The fountain, made famous in the 1960’s Felinni film La Dolce Vita, will receive the most thorough restoration since its completion in 1762, and Italian luxury fashion house Fendi will be picking up the 2.2 million euro tab for the repairs.
“I think its a great idea and a great project. This fountain is a symbol of the Rome like the Colosseum and St Peter’s and I am happy that we can all help,” said Karl Lagerfeld, Fendi’s artistic director.
The Rome-based label is one of the latest brands committed to the restoration of the city’s cultural heritage sites. Luxury shoemaker and leather goods company Tod’s is currently sponsoring the restoration of the Colosseum.
The city’s mayor, Gianni Alemanno has commended the support from private businesses during the country’s tough economic times, likening companies like Fendi to the Medici families of Tuscany, which funded culture and the arts during the Renaissance period.
“This is not to shirk our duties over to the private sector but the state needs a new patronage to help Italian culture,” Mayor Alemanno said, labelling Fendi as one of the city’s ‘new partons’ of culture and the arts.
The privately funded restoration will take place over a 20-month period and will include the fountain’s famous Roman façade depicting Tritons guiding the shell chariot of the god Oceanus.
Regarded as the most thorough cleaning in the fountains 251-year history, the project will see calcium deposits removed, statues cleaned, steel posts reinforced, leaks fixed, the basin waterproofed, new pumps and electrical works installed, and a barrier added to keep pigeons at bay.
But Rome’s tourists needn’t be dismayed; only a third of the fountain will be covered by scaffolding at any time, leaving two thirds free for visitors to throw the customary coin – a tradition said to ensure they one day return to the city again.
“Throwing a coin into the fountain is a rite and a right,” says Umberto Broccoli, superintendent for Rome’s cultural heritage.
“There is no tourist in the world who does not dream of standing before the Trevi Fountain at least once in their life,” Rome’s mayor added.
More than a million euros are thrown into the Roman fountain basin each year, and all the money is collected and dispersed to the city’s various charities.
The Trevi Fountain is one of a handful being restored by the fashion house as part of its ‘Fendi for Fountains’ initiative.