ROMA ARCHEOLOGICA & RESTUARO ARCHITETTURA: ARRIVEDERCI MUSSOLINI | CIAO FENDI – Rome may sell Square Colosseum to Fendi as city faces cash crisis, THE GUARDIAN, U.K., (16|02|2015).
Built under orders of Benito Mussolini, structure could become home of fashion house as state-owned property business struggles with money.
A cash shortage in Rome could see the city’s fascist-era Square Colosseum sold to the fashion house Fendi, despite calls in the Italian capital to keep the building in state hands.
More than 70 years after the Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro was built under the orders of Benito Mussolini it could soon be reinvented as a home for luxury goods.
Board members of EUR SpA, a state-owned firm, which holds property in south Rome, will meet on Monday to decide how to save the cash-strapped company.
The business is facing crisis talks after allegations that some of its staff were involved in the “Mafia Capitale” scandal that erupted in December, revealing widespread corruption in Rome’s public administration.
The group’s president, Pierluigi Borghini, said the plans to recapitalise EUR SpA could lead to its most famous asset being sold off. “We have to decide which buildings we want to sell. An offer has not been made but several companies are interested,” he told the Guardian. Borghini added that the Square Colosseum has an estimated value of €50m (£37m), although this sum has still to be verified.
Italian media named a possible buyer as Fendi, which already rents part of the Square Colosseum, although a spokesperson for the fashion house was unavailable to speak to the Guardian on Sunday.
The idea to sell off the building has been criticised at city hall, which owns 10% of EUR SpA to the finance ministry’s 90%. Giovanni Caudo, an architect and councillor, said it would be impossible to sell the Square Colosseum.
“At the moment, selling the Colosseum to a private company is absolutely not a consideration,” he told the Guardian. “Borghini is the president of the EUR SpA, but the municipality disagrees with the sale. I think it’s only to put media pressure on the state.”
Caudo put the company’s property assets at €1bn, spread across the EUR district, which was chosen by Mussolini to host some of the most impressive works of fascist architecture.
Despite the councillor’s opposition, the proposal has won some support. Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, former director of the British School at Rome, said selling off the Square Colosseum would enable Italy to better focus on its ancient sites.
“The Italian state owns way too much heritage; with owning heritage comes vast responsibility. It can’t be anything other than a good thing to shed vast amounts of property. It needs to concentrate on its priorities, like the real Colosseum,” he told the Guardian.
Rome’s better-known Colosseum, the ancient Flavian Amphitheatre, is receiving a €25m makeover funded by shoe brand Tod’s. Wallace-Hadrill said it would be catastrophic to sell the Colosseum to the company, but winning funding from private donors was a legitimate way to protect Italy’s heritage.
Fendi throws coins in Rome’s crumbling Trevi fountain
Shoemaker Tod’s is behind a €25m restoration project at the ancient Colosseum, with work now well under way after years of bureaucratic hold-ups.
Fendi has put its name to the €2.18m clean-up of both the Four Fountains and the Trevi Fountain, with tourists invited onto a purpose-built walkway and new rules about where they can throw coins.
Bulgari, the luxury jewellers, has promised Rome €1.5m to spruce up the Spanish Steps over the next two years. The donation was described by Bulgari chief executive, Jean-Christophe Babin, as a “special gift” from the company to the Italian capital.
FONTE | SOURCE:
THE GUARDIAN, U.K., (16|02|2015).
— ROMA ARCHEOLOGIA e RESTAURO ARCHITETTURA: The Roman architecture of Mussolini,still standing. One of the world’s great cities bears the signature of a Fascist dictator, and nobody wants to talk about it. THE BOSTON GLOBE (13 July 2014).