Rome Trevi Fountain, symbol of Dolce Vita, to get big facelift

Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:09pm EST
 
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By Philip Pullella

ROME (Reuters) - Anita Ekberg, who famously waded in Rome's Trevi Fountain with Marcello Mastroianni in the 1960 classic film "La Dolce Vita", would probably say "It's about time, darling!"

The fountain, arguably the world's most recognizable, is about to get the most thorough face-lift since it was completed in 1762 and the restoration was presented on Monday by a man who also uses the word darling a lot: fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.

Lagerfeld is artistic director of Fendi, the Italian luxury fashion house which is picking up the tab for 2.2 million euro ($2.9 million) restoration.

"I think its a great idea and a great project. This fountain is a symbol of the Rome like the Colosseum and St Peter's and I am happy that we can all help," said Lagerfeld, wearing a black, high-neck jacket, black lace gloves and black sunglasses.

The 20-month restoration will clean the fountain, which covers the entire facade of Rome's Palazzo Poli with its allegorical statues of Tritons guiding the shell chariot of the god Oceanus illustrating the theme of the taming of the waters.

The restoration will remove calcium deposits, clean the statues, check the strength of steel supporting them, apply new waterproofing to the large basin, fix leaks, install new pumps and electric works and add new barriers to keep pigeons away.

But tourists need not worry. Only one third of the monument will be covered by scaffolding at any time.

The last restoration was about 25 years ago but officials said new techniques developed since then would make it the most thorough cleaning in the fountain's 251-year history.   Continued...

 
German designer Karl Lagerfeld (L) and Creative Director of Fendi, Silvia Fendi arrive to attend a news conference to present a project of cultural patronage that will involve Rome's Trevi fountain and others monuments, in Rome January 28, 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile