A Japanese entrepreneur is privately to sponsor the restoration of Rome's Piramide Cestia near the non-Catholic cemetery in the city’s S. Paolo-Ostiense district.
The €1 million project will be supervised by Italy's ministry for cultural heritage and will see the cleaning and restoration of the 36 metre-high pyramid's badly damaged external walls. The last works took place ten years ago when the entrance and interior were restored, however the frescoes inside the pyramid are now in danger as water seeps through the walls.
Dating from the first century BC and built as a tomb for the powerful Roman magistrate Caius Cestius this is Rome's only existing ancient Egyptian-style pyramid. Experts believe that the structure has evaded collapse over the centuries due to it being incorporated into the Aurelian walls in the years 271-275.
The Japanese businessman has been identified as Yuzu Yakhi who has imported Italian clothes to his chain of 400 outlets in Japan for 40 years.
News of the restoration project comes in the aftermath of the recent announcement that Italian shoe magnate Diego Della Valle is sponsoring the €25 million restoration of the Colosseum, and could signify a new trend in private and corporate sponsorship of Italy's heritage sites.