Tuesday Jun 28, 201103:18 PM GMT
Tod's sponsors Colosseum restoration
Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:14PM
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Colosseum, Rome
The founder of Tod's luxury leather goods and shoes has offered to sponsor the restoration project of the ancient Roman arena of Colosseum.

Diego Della Valle will pay USD 34 million to clean and restore the world-famous structure which has been blackened by pollution and rocked by vibrations of a nearby subway line.

"A monument that represents Italy in the world must be restored, and a company that represents Made in Italy stepped forward to say, 'If you need us, we are here,'" Della Valle told a press conference.

Della Valle, however, said he expected other entrepreneurs to also step in to help out as the project gets under way, AP reported.

The project is to begin after contract bids are closed at the end of the year and will run for the next two and a half years. The monument will be open to tourists during the restoration.

"It is the end of a nightmare," said Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno.

As Italy faces monetary problems to maintain, protect and clean its artistic and archaeological heritage, the private sector sometimes helps the government by offering high-profile restorations.

The Colosseum is an elliptical amphitheatre in the center of the Italian capital and the largest ever built in the Roman Empire.

Originally called Amphitheatrum Flavium, the building could seat 50,000 spectators, who gathered to watch gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.

The building was later reused for various purposes such as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.

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