Marino traveled to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, over the weekend to consult with Saudi tourism minister and art enthusiast Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Marino brought a list of nine multi-million dollar projects, including restorations of the 19th-century Palazzo delle Esposizioni exhibition center and the Seven Halls, an ancient cistern that supplied the Baths of Trajan, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
The Saudi monarchy has agreed to establish a Rome historical monument fund, and Rome has agreed to loan artworks to Saudi museums, ANSA said.
Funding from private and international sources to restore and maintain Rome’s historic architecture is recent, but sought-after, phenomenon in the cash-strapped city. The luxury jeweler Bulgari last week agreed to pay for the restoration of the Spanish steps, and the owner of Tod’s, an Italian shoe manufacturer, is underwriting the costs of restoring the Colosseum.
The fashion house Fendi has agreed to renovate the Trevi Fountain, Japanese patron Yuzo Yagi paid for the restoration of the Pyramid of Cestius, and in October 2013 the Capolitine Museum’s Hall of the Philosophers reopened after a 100,000-euro ($137,762) restoration paid for by the nation of Azerbaijan.