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Rome to reopen Spanish Steps after renovation
Dancers perform at the Spanish Steps in Rome during the opening night after restoration on September 22, 2016. Rome's Spanish Steps are set to be unveiled today after a year-long refurbishment that returned the stairway to its original splendor. Bulgari, the luxury jewelry house, donating € 1.5m to restore the Spanish Steps, one of the Eternal City’s most precious landmarks, the luxury brand said its gift was a homage to its native Rome. TIZIANA FABI / AFP.


ROME (AFP).- Tourists and locals will on Friday once again be able to saunter up and down the Spanish Steps, after a year-long renovation to the Rome tourist landmark.

The famous marble steps will also stay open at night despite concern about potential damage to one of the architectural jewels of the Eternal City. 

"The steps will not be closed at night. I think it is fundamental to let people have access... and to make them responsible for what they do at them," said Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi.

Discoloured by years of pollution but also caked in chewing gum and stained by wine and coffee spills, the Spanish Steps were restored to their original white glory by a team of 82 workers.

The 1.5 million euro ($1.7 million) restoration of the landmark, made famous in the United States by the 1953 film "Roman Holiday", starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, was financed by upmarket jeweller Bulgari.

The firm's boss Paolo Bulgari has voiced concern about a return by "barbarians" to the Steps, near to which the jeweller has a store.

In February 2015 supporters of Feyenoord Rotterdam, in the capital for a football match against AS Rome, ransacked the Piazza di Spagna at the bottom of the Steps, damaging its main fountain, known to Romans as La Barcaccia.

"The city pledges that the Steps will be maintained for as long as possible in its new splendour, and we will strive to prevent misuse which would damage it," said Raggi.

The landmark, comprising 135 steps on three levels designed by archtect Francesco de Sanctis between 1723 and 1726, had not been restored for 20 years.

The work was the latest in a string of famous Italian monuments to have been renovated with funds from private donors, often from the luxury sector.

The first phase of a multi-million-euro makeover of Rome's Colosseum was completed in July, in a project largely funded by fashion and shoewear group Tod's.

Roman fashion house Fendi paid for a 16-month clean-up of the Trevi fountain which has been acclaimed by visitors. 



© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse






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