After 17 months Rome's Trevi Fountain flows again, as renovations sponsored by Fendi are finally complete. Rough Cut (No reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION STORY: Water coursed back into Rome's Trevi Fountain for the first time in over a year on Tuesday (November 3) as the city showed off the latest privately-funded restoration to its prized landmarks. The stone rendering of Tritons guiding the shell chariot of water god Oceanus glowed with new high-tech lighting after the most drastic clean-up in its more than 250-year history. Marking the end of an aqueduct said to have carried "Virgin Water" to ancient Rome, the fountain now boasts fresh pumps, reinforced stucco ornaments and a pigeon deterrent system, which cost $2.4 million U.S. dollars (2.2 million euros) and was sponsored by fashion house Fendi. "We heard two years ago just by chance that the fountain was losing pieces and we immediately called the Comune di Roma and the mayor gave us a chance to be the sole sponsor, which we did with enthusiasm. So, we are here today to celebrate the ending of the work which for once in Italy is sooner than foreseen," Fendi CEO Pietro Beccari said before the new pumps were turned on. The work began last year, some 25 years after the last major restoration, amid calls for intervention as stone laurel leaves fell from the fountain's facade, which covers one side of Rome's Palazzo Poli. Transparent barriers around the basin and a footbridge that had allowed visitors to observe restorers at work were removed, returning the scene of screen siren Anita Ekberg's late night dip in the 1960 film La Dolce Vita to its former glory. Tourists in the piazza, named after the three roads ("tre vie") that once met there, waited patiently for their chance to throw a coin into the newly-crystalline water in homage to the tradition that doing so guarantees the thrower a return trip to the Italian capital. "Because we want to come so we have to throw a coin in. It's in the movies and it's beautiful, especially now that it's been all cleaned and everything," said Hannah Cowley, a 33 year-old nurse on her honeymoon from Australia. In addition to the promise of returning to Rome, for American tourists Mary and Michael from North Carolina the fountain's past and fame were a major appeal. "The history," said Mary. "And the movie "Three Coins in the Fountain," added Michael. "Everybody thinks about that and everybody comes and throws coins in the fountain to come back again," he said. Fendi, known for its luxurious furs and "Baguette" handbags, is one of an august list of Italian entrepreneurs that have poured money into monuments across the country as a three-year recession further strained public funding. The company reinforced its ties to the eternal city by adding "Rome" to its logo earlier this year, and has also paid to restore the the "Four Fountains" complex and the Fascist-era "Square Colosseum". Italy's Culture Minister Dario Franceschini has called for more public and private investment in Italy's cultural heritage, and introduced tax cuts of up to 65 percent for these donations. Luxury shoemaker Tod's is completing a restoration of the Colosseum amphitheatre, and jeweler Bulgari is giving a sorely-needed face-lift to the Spanish Steps. Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov has pledged to restore the ancient Basilica Ulpia in Rome's forum, and two bridges in Venice have been spruced up courtesy of eye-wear firm Luxottica and the holding company of Diesel jeans founder Renzo Rosso.