> ANSA English > News

Augustus' mausoleum restoration to begin this year

Project to be funded by Saudi prince, mayor says

08 April, 17:06
Augustus' mausoleum restoration to begin this year (ANSA) - Rome, April 8 - The long-awaited restoration of the mausoleum of Rome's first emperor could soon begin, after a Saudi prince expressed interest in putting up the funding, mayor Ignazio Marino said on Tuesday. Work to overhaul the monumental but decrepit mausoleum of Augustus in central Rome is due begin before the end of the year, Marino said.

Work to clean and convert the surrounding Piazza Augusto Imperatore into a pedestrian area should also begin at the same time, added the mayor.

Built in 28 BC, the mausoleum has been used as a private residence, bull-fighting ring and concert hall before it eventually fell into a state of abandon and disrepair. Successive city administrations have long made plans to overhaul the monument as part of an organic project for the piazza that saw the opening of a controversial new museum complex to house the first-century BC Ara Pacis, designed by American architect Richard Meier in 2006.

However, the mausoleum element of the scheme never got off the ground. "When we took office, we found that the funding for the work had been removed," said Marino. The restoration will be part of a broader project to overhaul several of Rome's more famous monuments with private funding, Marino said.

The mayor suggested some of this new money would come from an unnamed Saudi prince who he met during a recent trip to Saudi Arabia. "One of the monuments that attracted him most was the Mausoleum of Augustus, which is also one of the most costly to restore," said Marino. If all goes to plan, the start of restoration will coincide with the 2,000th anniversary of Augustus' death in 14 AD.