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Colosseum restoration to start in September

Project will take 24-36 months

23 June, 17:24
Colosseum restoration to start in September (ANSA) - Rome, June 23 - The much-needed restoration of the Colosseum will start in September, Rome city officials have said. The 25-million-euro project, which will take 24-36 months to complete, involves restoring the north and south facades and the underground areas, and building a 1,600-square-meter reception area with a bookshop. This will also increase the area of the monument the public can visit by 25%, city officials said.

Shoe magnate Diego Della Valle, CEO of Tod's, is financing the efforts to heal the monument, which is close to 2,000 years old and feeling its age.

''This is an example of socially responsible entrepreneurship,'' said Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno. The city granted Della Valle exclusive rights to use the Colosseum logo for 15 years in exchange for the renovation. ''This is not a commercial venture,'' Della Valle said. ''I call on friends and entrepreneurs to give back a portion of their profits to the public. This creates social respect''. His company, which owns the Tod's, Fay and Hogan brands, this year posted outstanding first quarter results, with sales revenues up 17% over the previous year.

''Diego Della Valle has set an example to entrepreneurs,'' said Culture Minister Giancarlo Galan.

''Politicians must help initiatives like this. We need to provide tax incentives to the patrons of our national cultural heritage''. Begun in 72 AD, the Colosseum, or Flavian Amphitheatre, is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering.

It is 189 meters by 156 meters and covers an area of 24,000 square meters.

Capable of seating 50,000 spectators, it was used for gladiatorial contests, mock sea battles, executions and re-enactments of mythological dramas.

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