As $34-million-restoration of Colosseum nears completion, Italy is still not entirely comfortable with private aid for public treasures.
"The practice of using corporate largess to finance restoration projects for public antiquities was once fairly rare here. But with the nation struggling with a stagnant economy and crushing public debt — Rome is flirting off and on with bankruptcy — politicians are now looking to private companies and international sources to help preserve Italy’s cultural heritage. While private-public partnerships are common in the United States and many other countries, the government has traditionally been responsible for maintaining historical sites in Italy, and even today some historians and preservationists worry that the shift could lead to crass commercialization. Critics complain that companies have exploited cultural sites by commandeering them for elaborate dinners or the display of luxury advertisements." -- Gaia Piangiani and Jim Yardley, the New York Times