Restoring Rome, from the Emperors to AS Roma

In Imperial Rome it was the role of the emperor to restore the city following damage done via civil war or fire. Suetonius tells us that Augustus and Vespasian led the restoration of the city when they came to power[1]. We know Titus[2] and Domitian[3] also took part in restoration projects after the fire of AD80 and there was another great fire in AD192 that Septimius Severus would have had to restore and rebuild parts of the city following[4]. Below you can view our video on the natural disasters that caused destruction in ancient Rome.

AIRC Director Darius Arya also recently live-streamed from the Porticus of Octavia after its recent restorations were finished.

Whilst the city still relies on the differing administrative groups to undertake the bulk of restoration works and conservation, it does also allow private firms to participate[5]. In recent years, restorations have started to come from a wider range of sources including large corporations. In 2014 the City of Rome published a list of how much it would cost to restore a number of sites, totalling €500 million. Since then Bulgari have paid for the Spanish Steps to be restored, Tod financed the Colosseum restoration and Fendi famously sponsored the restoration of the Trevi Fountain.

The Mausoleum of Augustus is currently having its long overdue restoration sponsored by Telecom Italia. The restoration of the mausoleum began in April 2017 and includes holographic information panels around the site perimeter featuring details about the life of Augustus and the monument. Watch our video on the restorations by these private and public donors for more information:

We bring the topic of restoration up now as following AS Roma’s recent win against Barcelona (Tuesday April 10) the President of AS Roma took a celebratory dip in one of the Piazza del Popolo fountains - the latest occurrence in a series of widely reported instances of people climbing in to Rome’s water features[6].

As a result of damage and other disruptions caused by events like this there has been a blanket ban on trespassing in the Eternal City’s fountains in place for some time now. President Pallotta was rightly fined for his transgression and seeing the error of his ways, released an announcement in which he thanked the Mayor for his €450 fine and discouraged people from copying him. He then went on to announce a donation of €230,000 to help repair Fontana del Pantheon in Piazza della Rotonda stating that the only reason people should be in the fountains is if they are fixing them.

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This journal entry was written by Jamie Heath, a member of our digital team. Connect with Jamie on Twitter today for all things Rome and football.

[1] Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Divus Augustus 28 & Divus Vespasianus 8, 9. [2] Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Divus Titus 8 [3] See Jones, B. W., 1992: p.81 and Blake, M. E., 1959: p.99. [4] One can still see the inscription on the Pantheon that Septimius had put there after he restored it. We also know he restored the Temple of Peace as he then used it to house the Forma Urbis Romae.[5] Darius talks with Christian Snider doing work with his firm Kavaklik on the Baths of Diocletian in his podcast, listen and subscribe here: [6] An Independent article from last summer that includes a list of instances where tourists climbed in the fountains of Rome, predominantly the Trevi but also in Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Navona.

Preserving the Pantheon

Preserving the Pantheon

The Institute is committed to preserving Rome's past and successfully communicating the web of interrelated topics- history, heritage preservation, architecture, conservation, accessibility.  When the Villa of Hadrian was threatened with the construction of a landfill nearby we collaborated with colleagues successfully to stop that disastrous plan. When the Macrinus "gladiator tomb" site was threatened with reburial, we stepped in and voiced concerns that ultimately were part of a constructive outcry to find new solutions to allow excavation to continue and the preservation of the site begin; that heritage enterprise continues, productively and with great promise.  Read more about our preservation initiatives.