spent about €25 million on the work, which will continue.
Renzi, responding to the hundreds of historic sites that have fallen into disrepair through lack of maintenance, including Pompeii, promised that "We have to stop the arguments over Italy's cultural heritage because it is not only the thing we can be most proud of and a major part of our identity, but it also has enormous potential."
The arguments and lack of funding contrast with recent renovations funded by companies, in part for good public relations. In addition to the Colosseum, these projects include Bulgari's paying for the ongoing renovation of the Spanish Steps, and Fendi's 16-month cleanup of the Trevi fountains.