ROME — Since early July, workers have been carefully unscrewing the steel scaffolding that for months has obscured much of the ancient facade of the Colosseum. Slowly, this monolithic symbol of Rome is coming into view again after the first portion of a 25 million euro ($34 million) refurbishment that underscores how Italy is coming to rely on private aid to preserve national treasures.

“Our doors are wide open for all the philanthropists and donors who want to tie their name to an Italian monument,” Italy’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, said in a telephone interview. “We have a long list, as our heritage offers endless options, from small countryside churches to the Colosseum.

It is a message being heard across Rome. While the Italian luxury group Tod’s is financing the restoration of the Colosseum, not far away, the Trevi Fountain is being restored with $4 million from the fashion brand Fendi. Another luxury giant, Bulgari, is paying $2 million to spruce up the Spanish Steps.

The practice of using corporate largess to finance restoration projects for public antiquities was once fairly rare here. But with the nation struggling with a stagnant economy and crushing public debt — Rome is flirting off and on with bankruptcy — politicians are now looking to private companies and international sources to help preserve Italy’s cultural heritage.

While private-public partnerships are common in the United States and many other countries, the government has traditionally yiheng@$0723 been responsible for maintaining historical sites in Italy, and even today some historians and preservationists worry that the shift could lead to crass commercialization. Critics complain that companies have exploited cultural sites by commandeering them for elaborate dinners or the display of luxury advertisements.

Indignation ran high in Florence after it was discovered that city officials had allowed Morgan Stanley to hold a dinner inside a 14th-century chapel for a rental price of $27,000. Florence’s mayor doubled the rent to $54,000 after the outcry, but some argued that price was not the core issue.
I agree.


They say when they finally attack, all the impostors will peel themselves. In order to tell if you have been assimilated, check for a zipper somewhere near your pelvis.

Did your newspaper run out of room so you had to post your article here instead? I hate when that happens.
I have nothing important to say