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Rome mayor flies to Riyadh to woo donor for restorations

Marino seeks funds to save ancient treasures

27 March, 19:16
Rome mayor flies to Riyadh to woo donor for restorations (ANSA) - Rome, March 27 - The mayor of Rome is flying to the Saudi Arabian capital on Saturday to woo a Saudi prince in an ongoing effort to find donors to fund restoration for nine Roman monuments.

Ignazio Marino will land in Riyadh to present his fundraising dossier - which has accompanied the mayor on recent foreign travels - to the art lover Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Marino's portfolio of projects includes a 1.3-million-euro plan to restore the facades of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni - a neoclassical exhibition hall and museum completed in 1883 - and a six-million-euro effort to return the Seven Halls, an ancient Roman cistern that once supplied the Baths of Trajan, to their former glory.

Marino's trip is part of a larger effort to find private donors to underwrite important renovations in a time of pinched public coffers.

Luxury goods company Tod's is sponsoring the renovation of the Colosseum; Fendi is giving aid for the Trevi Fountain; and Japanese fashion entrepreneur Yuzo Yagi is financing a makeover for the 2000-year-old Pyramid of Cestius. Other donors include Bulgari and the embassy of Azerbajian, while contacts are underway with Coca Cola.

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