Italy: Non abbastanza monete nella fontana…

by Sally Steele

 

La Dolce Vita, and the Trevi Fountain

La Dolce Vita, and the Trevi Fountain

Non abbastanza monete nella fontana…not enough coins in the fountain!

Italy has the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, currently 75. In a country which bleeds culture, history is an irreplaceable natural resource. We have seen first-hand that Italy is crumbling. To the rescue come some legendary names in fashion helping to revitalize, preserve and embrace Italian landmarks. Unfortunately, the U.S. has only 22 sites on the list, and 12 tentative sites.

Agrigento, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

Agrigento, Valley of the Temples, Sicily, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

From The Independent, July 2014:

“It’s supposed to be the gold standard for conservation. But is Unesco’s World Heritage project harming the very places it seeks to protect?”

“Since its inception, 37 years ago, Unesco World Heritage has become a global brand whose seal is slapped on the planet’s most precious places. The Taj Mahal is on the list, alongside the Pyramids of Giza and the Grand Canyon. These are the man-made and natural wonders considered to be of such outstanding value to humanity that their importance transcends borders, politics – and even economics. They are deemed deserving of the ultimate layer of protection – to be placed beyond the reach of polluters, developers, looters, bombers, and the ravages of time. The World Heritage seal is a guarantee of preservation.”

“At least that’s the perception. But now many within the conservation community are convinced Unesco is failing. They say the moribund organization is teetering on its once sound foundations as its principles and priorities crumble under the weight of bureaucracy and outside influence. The World Heritage emblem has come to represent a grandiose marketing tool – fodder for “things to see before you die” coffee-table books.”

“Not without controversy, UNESCO continues adding to the list, and donors filled with cultural/geographic patrimony do step forward. The history of benevolence with respect to the icons of Italy is interesting, not enough, continuing, albeit urgent. As if there wasn’t sufficient reason to buy Italian, history, quality, design, timlessness.”

Siracusa, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

Siracusa, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

From the Associated Press October, 1999:

“Architectural restorations are leaving their mark on the Vatican – and so are corporate sponsors seeking the public’s support and good publicity. On Thursday, Pope John Paul II, in a flood-lit, nationally televised evening ceremony in St. Peter’s Square, lavished praise on a $5 million, 2 1/2-year scrubbing of St. Peter’s Basilica’s facade paid for by Italy’s state energy company, ENI. Earlier in the day, ENI’s chief executive, Vittorio Mincato, unveiled a plaque, placed on the roof of the basilica behind the clock, to commemorate the sponsorship. Corporate sponsors are increasingly eager to help clean and restore artwork, church buildings and monuments in Italy blackened over the years by grime and soot. The Vatican embraced corporate sponsorship in a big way, starting with a Japanese television network’s (NHK) funding of the restoration of Michelangelo’s frescoed ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, a project which spanned the entire 1980s. Last year, a German appliance-maker paid for the cleaning of Bernini’s Colonnade cradling the square, where pilgrims’ exhaust-discharging tour buses sometimes park. Renzo Russo, founder of clothing company Diesel, is providing funds ($6.7 million) to restore and clean the oldest bridge spanning Venice’s Grand Canal, the Rialto. Fendi has pledged to restore five of Rome’s best-known fountains, beginning with the iconic 17th century Trevi fountain.”

Venice, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

Venice, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

From CBS News, July 2011:

“Earlier this month Italy’s national patrimony association, Italia Nostra, sent up an emergency flare, calling on UNESCO to put Venice on its danger list to try to stop the rampant destruction. “You want a Venice without the lagoons, keep cutting our funding,” says Lidia Fersuoch, president of the Venetian Italia Nostra chapter. “We’ve got uncontrollable tourism … and the Grand Canal has become an aquatic superhighway for boats. Yet no one invests in any restoration or maintenance. At this rate, there will soon be nothing left.”

“Few people understand the power of branding as well as Diego Della Valle, head of the luxury-leather-goods company Tod’s, and his friend, Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo. Acting like modern versions of the Renaissance Medicis, they are stepping in to save Italy’s heritage with cash donations, sponsorships, and the power of their social network. At La Scala in Milan on a recent summer afternoon, the sound of tapping hammers and buzzing chain saws echoed between the decaying walls with joyful fortissimo as Della Valle settled into a red-velvet chair in a mezzanine row. The construction noise—more than the faint hum from invisible wind instruments playing somewhere backstage—was music to his ears; the shoe magnate has given more than $7 million to the storied opera house—the largest donation in the theater’s 233-year history, and a gift that will keep the singers singing for a few seasons yet, despite a budget crunch that otherwise threatens Italy’s famed patrimony. “La Scala is easily one of the top 10 symbols of Italy’s cultural excellence,” Della Valle said. “That makes it vital to our global image. Closing it would send a message to the rest of the world that Italy doesn’t care.”

Tiber River, Rome, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

Tiber River, Rome, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

From The Guardian, January 2013:

“Fendi throws coins in Rome’s crumbling Trevi Fountain. Fashion house gives over €2m to fund restoration of baroque masterpiece as austerity bites into Italian cultural patrimony. The urgency of the Trevi fountain project became clear last summer, when chunks of stone and plaster fell off its facade and emergency repairs costing €320,000 were carried out. The authorities then undertook a survey of the fountain. Alarmed by what it revealed, they launched an appeal to large companies and private individuals to fund “an act of social patronage”. As part of the Fendi makeover, the Trevi’s facade and statues will be cleaned and its basin given a fresh waterproofing.”

Amalfi Coast, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

Amalfi Coast, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

From CBS News, December 2013:

“After almost three years of debate and delay, restoration work on Rome’s ancient Colosseum has begun. Scaffolding began to obscures part of the immense structure in the heart of the Italian capital more than a month ago, but a ceremony this week marked the official start of work. Diego Della Valle, founder and chief executive of the Italian fashion and luxury design brand Tod’s, stumped up the cash to restore what is considered one of the world’s most iconic monuments, and a lasting symbol of Imperial Rome. He’s made 25 million euros ($33 million) available for the project to rejuvenate the structure, which is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre — the largest in the world. Della Valle, who first announced his donation in 2010, lamented the years of delay at a news conference this week announcing the beginning of restoration work. Legal action brought by consumer associations and trade unions was largely behind the three-year wait.”

“Della Valle said he hoped the restoration work would be complete, as planned, within three years, and that it will show Italy is capable of maintaining its valuable heritage — something which must be safeguarded at all costs in a country where history and culture are such huge draws for the lucrative tourism sector.”

“Della Valle said many of Italy’s most iconic tourist attractions “are literally falling apart,” and said the rapport between public institutions and the private sector leaves much to be desired. He said investors are scared away from backing public projects by the sheer amount of government red tape involved, but warned the state could no longer be expected to maintain its immense cultural wealth without additional private funding.”

Segesta, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

Paestum, Campania, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

From blouinartinfo.com, June 2014:

Gucci has become the latest in a string of Italian fashion companies chipping in to save their country’s masterpieces of art and archaeology. Using half of all proceeds from ticket sales to its Gucci Museo, the Florentine luxury brand will channel 340,000 euros toward funding the restoration — from ensuring the correct lighting to antipollution protection — of ten 16th-century tapestries in the Sala dei Duecento of the storied Palazzo Vecchio, Florence’s town hall, and allowing them to be displayed for public viewing on a quarterly rotating basis.”

“Last month, another Florentine fashion company, Salvatore Ferragamo, pledged to donate 600,000 euros, to renovate eight rooms at the Uffizi Gallery.”

“Elsewhere in Italy, Tod’s is supporting the restoration of the Colosseum in Rome; Fendi is supporting a four-year project to restore the Trevi Fountain and provide a facelift for the Complex of the Four Fountains; Renzo Rosso, president of OTB Group (which holds Maison Martin Margiela, Marni, Viktor & Rolf, and Diesel), is funding a makeover of Venice’s iconic Ponte di Rialto; while Brunello Cucinelli has restored the Etruscan Arch in Perugia, and the medieval village of Solomeo.”

Prada is restoring the fortress in the Tuscan city of Arezzo to recover the antique Church of San Donato in Cremona, as well as Giorgio Vasari’s “Last Supper,” which was seriously damaged in a flood in 1966.”

Naples Harbor, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

Naples Harbor, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

 

The World Heritage Convention: The most significant feature of the 1972 World Heritage Convention is that it links together in a single document the concepts of nature conservation and the preservation of cultural properties. The Convention recognizes the way in which people interact with nature, and the fundamental need to preserve the balance between the two. The idea of creating an international movement for protecting heritage emerged after World War I. The 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage developed from the merging of two separate movements: the first focusing on the preservation of cultural sites, and the other dealing with the conservation of nature.

 

RTEmagicC_Infografica_UNESCO_EN_50_txdam110073_2fdcd2.jpg

 

Villa Adriana, Tivoli, Italy, photograph by Steve Winer

Villa Adriana, Tivoli, Italy, photograph by Steve Winer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Villa Adriana, Tivoli, Italy, photograph by Steve Winer

Villa Adriana, Tivoli, Italy, photograph by Steve Winer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Heritage Sites in Italy:

  • Rock Drawings in Valcamonica
  • Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci
  • Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura
  • Historic Centre of Florence
  • Piazza del Duomo, Pisa
  • Venice and its Lagoon
  • Historic Centre of San Gimignano
  • The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera
  • City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto
  • Crespi d’Adda
  • Ferrara, City of the Renaissance, and its Po Delta
  • Historic Centre of Naples
  • Historic Centre of Siena
  • Castel del Monte
  • Early Christian Monuments of Ravenna
  • Historic Centre of the City of Pienza
  • The Trulli of Alberobello
  • 18th-Century Royal Palace at Caserta with the Park, the Aqueduct of Vanvitelli, and the San Leucio Complex
  • Archaeological Area of Agrigento
  • Archaeological Areas of Pompei, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata
  • Botanical Garden (Orto Botanico), Padua
  • Cathedral, Torre Civica and Piazza Grande, Modena
  • Costiera Amalfitana
  • Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto)
  • Residences of the Royal House of Savoy
  • Su Nuraxi di Barumini
  • Villa Romana del Casale
  • Archaeological Area and the Patriarchal Basilica of Aquileia
  • Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park with the Archeological Sites of Paestum and Velia, and the Certosa di Padula
  • Historic Centre of Urbino
  • Villa Adriana (Tivoli)
  • Assisi, the Basilica of San Francesco and Other Franciscan Sites
  • City of Verona
  • Isole Eolie (Aeolian Islands)
  • Villa d’Este, Tivoli
  • Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto (South-Eastern Sicily)
  • Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy
  • Monte San Giorgio
  • Etruscan Necropolises of Cerveteri and Tarquinia
  • Val d’Orcia
  • Syracuse and the Rocky Necropolis of Pantalica
  • Genoa: Le Strade Nuove and the system of the Palazzi dei Rolli
  • Mantua and Sabbioneta
  • Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes
  • The Dolomites
  • Longobards in Italy. Places of the Power (568-774 A.D.)
  • Prehistoric Pile dwellings around the Alps
  • Medici Villas and Gardens in Tuscany
  • Mount Etna
  • The Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato

The Boulevardiers are in madly love with Italy. Having seen many and hoping to see all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Italy, we support doing anything & everything to preserve them. You can donate directly, here: UNESCO.

Assisi, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

Assisi, Italy, photograph by Kim Steele

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