A touch of ‘alta moda’ for Italy’s Monuments

Updated November, 2016

Take a look at how alta moda (fashion) is helping Italy’s monuments get back to their original beauty!

Before I get started – Welcome! This is my first post for 2016 with the new website layout! So you can say that touristsbychance.com went through it’s own makeover, as with many of Italy’s monuments. 

So you have decided to visit Italy to experience the famed ‘La Dolce Vita’ (the sweet life). You have read about all the amazing monuments, many of which date back hundreds of years, and as you walk through the streets you think – ‘wow – that is a pretty old monument…but it’s sooo white’ or ‘wow that needs a bit of a clean’ (the latter is what you will think more often than not!).

I decided to take a stroll through Rome, and while everybody, and I mean everybody knew about the ‘Fontana di Trevi’ and the endless works of the Colosseum, I got curious and decided to ‘research’ (it’s a big word) what else has gotten a makeover. 

To my surprise the biggest donations are all from fashion houses!

So Italian icons helping…well…Italian icons. Makes sense really and look, I’m all for it because if the government can no longer pay for it, it’s good that we see some of those ‘alta moda’ brands put their money to good use – really good use and not pay ‘ridiculously good looking’ models millions, for a ‘blue steel’ look. 

Now many of you will be cynical (those that are Italians will be for sure – it’s what we do) and think to yourself – yeah they paid but surely they are getting some ‘benefits’ for their ‘acts of kindness’.

Now being a marketer myself, I see how such donations would be part of a marketing campaign and probably cheaper than Christmas/New Year ads on Times Square or on TV during a Champions League game (for us Europeans).

While they claim it’s ‘for the good of the city’, at this stage I do not really care. If it means I get to walk past a beautiful Spanish Steps or a cleaner Colosseum, I say why not! This type of philanthropic work is welcome, also because, someone had to do it, for the good of Italy’s heritage. 

A touch of ‘alta moda’ for Italy’s Monuments

Il Colosseo

monument colosseum
The Colosseum. Photo Dec, 15

Ongoing: 25 million euros it is going to take to complete the renovations and this is the amount provided by the founders of TOD’s (luxury shoes and other leather goods) which Diego Della Valle (also owns Fiorentina football club) has generously donated to the comune of Rome.

They will last until 2017 but as you can see from the photo, one facade remains untouched and is in dire need of some TLC.

So what has TOD’s earned from this deal? Well the exclusive rights to Colosseum images for 15 years + the marketing for the entrance ticket + the guest house which belongs to the ‘Friends of the Colosseum’ association. Not a bad deal, considering what icon the Colosseum is to Rome and all of Italy.

Personally, I feel it’s a win/win and we should all be happy that an Italian company, is helping save an Italian monument that I personally adore. Purchase your tickets online at the Coop Culture Website (click to view). 

Fontana di Trevi

monuments Italy
Fontana di Trevi. Photo Dec, 15

Completed: For all those that are in love with the film ‘La Dolce Vita’ the restoration of this amazing work of art, is a blessing!

For La Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain) the comune of Rome, to update yet another iconic Italian icon, was given approximately 2.2million EUROS from the roman born fashion brand Fendi. After nearly 18 months, the Trevi Fountain is finally open to the public and shines in all its glory. As part of its ‘Fendi for Fountains’ initiative, Fendi also completed a make over of the ‘Quattro Fontane’ (1588 and 1593), located in the heart of the city.

Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti

monuments spanish steps
A closed Spanish Steps. Photo Nov, 15

Completed: An empty Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti (Spanish Steps) is a rare sight (photo in November 2015).

In this case, it is Bulgari that have splashed 1.5million EUROS to see this Roman Holiday backdrop and Italian icon, look like it did when it was built in 1726.

It seems that there is no underlying ‘deal’ for this restoration but according to the Comune di Roma website, Bulgari opened its first shop in Via Sistina and considers the Spanish Steps to be its symbol. The steps will partially reopen on 7 December, 2015 and be completed by late summer 2016. 

The steps reopened in September, 2016. See what the finished Spanish Steps looks like via my Tourist by Chance Instagram

Ponte di Rialto

monuments rialto bridge
Rialto Bridge. Photo circa ’09

Ongoing: Even those that have not had the pleasure to visit Venice have heard of Ponte di Rialto. After all, it is the oldest bridge crossing of the Grand Canal.

The bridge opened in 1591 and has resisted the test of time, however, the moment has arrived to bring splendour back to this amazing piece of architecture, art and engineering.

The ‘benefactor’ of the Ponte di Rialto is Renzo Rossi, founder of Diesel and head of Only The Brave holding. His company has donated 5million EUROS for this restoration and it will take an estimated 18 months, with the grand opening scheduled for the end of 2016. 

Piramide Cestia

monuments italy Piramide Cestia
Piramide Cestia, Dec, 15

Completed: When you think of Pyramids, you think the Pyramid of Giza! Well no more! Rome also has a Pyramid built between 18 and 12 b.c. in no more than 330 days by Caio Cestio.

Thanks to Yugo Yagi (importer and exporter of garment and fashion accessories) and 2 million EUROS later, the 2,264.94 meter squared surface, made entirely of Carrara marble, was completed in 327 days.

It is now also possible to enter the Pyramid, which was used as a tomb for Caius Cestius. Inside, frescos, which had not yet been unveiled, are now open to the public. 

See my most recent post of my tour with L’Asino D’Oro – Pyramid of Cestius | Discovering the Pyramid of Rome


monuments uffizi
The Uffizi Renovations. Photo Oct, 15

Completed: Reopened in mid September 2015, the Uffizi, the most famous museum in the world (equal only to the Louvre in Paris), also went through a bit of a touch up.

In this case, the benefactor was none other than Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A with a donation of approximately 600,000EUR for a wing of the Uffizi – 8 rooms of the 32 were renovated.

The city of Florence was where the incredible story of Salvatore Ferragamo began, so it was only fit that it would be this particular fashion house to look after an icon of the city and Italy.

The Uffizi Official Website (click to view), is a great place to start on the history, ticket purchases and useful information on this important art gallery.

Quattro Fontane

Completed: Maybe the least known but amazing works of art nevertheless, the Quattro Fontane (Four Fountains) are located in the center of town, at the intersection of Via XX Settembre and Via delle Quattro Fontane.

They are works of Domenico Fontana and Pietro da Cortona, that took place between 1588 and 1593. The fountains are said to represent the River Tiber, the River Aniene, the Goddess Diana and the Goddess Juno.

The beneficiary for these four fountains is yet again Fendi, as part of the Fendi for Fountains initiative, for a total of 320,000EUR.


Of course, these are just some of the more famous monuments that have had the fortune to get these renovations underway. With about 50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the incredible amount of museums, fountains, frescos, and more, Italy will require a lot of help and many more benefactors. But for now, lets start with these because the important thing is getting the ball rolling and the rest will follow.

Do you have photos of the newly restored monuments you would like to share or know of other famous restorations worth mentioning? Send the details and photo at touristsbychance@gmail.com!





6 thoughts on “A touch of ‘alta moda’ for Italy’s Monuments

  1. Pingback: Living in Italy | The good, the bad and the great
  2. Isn’t the Duomo di Milano also being renovated right now? It’s absolutely beautiful, I’ve visited there in November!

    1. It is going through a restoration, however, unlike the above mentioned, the Duomo is continuously having works done on it, due to the complexity of the building. Will be sure to add it though! If you have a photo, would you like to send one through? I will add it to the post! 🙂 Thanks for the input and hope you enjoyed Milan!

    1. Thank you Siddhartha! The Fontana di Trevi is amazing indeed and after the works it’s even more incredible! I too hope many more monuments get much needed help.

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