Times Square Rome?

What's New — By Erica Firpo on September 6, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Rome is looking for a metaphysical face lift starting with the Colosseum.  Italy’s Ministry of Culture is calling for funds, $25 million euro to be exact, to sponsor the restorations to the nearly 2000-year-old monument.  The debate is not about what methods will be taken (the Ministry has already done its research), but where the money will come from– and how will they acknowledge those sponsors.

The Colosseum will be Italy’s most notable and noticed project, giving Rome a chance to set the stage for 21st century  sponsorship and conservation.  According to local archaeologist Darius Arya, now is the time to transform Italy’s mentality on preservation (of history, culture and monuments) to conservation.

“There’s a big overlap between preservation and conservation.  The difference is that preservation focuses on protecting and preserving artifacts of historical importance.  Conservation takes it a step further by  preserving an artifact for the future through intervention– minimal, not reconstruction, no Disney-fication.  Italy is thinking of the future of its monuments,” says Arya.

Disney-fication, in particular the Times Square threat, is the biggest fear that critics have regarding the sponsorship of the Colosseum.  Over the past ten years, billboards have crept up across many of Italy’s monuments in restoration, even in Saint Peter’s Square.  In this interview, BBC’s Duncan Kennedy talks with Arya and Ministry of Culture’s General Director Mario Resca about the future of the Colosseum.

Could Italy loose control of its monuments to overt commercialization?  Will Ancient Rome turn into Times Square, 100 AD?  Stay tuned. . .

Photo by Flagellotz

Tags: Archaeology, Monuments, News

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