Telecom Italia Colosseum has a certain ring to it. Or maybe Fiat Group Colosseum will triumphantly cruise into the winners circle. But then again, the Banca Popolare di Milano may have deeper pockets to make the Colosseum its own.
If all goes to plan, a corporation could soon be restoring the Roman Colosseum, one of the most-recognized antiquities in the world.
As Ella Ide of Reuters reports in Italy Turns to Private Sector to Help Colosseum in the Washington Post, the cash-strapped Italian government is looking for a corporate angel to pony up $32 million to completely restore the Colosseum and make it fully accessible to visitors by 2013.
Of course, I’m using the phrase “naming rights” ironically. The article does not specify whether the donor will plaster its name on the facade. Plus, there is precedent. The Vatican carried through a controversial deal with Japan’s Nippon Television Network to fund the restoration of Michaelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. In return, Nippon filmed the entire project and also released a massive coffee table book documenting the process.
Are corporations the new-millenium Medici? Do business conglomerates know the first thing about restoring priceless antiquities? How do you feel about the Colosseum going begging?