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Fashion to the rescue of Italy's architecture

Fashion to the rescue of Italy's architecture
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Coins thrown into the Trevi fountain in Rome are supposed to bring good luck, and fashion house Fendi is hoping rather more than a few coins, 2.8 million euros in fact, will bring it fortune in its restoration project.

Fendi is the latest fashion brand to pitch in and help spruce up the capital, but by no means the only one. The stylists are following in the wake of Tod’s 25 million restoration of the Colosseum.

This groundbreaking move by private enterprise came after decades of snail-like progress using public money had produced little visible improvement.

Bulgari is to restore the Spanish Steps for 1.5 million, but sponsors have yet to be found, for example, for Augustus’s tomb or Nero’s residence.

Outside the capital Ferragamo is restoring eight rooms in Florence’s Uffizi gallery while Gucci is to restore 10 tapestries in the Palazzo Vecchio.

In Venice Diesel is spending five million on the Rialto bridge, and Prada is restoring the fortress in Arezzo in Tuscany.

In May Italy’s culture minister announced a new tax break intended to encourage private-sector donations for the restoration and preservation of museums, archives, libraries and theatres.

But there is some controversy, in particular centered around what private donors receive in return.