Rome’s iconic Trevi Fountain has been reopened to public after it underwent a 17-month €2.2 million renovation.
The world famous fountain, nearly 300 years old, is visited by millions of tourists every year.
The fountain’s poor structural condition was exposed in 2012 when bits of its elaborate cornice began falling off after an especially harsh winter.
It became famous in 1960 with the release of the film La Dolce Vita.
In the movie actress Anita Ekberg wades through the fountain’s pristine waters – her hopelessly infatuated male co-star in her wake – in what critics say is one of the enduring cinematic images of the 20th Century.
A team of 26 restorers have not only given the Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi) a thorough cleaning, they have stopped it from crumbling away.
They have repaired cracks and steel supports with the aim of avoiding a repeat of the incident in 2012 when pieces of the fountain came crashing down.
Water once more tumbles from the base of the fountain’s sea-god scene and new lighting shows off its gleaming Baroque facade.
The repairs have been paid for by the Italian fashion house Fendi, founded as a leather goods business in Rome in the 1920s and now part of French luxury giant LVMH. It agreed a deal which allows it to hang a plaque near the monument for four years.
Fendi has also spent €320,000 cleaning up Rome’s lesser known Le Quattro Fontane (Four Fountains).
Fontana di Trevi was commissioned by Pope Clement XII in 1730 and it was last restored 23 years ago.
The fountain is the end point of one of the aqueducts that supplied ancient Rome with water. The Acqua Vergine runs for a total of 12 miles before flowing into the fountain.
According to legend, the water source was discovered in 19 BC by thirsty Roman soldiers directed to the site by a young virgin – which is why it is called Virgin Waters.
Tourists can drink from a special tap tucked away at one side.
The tradition of throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain was made famous by Frank Sinatra’s Three Coins in the Fountain in the 1954 romantic comedy of the same name.
There is growing pressure on well-known Roman cat sanctuary Torre Argentina to leave its home in the heart of the ancient city.
The head of Rome’s archaeological office says parts of the sanctuary have been illegally built on a heritage site and must be pulled down.
An eviction notice has been issued.
The disputed building of the Torre Argentina cat sanctuary is next to the site where Julius Caesar was stabbed by Brutus and his co-conspirators on the Ides of March in 44BC.
It is known as the Area Sacra and houses four temples, on one of which the sanctuary has built a store room.
Rome is well-known for the stray cats which live among its archaeological splendors.
The Torre Argentina cat sanctuary looks after about 200 cats, vaccinating the strays, neutering the toms and spaying the cats.
There is growing pressure on well-known Roman cat sanctuary Torre Argentina to leave its home in the heart of the ancient city
The animals are much photographed by tourists but Mariarosaria Barbera, the Special Superintendent for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome, has told the Repubblica newspaper: “While we love the cats almost as much as the ancient monuments, the sanctuary is an illegal construction.
“We object to illegal building on a heritage site.”
Mariarosaria Barbera said her office had been trying to find a solution to the problem for the past two years.
But Silvia Viviani, president of the Volunteer Association at the Cat Colony of Torre Argentina, said the archaeological office was trying to chase them out of a site which they had occupied for 20 years.
Silvia Viviani said she was trying to secure a meeting with city authorities to find an alternative home for her sanctuary, which has become a tourist site in its own right.
Rome’s world famous Colosseum is now around 40 cm (16 inches) lower on the south side than on the north.
Concerned authorities are investigating whether it needs urgent repairs, after experts noticed the incline about a year ago.
Rossella Rea, director at the 2,000-year-old monument, revealed in Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Sunday that officials have been monitoring it for the past few months.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, another of the country’s most popular attractions, was reopened in 2001 after being shut for more than a decade as engineers worked to prevent it from falling over and to make it safe for visitors.
Rome's world famous Colosseum is now around 40 cm (16 inches) lower on the south side than on the north
Restorers’ efforts to clean off centuries of grime from the Tuscan landmark helped stabilize the historical building by removing soil from beneath one side of its foundations.
“The slab of concrete on which the Colosseum rests, which is like a 13-metre (yard)-thick oval doughnut, may have a fracture inside it,” he told the newspaper.
He said intervention along the lines of the stabilization work carried out in Pisa could be necessary if the concerns are confirmed, but he added that it was too early to judge what kind of intervention would be most suitable.
The Colosseum – famous for hosting bloody gladiator fights in the days of the Roman Empire – attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists and is usually packed with visitors.
Rome’s iconic Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain) appears to be the latest monument to show its age as chunks of plaster and stucco, measuring up to three inches wide, have been falling from the structure.
According to The Telegraph, this is due to February unusual cold weather. Snow and ice infiltrated existing cracks then expanded.
Part of the Fontana di Trevi was roped off Monday after the damage was noticed. Pieces that look close to falling off are being removed to protect tourists below.
The fountain was last restored in 1990.
Rome's iconic Fontana di Trevi appears to be the latest monument to show its age as chunks of plaster and stucco have been falling from the structure
Meanwhile, Rome has had to deal with reports that its Colosseum might be crumbling and Venice is levying a tourist tax to help the city weather perpetual crowds. The peninsula, it would be fair to say, has seen better days.
Italy isn’t alone. China’s Great Wall is collapsing due to mining and, in the U.S., a number of historical sites have fallen into disrepair, landing on a list of the most endangered historic places.
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