In Italy, it is the fashion houses rather than the government who have become the guardians of the country's historic monuments. Last year, Prada and Versace opened their wallets to underwrite a year-long cultural restoration of Milan's Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II that was unveiled in March, while it was the Zegnas and Giorgio Armani who generously sponsored the FAI (Fondo Ambiente Italiano, the Italian national trust) in its restoration of Milan's famous modernist Villa Necchi, as well as the Abbey of San Fruttuoso, near Portofino.
In January 2013 Fendi joined the club with the announcement that it would be commencing a €2.5 million project to restore five fountains across its home city of Rome, including the glorious Trevi Fountain. As a brand that was founded in Italy's capital city, the Fendi for Fountains project is one that is particularly close to its heart.
While the Quattro Fontane – a quartet of Late Renaissance fountains at the intersection of Via delle Quattro Fontane and Via del Quirinale – were unveiled in May, the Trevi Fountain is scheduled to start flowing again today, just 17 months after restoration works began.
During the restoration, which was carried out by a team of 26 craftsmen, Rome's Sovrintendenza Capitolina installed a transparent, elevated boardwalk that allowed some three million visitors to get a closer look at the fountain than ever before and watch the craftsmen at work.