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60 Minutes: Scathing Review of Italy's Care of Cultural Heritage...

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Interesting Sixty Minutes show on CBS last Sunday - it started off with an incredulous statement IMO that "Italy has 2/3's of the world's cultural sites" - well that is just pablum as just what is a 'cultural site' and how can Italy have 2/3s of them.

Anyway the gist of the coverage was on how Italy has dropped the ball on upkeep of its many cultural/historical sites - with many being neglected - even such blockbusters as the Colosseum.

The story centered on the Colossum's recent rehab that was funded not by the State but by the Fashion Industry (hope they do not put their name on it too)..

It also mentioned that waterworks in the Trevi Fountain are being replaced with $3.5 million in such private grants and that the Bulgari Company is funding the cleansing of the Spanish Steps and Venice's Rialto Bridge work being funded by $35 million from the same fashion magnate that is funding the Trevi work in Rome..

And the show blamed the lack of State involvement in these and many other desperately need up keepings of such places - saying such things as 'the government bureaucracy is so so top heavy that nothing gets done as lots of tax money is used to support this bloated bureaucracy with little left over for actual works like these.'

It further said that tax evasion is widespread in Italy with 40% paying no tax at all.

Anyway it blamed corruption in government and dereliction of duty as being the reasons many historical sites have suffered from centuries of neglect. And works that are done with government funds tend to take ages to finish (leading one guidebook to once say about some church: "The scaffolding on the front has been there so long that it is now considered to be part of the facade!" and they pointed to many rehab jobs that were started by mysteriously stopped in their tracks for years in some cases.

I've always been appalled at how even major Italian historical sites are allowed to go into neglect - and yes the scaffolding on say churches is ubiquitous and with such a sheer abundance of such sites it is a daunting task but still it always perplexed me.

Some Trivia About the Colosseum:

The show said there is no evidence that Christians were ever killed in the Colosseum though many were executed all over Rome.

Anyway I found the coverage interesting if at times of dubious accuracy - 2/3's of the world's cultural sites - that is sheer drivel based on some arbitrary list it would seem.

Anyway when you visit the spiffed up new Colosseum thank the Italian Fashion Industry!

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