Fashion brand Tod’s sponsored renovation work
Nearly 2,000 years after its construction, visitors can finally go “backstage” at Rome’s Colosseum. Friday, Italy’s culture minister unveiled a 530-foot walkway over the hypogea, the series of tunnels and cages under the arena’s floor that once held gladiators and wild animals before they were brought to ground level for action. Along the walkway, visitors will be able to see down into the bowels of the ancient stadium, which was completed in A.D. 80 and held between 50,000 and 75,000 for gladiatorial bouts and mock naval battles.
The walkway was funded by fashion group Tod’s, part of a recent tradition of luxury brands paying for renovations and restorations to Rome’s most iconic attractions. Bulgari spent millions restoring the Baths of Caracalla and Spanish Steps and Fendi funded repairs on the Trevi Fountain. It’s a way for brands to pay tribute to Italy’s rich cultural heritage and build goodwill with the general public and government officials.
“The Colosseum is a national symbol of Italy across the world, and its restoration is an opportunity to communicate our support to the cultural heritage of our country, an honor we want to share with everyone,” Tod’s chairman Diego Della Valle said.
Rome’s antiquities might be a bit older than the ones here in the U.S. and thus in more need of some repair, but it’s hardly a stretch to see how brands might want to engender some good PR for themselves by sponsoring restoration of some of the most prominent American national symbols. Would it really be all that surprising to one day hear about, say, Amazon refurbishing the Library of Congress or the Capitol? What about a summer trip to Mount Rushmore sponsored by Coca-Cola? We’ve already copied so many things for the Romans, what’s one more. Seems like that would be the sort of quintessential American public-private partnership.