In Italy, it is the fashion houses rather than the government who have become the guardians of the country’s historic monuments. Last year, Prada and Versace underwrote a year-long cultural restoration of Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (unveiled in March), while Ermenegildo Zegna and Giorgio Armani sponsored the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano, the Italian national trust) in its restoration of Milan’s famous modernist Villa Necchi, as well as the Abbey of San Fruttuoso, near Portofino.
In January 2013 Fendi joined the club with the announcement that it would be commencing a €2.5 million project to restore five fountains across Rome, including Fontana di Trevi (made famous in Fellini’s La Dolce Vita in 1960, when Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg waded through the fountain). As a brand that was founded in Italy’s capital city, the Fendi for Fountains project is one that is particularly close to its heart.
While the Quattro Fontane – a quartet of Late Renaissance fountains at the intersection of Via delle Quattro Fontane and Via del Quirinale – were unveiled in May, Fontana di Trevi, after 17 months of restoration work and two months ahead of its scheduled completion, has been restored to its original magnificence thanks to Fendi, who funded the project. According to Yahoo!, the restoration reportedly cost approximately $2.2 million.
During the restoration, which was carried out by a team of 26 craftsmen, Rome’s Sovrintendenza Capitolina installed a transparent, elevated boardwalk that allowed some three million visitors to get a closer look at the fountain than ever before and watch the craftsmen at work.