Beyond the Past: sponsoring cultural heritage in Rome

marforioThe other day, as I viewed the new exhibit, L’eta’ dell’equilibrio, in the Capi­to­line Muse­ums, I pleas­antly came across the ongo­ing con­ser­va­tion project of the Mar­forio statue in the court­yard of the Brac­cio Nuovo.   The colos­sal, reclin­ing river god became one of Rome’s most famous “talk­ing stat­ues” and was located in the Roman Forum before being trans­ferred to the Capi­to­line Hill.

The spon­sor is Swarovski, and its 100,000 euro con­tri­bu­tion rep­re­sents a new phe­nom­e­non that I pre­dict will con­sti­tute a grow­ing trend, for the ben­e­fit of Rome, Italy, and cul­tural her­itage at large.  The Ger­man lux­ury brand joins the ranks of other, related spon­sors, includ­ing, most notice­ably, Tod’s, which gave a 25 mil­lion euro dona­tion for the Colos­seum spon­sor­ship and Laura Bia­giotti in 2007 which gave 200,000 euros, for the foun­tains of Piazza Far­nese. Although the Tod’s con­tri­bu­tion is not with­out headaches and pit­falls, the more that such agree­ments are made, and clearly delin­eated, the greater the success.

Other, related spon­sor­ships that have have been con­ducted suc­cess­fully include the Amer­i­can Express Foun­da­tion’s long­stand­ing sup­port for World Mon­u­ments Fund, involved in Rome projects Santa Maria Anti­qua, Tem­ple of Her­cules and Tem­ple of Por­tunus in the Forum Boar­ium.  (AmEx Foun­da­tion also gave my orga­ni­za­tion the fund­ing to study and exca­vate in the Park of the Aque­ducts, an under­val­ued and under­stud­ied area of ancient Rome’s sub­ur­bium.)  Another exam­ple is the Alda Fendi Foun­da­tion’s impor­tant exca­va­tion and preser­va­tion of an impor­tant sec­tion of the Basil­ica Ulpia in the Forum of Tra­jan.
As cool and avant-garde as these ini­tia­tives are, how­ever, they are largely absent in the social media dis­course.  It is truly a missed oppor­tu­nity since these great projects  eas­ily can be for­mat­ted into read­ily con­sum­able pack­ages of visu­al­iza­tion, like Insta­gram pho­tos and short videos, to fur­ther their impact on the pub­lic, always inter­ested in cul­tural her­itage and its preser­va­tion.  It’s time to change that and make #cul­tur­al­her­itage trendy.

DiscussionLeave a comment Category Archaeology, Conservation, Culture, Excavation, Latin, Rome, Sponsorship Tags , , , , , , , , , , ,

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