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Renovating Rome

sunny 24 °C

While Senor Berlusconi’s personal safety deposit boxes might be bursting at the seams, the Italian government has been flat broke for years. So first time visitors to Rome might be a touch miffed to discover that someone has flashed the cash and many of the revered sites are closed for renovation.
Climbing the 136 Spanish Steps is a ‘must-do’ in Rome, but it is a ‘don’t do’ since a swanky Italian jeweller named Bulgari paid 1.5 million euros for a facelift…
Throwing three coins into Rome’s 18th century Trevi Fountain is the only way to ensure a safe return to Rome – but what happens if the waterworks have been off for the past 17 months while it was spruced up at the expense of Italian handbag king Senor Fendi?...
And then there is the Coloseum…,
This colossal pile of rock, bricks and mortar was slapped together by the Romans exactly two thousand years ago, (give or take a few), and it has been falling apart ever since. Now Diego Della Valle, founder and chief executive of the Italian fashion house Tod’s, has stumped up 25 million euros to fix up the joint. You can see the scaffolding through the Arch of Constantine…
The Colosseum is one of the most gruesome places of entertainment ever devised. Gladiators, prisoners and slaves fought an astounding menagerie of ferocious animals, and each other, for the enjoyment of the senators and the masses who filled these fifty thousand seats...
Lions, bears, tigers and even alligators, were set upon defenceless naked people and in just one series of events two thousand men and six thousand animals were slaughtered. Beneath the arena was this maze of cages and cells where the animals and prisoners were kept before their event…
Following each massacre the arena was cleared of bodies and re-set by hoisting up trees and other props through trap doors. Once the stage was set the fun would begin again. The events were sponsored by rich merchants and influence pedlars who knew a good marketing opportunity when they saw it - just like Bulgari, Fendi and Tod’s today.

However, in a stroke of sheer good fortune, we happened to be in Rome on the very day that the Trevi fountain was to be re-opened, (a mere 8 months later than advertised). Four thirty pm. (Italian time) was the advertised moment and we joined an exuberant throng of thousands for the occasion…
And then, promptly at 5.17 pm. (a mere 47 minutes later than advertised), Mr. Fendi’s successor pulled the switch and the Trevi Fountain was back in business. Now we could all throw in our three coins, (but not if we knew that for the past thirty years the daily haul has been scooped up by a couple of dodgy villains dressed as council workmen).

Posted by Hawkson 23:29 Archived in Italy

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24 degrees and cloudless skies--enjoy. It's closer to freezing here when the heavy rain clouds move on.

by R and B

The dodgy villains must have had some permission from someone high up. Thirty years is a long time. Rome needed Jim Hawkins on the job. Some parts of history are easier to digest than others. The Trevi Fountain looks gorgeous.

by Sue Fitzwilson

No Sue - the dodgy villains had no permission from anyone. But, when they were finally exposed, the city authorities said they had done nothing wrong. If people wished to throw their money away anyone was entitled to pick it up, even if it ran into millions of dollars over the years. Maybe the city should have collected it and then they could have paid for the renovations themselves.

by Hawkson

How refreshing. Dodgy villains usually are more likely to be bankers than workmen. Glad you can toss coins with abandon to the whole fountain now. In August they had a small bathtub set up for coin tosses. Slim pickings for villains.

by Tom

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