Bankrupt City of Rome Needs $500 Million for Historic Sites, Seeks Private Investors

The ancient city is in desperate need of restoration.

The Colessium is currently under construction Photo: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / Staff/ Getty Images

The city of Rome has issued a public plea to the tune of €500 million for essential repairs to the ancient city which it cannot pay for, as Rome is €12 billion ($13 billion) in debt.

The ancient center of Rome with sites such as Forum and the Circus Maximums, which are huge tourist attractions thanks to their massive historical significance, as well as aqueducts and sewage systems are in need of both cosmetic and structural repair.

The restored Trevi Fountain Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI / Staff/ Getty Images

The restored Trevi Fountain Photo: ALBERTO PIZZOLI / Staff/ Getty Images

The idea of reaching out to individuals and organizations to help finance repairs to the city was the brainchild of Francesco Paolo Tronca, the Italian official put in charge of running Rome after a huge corruption scandal came to light last year.

He has masterminded schemes including fashion house Fendi’s funding of the restoration of the iconic Trevi Fountain, footwear and accessories brand Tod’s repairing the Coliseum, and Bulgari helping out with the Spanish Steps.

“We need new strategic ideas. We have to create a link between the people living above the modern city and the ancient city that lies beneath them,” Tronca told AFP. “We need help to ensure Rome continues to be a reference point in terms of beauty for the whole world,” he added.

Following the success of these collaborations with private companies and individuals, a further list of repairs has been put together. Any donor with a cool €10 million to spare could get credit for restoring 80 Roman fountains. For a more modest contribution of €600,000 one could help repair the aqueduct that feeds water to the Trevi Fountain.

But also contributions of as little as €300 can be made which will pay for weeding the ancient market situated around Trajan’s column. However, for those wishing to really make their mark there is a €9 million price tag on the creation of a walkway from which people can observe the Aurelian walls built in 3AD which are is desperate need of repair.

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