Bulgari restore Rome's Spanish Steps

Luxury jeweller celebrates 130th anniversary

Luxury jeweller Bulgari is donating €1.5 million towards the restoration of Rome's Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti, or the Spanish Steps as they are better known.

The jewellery firm describes the refurbishment, which will begin in 2015 and last two years, as a "special gift from Bulgari to its city" to mark its 130th anniversary.

The restoration involves cleaning and repairing the 136 travertine steps on the 18th century baroque-style stairway, which connects Piazza di Spagna with the Trinità dei Monti church above. The last major renovation of the popular tourist site took place in 1995.

Bulgari is the latest luxury brand to provide corporate funding for the restoration of Rome's monuments. After lengthy legal procedures Italian shoe company Tod's has begun a €25 million restoration of the Colosseum while high-end fashion house Fendi is expected to refurbish the Trevi Fountain.

The news comes as Italian premier Matteo Renzi calls on the private sector to step in to restore and maintain the country's heritage monuments amid dwindling government funds.

On the evening of 20 March Carla Bruni, the Italian actress and former first lady of France, inaugurated Bulgari's newly-renovated flagship store on nearby Via dei Condotti.

For the occasion, Bruni wore a Bulgari diamond necklace valued at €8 million, while among the other celebrities in attendance were Italian director Paolo Sorrentino and American actor Adrien Brody.

In 2011 Bulgari was bought by French luxury giant LVMH.

Photo La Repubblica