Monday, January 24, 2011

Colosseum Has a New Sugar Daddy

A call for bids began last July for contractors hoping to take part in the reservation of Rome's most famous monument, the Colosseum. While the bid process continues, until now it was uncertain where the actual funds for the restoration would come from. More attention has been drawn to the dilemma after an ancient dwelling in Pompeii suddenly crumbled to the ground, an embarrassing blow to the Italian state.
It appears as though help is on the way from the UK. After a grueling search for someone to pay for much needed renovations to Rome's crumbling Colosseum, Diego Della Valle, president of Tod's (UK leather goods producer) has pledged 25 million dollars in restoration funds.
As anyone who has recently been sightseeing in Rome can tell you, the Flavian Amphitheatre has seen better days. It's difficult to count all the fires, earthquakes, lightning strikes, and barbarian attacks this massive arena has endured.
Completed in 80 AD, the arena was home to all types of Ancient Roman games, from gladiator battles to mock safaris and naval battles, entertaining up to 55,000 Romans in its three levels of seating.
In an article in “Il Sole 24 Ore” today, Lazio regional president Renata Polverini was quoted as saying “Just as the world likes to imitate Tod's leather goods, let's hope they'll imitate with large donations too”.

Image courtesy of creative commons.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sightseeing in Rome

Whether it is your first time or your 10th, while sightseeing in Rome you just never know what you might stumble upon. Just since the first of the year, here are a few events that both Romans and tourists sightseeing in Rome have been able to enjoy:

Piazza Navona: the annual Christmas Market and celebration of La Befana, the good witch who brings candy-filled stockings to children on the eve of January 6

St. Peter's Square: As if the massive life sized nativity and giant christmas tree weren't enough to take in at the Vatican, this week there is an event celebrating animals and their trainers. Tourists arriving to tour the Vatican had to do a double take to figure out if they were at Old MacDonald's Farm or the Holy See today!

Piazza Re di Roma: In the middle of the city, this roundabout piazza has been transformed into an ice skating rink and lodge. For 10 Euro, residents and tourists alike can rent skates and have a spin around the piazza, amidst the hustle and bustle of Roman life.

Piazza Vittorio Emanuele: In the Nuovo Mercato Esquilino (the quarter's new covered market), tribal percussion and dance performances are breaking out when least expected. You could be there picking through the oranges and suddenly the place transforms into a hub of rhythm and movement.

(Also in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, the man in the picture, quietly stretching and meditating in the middle of the busy park).

There you have it, as you can see there is always more Sightseeing in Rome to be done, whether you have been here for a day or a decade!
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