ROME — The unveiling at dusk of the newly restored Trevi Fountain made for a magical moment on Tuesday as crowds pressed around to see one of the most famous monuments in the world after 16 months of work financed by Fendi.
“Water flowing, continuous, but always different, can have many significant meanings, but I like to think of inexhaustible renovation and creativity that gushes forth — just as it does at Fendi,” an upbeat Pietro Beccari, chairman and chief executive officer of the luxury brand, told WWD.
The executive praised the speed and efficiency with which the works were carried out, and finished four months ahead of schedule, remarking on the modern techniques used and panoramic boardwalk set up during the restoration, which allowed tourists to continue to admire the fountain.
Beccari took the opportunity to reveal another project under the “Fendi for Fountains” moniker — the initials a play on the brand’s longstanding double-F logo designed in 1965 by Karl Lagerfeld, who was delayed in New York and so missed the ceremony. Beccari said that, in 2016, Fendi will support the restoration and preservation of another group of four fountains: The Fontana dell’Acqua Paola al Gianicolo, also known as the “Fontanone” and recently seen in the Academy Award-winning film “The Great Beauty,” and the Mosé al Pincio, del Ninfeo and del Peschiera fountains. Fendi has earmarked 300,000 euros, or $329,000 at current exchange, for the works.
The first Fendi for Fountains project, which also included works on another group of four fountains in the city, was unveiled in January 2013. The company spent 2.18 million euros, or $2.4 million at average exchange for the period, on the restoration of the Trevi Fountain.
“Fendi has an indissoluble tie with Rome, and we are becoming specialists in fountains,” said Silvia Venturini Fendi with a laugh. “Water is a strong symbol of renovation and Rome is the city with the highest density of water,” she observed. “And it must be karma,” she said, remembering Fendi’s short film “Histoire d’Eau” from 1977, and a book devoted to the fountains of Rome published by the Fendi sisters in 1980.
The designer admitted this was an “excellent moment for Fendi,” underscoring in particular its “clear and precise vision.” She again referred to the strong ties between Rome and the brand, which was founded in Italy’s capital in 1925. Fendi is giving back to the city “with facts,” and Rome, filled with the most precious works of art, needs “active collaboration.” She hoped Fendi’s efforts would be an example, “also for citizens,” to help preserve the city for the future. The company last month unveiled its new headquarters at the newly restored Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, also known as the Square Colosseum, with an exhibition space open to the public on the ground floor, which Beccari proudly said has already drawn 4,000 visitors in 10 days.
“Fendi is Rome and Rome is Fendi. This is a further message of love, a postcard of love for Rome, which needs positive signals of confidence,” said Beccari, referring to the city’s current efforts to overcome a number of political and criminal issues. “Rome will succeed, and we will never stop.”
Claudio Parisi Presicce, Rome’s superintendent of cultural heritage, underscored the complexity of the restoration, completed with the help of 120 workers, ranging from stonecutters, glass-makers and painters to carvers, masons, sculptors, geologists and specialized technicians.
Designed by Nicola Salvi in 1732, the Baroque fountain was inaugurated in 1762, depicting a statue of Oceano, the personification of the power of water, driving a shell-shaped chariot pulled by two winged horses, one representing the destructive force of water, the other its positive role, and led by two Tritons. The restoration of the fountain — a Roman fixture in countless movies, but perhaps most famously seen in “Roman Holiday” and Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” — was made more complex by the variety of materials employed. These include everything from travertine and stucco to marble, bricks and plaster, as well as decorative iron elements.
Traditionally, tourists toss coins in the fountain, with their backs to it, which ensures their return to Rome — a tradition Beccari and Venturini Fendi kept alive on Tuesday.