23 Jan Tod’s Founder Diego Della Valle to Restore Rome’s Colosseum for $34 Million
Diego Della Valle, the founder of Italian brand Tod’s luxury leather goods and shoes announced Friday that he will foot the 25 million of euro ($34 million) to restore the Colosseum.
The ancient Roman arena is blackened by pollution and rocked by vibrations from a nearby subway line.
“A monument that represents Italy in the world must be restored, and a company that represents Made in Italy stepped forward to say, ‘If you need us, we are here,'” Della Valle told a press conference.
Work is expected to begin at the end of the year, after contract bids are closed, and will take up to two and a half years. The monument will remain open to tourists during the restoration.
“It is the end of a nightmare,” Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno said.
Italy is chronically short of funds to maintain, protect and clean Italy’s artistic and archaeological heritage. The private sector, from energy companies to banks to mattress manufacturers, have sometimes lent a hand by sponsoring high-profile restorations for prestige and goodwill.
A few months ago, some chunks of mortar fell off the Colosseum before the monument was opened to tourists. No one was injured.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.