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The Colosseum, brought to you by Tod's? Newsweek reports that European fashion houses are stepping up their charitable giving to help save historic sites in Italy that the government can't afford to maintain. A decade ago, Italy's government budget to restore cultural and archaeological sites was $272 million, and last year, it was only $76 million.
Now, private investors are contributing large sums of money to restore Italy's most famous tourist attractions. Tod's is committed to a $34 million, multi-year project to restore the Colosseum, while Bulgari has pitched in $2 million to help restore the famed Spanish Steps. Fendi is behind the $2.7 million restoration of the Trevi Fountain. And Diesel's Renzo Rosso funded the $6.8 million restoration of the Rialto Bridge, while the children of fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo have helped restore the Uffizi art gallery.
"These donations and sponsorships help brands align themselves with the principles of philanthropy espoused by wealthy, intelligent, sophisticated consumers," LS:N Global editor Lucie Greene told Newsweek. Is there a downside to this feel-good philanthropy? Tod's experienced some backlash when it was revealed that in exchange for restoring the Colosseum, the brand negotiated the right to publish its logo on Colosseum tickets.
· Can Fashion Save the Coliseum? [Newsweek]
· Even Beyoncé Couldn't Save Gucci's Do-Gooder Campaign [Racked]