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Save Rome’s Colosseum from Contemporary Roman Culture

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Even something as obviously beneficial to world cultural heritage as the restoration of Rome’s most recognizable monument, the Colosseum, or Flavian Amphitheater, has become steeped in controversy. ┬áDiego della Valle, owner of Tod’s footwear, has threatened to rescind his offer to underwrite the project after allegations of inappropriateness in the contract for the restoration.

The concept of benefactors, although it can be traced to Rome through the etymology of words like “mecenate” (derived from the name of Gaius Maecenas, generous friend and adviser to the Roman Emperor Augustus), is foreign to Rome today, and Saving Roman Culture is often just another way to make money. Thus worthy efforts like Della Valle’s end up under suspicion, Italians unfamiliar with arts patronage asking “what is in it for him?”

After my own experience as President of the American Institute for Roman Culture in the past (until the actions of several board members led me to resign to preserve my own professional dignity) I understand how even honest efforts to Save Rome can be dragged down by a corrupt or mismanaged administration.

 

 

 

 

 

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Written by Tom Rankin

January 12, 2012 at 9:43 pm

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