Conservation Heritage Italy

Bulgari ‘adopts’ Rome’s Spanish Steps

Luxury firm celebrates 130th anniversary by funding €1.5m restoration of historic landmark

Bulgari steps up

The jewellery and luxury goods company Bulgari has responded to the Italian government’s appeal to restore the Spanish Steps in Rome, with a gift of €1.5m to finance the two-year project, due to start in 2015.

The brand announced the philanthropic gesture last week to coincide with its 130th anniversary. To celebrate, it has also renovated its flagship store on via Condotti, opposite the Roman landmark. “The agreement with the mayor’s office allows us to ‘adopt’ this extraordinary monument of the eternal city that is so representative of Bulgari’s history,” said Jean-Christophe Babin, the French chief executive of Bulgari, which was bought by the LMVH group in 2011.

Rome’s mayor, Ignazio Marino, welcomed Bulgari to the “exclusive club of extraordinary donors” who have recently pledged large sums to the city’s heritage sites. Diego Della Valle, the owner of the shoemaker Tod’s, is giving €25m to the Colosseum, where work began last December after three years of legal wrangling. The fashion house Fendi is backing a €2.1m restoration of the Trevi fountain, announced last January, which is expected to begin in May.

Marino said the cleaning and repair of the Spanish Steps will happen in sections, so that the site can remain open to visitors during the restoration work. The 18th-century staircase linking the Piazza della Spagna at the base with the Piazza Trinità dei Monti above is the longest and widest in Europe. It was last renovated in 1995.

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