MILAN — Tod’s SpA is now officially the exclusive sponsor of the restoration of the Colosseum in Rome.
On Friday, Italy’s Ministry of Culture gave the green light to the company’s chairman and chief executive officer Diego Della Valle, who in December made the offer to finance the work needed to restore one of the Italian capital’s most recognizable and grandiose monuments through a sponsorship of 25 million euros, or $33.6 million at current exchange rates.
“The Colosseum is Italy, Italy the beautiful. The Italy that everyone knows,” said Della Valle during a press conference held in Rome to present the project, approved and signed earlier that day. “It’s a pleasure and a duty to contribute to the support of our country’s image and credibility, as well as its cultural heritage.”
The works are expected to start at the end of the year and will last between 24 and 36 months.
Gianni Alemanno, mayor of Rome, said: “This is the end of a nightmare.” Remarking on the much needed renovations when passing by the monument, Alemanno said he always wondered what tourists would think. “This act is a symbol, a lesson to others and I am deeply thankful to Mr. Della Valle,” said Alemanno.
The work will include the restoration of the northern and southern facades, the arcades, the underground tunnels and lighting, among others. Visits to the site will not be interrupted.
Tod’s will finance the entire cost via a nonprofit foundation soon to be created, Friends of the Colosseum. The funds will be provided through installments. Tod’s will not be responsible for assigning and completing the work or for the selection of the contractors.
The special superintendents for Rome’s cultural heritage will be in charge of the plan and will cover extra costs.
On the sidelines of the conference, Della Valle said the amphitheater “is a great image of Italy in the world. We are happy and proud. This is an operation of support and we don’t expect anything in return. Who doesn’t remember coming as a kid on the bus to see the Colosseum?”
Under the agreement, Tod’s will be able to exclusively promote and advertise the restoration. The company and the foundation also plan to make the Colosseum increasingly more accessible and will create a visitor’s center near the monument. The exclusive will be allowed for the entire duration of the works and for the following two years, while the foundation will exist for 15 years.
The Colosseum, the biggest amphitheater built under the Roman Empire, dates back to 72 A.D., covers 140,400 square feet, and attracted 4.6 million visitors in 2009, ringing in a total of 30.4 million euros, or $42.2 million at average exchange rates.