• Italy's news in English
Italy's crumbling historic ruins get big cash boost
Domus Aurea, built by Emperor Nero, will be among the restoration projects to benefit from the funds. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Italy's crumbling historic ruins get big cash boost

The Local · 5 Jan 2016, 09:10

Published: 05 Jan 2016 09:10 GMT+01:00

An additional €300 million will be spent on restoring over 200 heritage sites, including a palace built by Emperor Nero, across Italy over the next three years, Cultural Minister Dario Franceschini said on Monday.

The funds will be available immediately for the 241 projects, which includes the renovation of palaces, including Rome's Palazzo Venezia, galleries, museums and libraries across Italy, the minister said in a statement.

The move comes amid mounting concern about the state of Italy's vast stock of historic sites. The culture budget has been slashed since the economic crisis hit in 2007, which critics claim has resulted in some of the world's most precious monuments being put at risk. In 2014, Pompeii's Temple of Venus collapsed in heavy rains.

Some €13 million will go towards renovating Domus Aurea, or "Golden House", in the heart of Rome.

The palace, which lies on a hill overlooking the Colosseum, was built by Nero after the great fire of Rome in 64 A.D. had razed the aristocratic dwellings in the area to the ground, and featured groves of fruit trees, vineyards and an artificial lake.

Designed as a party villa rather than a home - with 300 rooms but no sleeping quarters - its walls were covered by extensive gold leaf, semi-precious stones and ivory, and colourful frescoes.

Meanwhile, more than €2 million will be spent on restoring the walls of medieval Siena and more than €6 million will go towards various projects in the canal city of Venice.

After years of spending cuts, Franceshini said the extra money indicates that “culture has returned to the centre of national politics”.

The investment is in addition to €360 million already injected into restoring and maintaining sites in Italy’s impoverished southern regions. The EU has also made significant contributions, putting €41 million into the restoration of Pompeii alone.

The announcement came after premier Matteo Renzi passed the budget for 2016, which included more spending on culture.

Despite the welcome cash boost, much more will be needed to secure the future of Italy's heritage, including funding from the private sector.

Story continues below…

Last year, The Local reported on how crowd funding was being used to get Italy-lovers to finance the repair of the House of the Centaur in Pompeii. Big-name sponsors are funding other works, with luxury shoemaker Tod's financing the restoration of the Colosseum.

And many experts point out that Italy's problems go beyond funding: bureaucracy and corruption mean that money intended for restoration isn't always well spent.

READ MORE: Is red tape threatening Italy's prize ruins?

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Dozens missing in fresh migrant shipwreck: rescuers
Dozens more migrants are reported missing after a fishing boat sank on Friday. Photo: AFP

The Italian coastguard is searching for survivors after an overloaded fishing boat sank off the coast of Libya.

'Racist' Chinese ad causes outrage...but Italy did it first
Screengrab: Qiaobi/YouTube

A TV advert for a Chinese laundry detergent has been widely condemned, with commentators saying it’s the most racist ad to ever be screened. But hang on, a similar one was made in Italy...

Alicia Keys to sing live at Milan Champions League final
Alicia Keys will become the first person to sing live at a Champions League final. Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images/AFP

The final will be held at Milan's San Siro stadium on Saturday.

Crew who sunk with WWII sub 'wanted to be found': relative
The wreck of the P311. Photo: Massimo Domenico Bondone

People were stunned by the discovery of a body-filled, Second World War-era submarine off the coast of Sardinia earlier this week, not least Paul Denison, who told The Local his great-uncle was among the 71 who perished on board.

Man can pay ex-wife's alimony with pizza, Italian court rules
A court in Padua has ruled in favour of a divorced father who pays alimony to his ex-wife in the form of pizza. Photo: Erich Ferdinand/Flickr

Every family's needs are different...

Iconic photos of Hiroshima horror go on show in Rome
Ken Domon at work. Photo: Wikimedia commons

It is the first time the works have gone on display outside Japan.

Why the average ancient Roman worker was dead by 30
The research paints a grim picture of the dangers faced by ancient Roman workers . Photo: Carla Caladarini

The average Roman worker suffered several broken bones, had arthritis at 20 and was dead by 30.

Over 100 feared dead in new migrant boat tragedies in Med
An image taken of Wednesday's migrant shipwreck. Photo: Marina Miltare

Over 100 migrants were feared dead on Thursday after two crowded boats capsized off Libya in separate incidents, with one of the tragedies captured on video that shows dramatic rescues and desperate final moments.

Italian man lay dead in flat for 5 years before anyone noticed
The man's body was found at his home in Cagliari, Sardinia. Photo: Simon Frost

"Nobody questioned his disappearance, nobody went looking for him."

'20 to 30' people dead in new migrant shipwreck
The latest disaster comes two days after five people died while trying to make the crossing to Italy. Photo: Marinare Militare

Between 20 to 30 people have drowned in the latest migrant shipwreck off Libya.

Did a Nazi official save Ponte Vecchio from destruction?
How the brutal murder of an anti-mafia hero altered Sicily
These are the best beaches within easy reach of Rome
Why Italians are falling out of love with the EU
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Business & Money
Foreign, female and a self-made success in arduous Italy
How Italy's richest region is feeling the migrant strain
Rome mulls 'metro museum' after new line unearths ruin
Why Italy's facing a birth rate apocalypse
Why talk of barriers is opening up old wounds in South Tyrol
Huge Roman villa found under Amalfi church set to open
Two men kicked off plane in what captain calls 'racist act'
Meet the expats making a career out of Italian food
'Staying single is why I'm the world's oldest person'
Where can you find the best beaches in Italy?
The ultimate guide to the insanity of driving in Italy
Eight of Rome's most tantalizing foreign food gems
Migrant arrivals in Italy top 30,000 for 2016: navy
Italy’s deadliest earthquakes over the last 100 years
US passports now need six months validity for Italy
Six incredible ways Italy profoundly changed my life
Cheese, wine and family: the Italian way to live beyond 100
jobs available