Roman mayor to woo donor in Saudi Arabia for restorations

Mayor to show dossier of 9 restoration projects to Saudi prince

28 March, 15:59

    (by Paola Mele) (ANSAmed) - ROME, MARCH 28 - The hunt for patrons to save nine treasures. The mayor of Rome is flying this weekend to Riyadh with a dossier of as many restoration projects searching "oxygen" and philantropists for reviving monuments in the Roman capital. The first significant donation will come from Saudi Arabia, or rather from the Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, a Saudi prince with a passion for art.

    Rome's first citizen will propose nine possible interventions to the new donor, from the 1.3 million euro restoration of the facades of the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, a 19th century neoclassical exhibition centre, to 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.

    Ignazio Marino will leave for Saudi Arabia tomorrow morning with his unfailing dossier of nine proposals that lately have accompanied him on all of his trips abroad. The document, prepared by the Roman cultural heritage supervisory body, provides details of the needs, costs and photos of the works to be restored. The objective is to feed this special philanthropic fundraising which, in times of pinched public funds, supports restoration activities. The effort has recently been fruitful for the Colosseum, sponsored by Tod's; the Trevi Fountain, with the commitment by Fendi; and the Pyramid of Cestius, thanks to the Japanese patron Yuzo Yagi. The Philosophers Hall in the Capitoline Museums has been restored thanks to the Azerbajian embassy on behalf of a foundation. An extremely recent donation by Bulgari was announced for the steps of Trinità dei Monti.

    Moreover, talks are underway with Coca-Cola.

    Among the options Marino is carrying in his briefcase, there is also the 1.5 million euro recovery of the Cryptoporticus at the Baths of Trajan, masterpiece of Apollodorus of Damascus, and the 1.5 million euro preparation of an open-air museum of ancient architecture to serve as the entrance of the Celio Hill archeological site.

    The dossier includes the restoration of Ludus Magnus - the gladiators' gym next to the Colosseum (2 million euros); the recovery of the Caffarelli Palazzo and garden on the Capitoline Hill (2.5 million euros); the continued excavation of Via Alessandrina - ancient testimony to the area destroyed with the creation of the Via dell'Impero (4 million euros); the Mausoleum of Augustus, the largest circular tomb ever discovered (4 million euros); and the enlargement of the Roman contemporary art museum Galleria dell'Arte Moderna (4 million euros). In exchange, donors will have satisfaction, but also visibility. For example, for whoever wants to contribute to the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, "will have their name and brand postered on the scaffolding along via Milano and via Nazionale during the execution of (restoration) work". Not just restorations are being proposed. If the sponsor is magnanimous, he can also adopt special projects like the suggestive set-up for the Seven Halls, which gathered water for the Baths of Trajan and is the costliest project.

    It calls for "the filling of the great rooms with water, across which a system of suspended walkways is to be installed to allow visitor access". (ANSAmed).

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