Trevi Fountain loses pieces, alarm raised for monument
By Philip Pullella
ROME (Reuters) - Several decorative pieces have fallen off the Trevi Fountain in Rome, raising the alarm that one of the eternal city's most famous structures needs a new major restoration.
At the weekend, a few stone laurel leaves fell from the top frieze of the fountain, which marks the terminal point of one of the aqueducts that brought drinking water to ancient Rome.
Umberto Broccoli, Rome's cultural superintendent, said the damage was "not worrying" and that the detachment was probably due to water infiltration caused by heavy snowfall that hit Rome in February.
Police put barriers around the fountain and restoration experts checked the damage. They removed about five other pieces that appeared to be in danger of falling from the top.
The basin of the fountain, which figured prominently in films such as "La Dolce Vita," "Roman Holiday" and "Three Coins in the Fountain," was to undergo its weekly draining and cleaning on Monday.
Dino Gasperini, Rome city counselor for culture, asked for funds to protect the fountain from any more possible imminent damage and said another full-scale restoration was needed.
The last major restoration of the fountain, whose current form was completed in 1762, was 20 years ago.
While Broccoli said the falls were not worrying, Italy's Greens party said the Italian capital's monuments were in dire condition and announced a campaign where residents can send e-mails to signal dangers to Rome's cultural heritage. Continued...