With City Funds Running Dry, Rome Turns to Fendi for Trevi Fountain Restoration

Roman architect Nicola Salvi‘s masterpiece, the Trevi Fountain (picture), built between 1732 and 1762, is in serious need of a major overhaul, and with the city’s coffers for cultural projects nearly depleted, fashion house Fendi has stepped in to foot the €2.12-million ($2.85-million) bill for the sculpture-filled fountain’s restoration.

“The restoration of the Trevi Fountain is a demonstration of the importance of public-private collaborations,” Rome’s mayor Gianni Alemanno said during a press conference with Fendi creative director Karl Lagerfeld, AFP reports. “There’s a need for a new system of cultural patronage.”

The tourist attraction’s top-to-bottom revamp will include the cleaning and restoration of marble and limestone sculptures, replacing the tin awning over the fountain, waterproofing the basins, and installing a new video surveillance system. The work will take some 20 months, and is due to be completed by 2015 in the very unlikely event that it stays on schedule.

“It’s a terrific idea and a great project,” Lagerfeld said. “It’s a symbol of Rome on the same level as the Colosseum or St. Peter’s.” On the occasion of the Trevi repairs project, Lagerfeld will be publishing a book of Daguerreotypes of Rome’s fountains.

The Trevi Fountain was immortalized in this famous scene in Frederico Felini’s “La Dolce Vita”:

— Benjamin Sutton

(Image via Trevi Fountain/Facebook.)