Gucci Restores Ancient Roman Cliff where Traitors Met their Ghastly End
The Tarpeian Rock, as it is famously known, is steep cliff right in the center of Rome. It is from here that the ancient Romans took traitors, larcenous slaves and perjurers, and those poor souls were hurled to their painful deaths. Even by the blood-thirsty standards of ancient Romans, it was a rather grisly way to die. Now, in the most unlikely of marriages between ancient history and the glamorous world of high fashion, the cliff, which is surprisingly still standing to this day, is going to be restored to it’s former glory with the help of the Florentine fashion giants, Gucci. Clods of earth, and hunks of tufa rock had fallen from the Tarpeian Rock in the summer of 2018 in an incident, which the city officials down-played as a mini-landslide of sorts, and it now needs some serious repairs and loving attention.
Gucci has promised to foot the entire bill for the clean-ship of the site, which is an extension of Capitoline Hill, one of Eternal Rome’s ancient original seven hills. Pathways around the cliff are proposed to be cleared and properly laid while a new lighting system would be installed, warranting a “total restyling” of this historical site. Gucci has neither earmarked a budget, nor divulged the amount it would contribute eventually, but the project is expected to be completed in about 18 months. The Capitoline also houses Rome’s Renaissance-era town hall, called the Campidoglio, which is surprisingly elegant. Gucci has already announced that it proposes to hold its fashion show ‘Cruise 2020’ in May 2019, within the Capitoline Museums, renowned for its world-class assemblage of ancient artifacts and statuaries located right next to the town hall. The Capitoline Museum is the oldest surviving museum complex in the world, dating back to 1471.
The Restoration Projects
According to historical records, right up to the 1st century AD, people who were declared traitors were sentenced to a gory death from the top of the cliff. They would plunge down towards the Roman Forum, which symbolically mimicked being expelled from the sacred city. The surviving portion of the cliff is made mostly of tufa (a highly porous rock) has been dug and carved over the several centuries to create a unique looking natural space. The fashion house said that over the next 24 months, Gucci shall donate adequately to support the entire project of restoring the Tarpean Rock (or the ‘Rupe Tarpea’ as it is locally known), the rock face which lies to the south of Campidoglio.
The restoration project is only the latest example of a series of wealthy fashion brands and design houses coming to the aid of ancient Rome’s cultural heritage which are crumbling. Fendi spent a bomb getting the glorious Trevi Fountain cleaned up, while Tod’s, the shoe company, contributed over £22 million to restore the mighty Colosseum while Bulgari paid £1.3 million for the cleaning of the exquisite Spanish Steps built somewhere around 1723-26. The sweeping stone staircase has been seen in many movies, most recognizable in the Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday, the classic 1953 romantic comedy movie.
More Restoration Projects Announced
Bulgari recently announced their financing of the restoration of 4 ancient Roman temples located in a busy piazza called Largo di Torre Argentina, that lies at the heart of the capital. This is where emperor Julius Caesar’s senators stabbed him to death in 44BC during the Ides of March. Work on the area will be completed by December 2022, according to the Mayor of the city, Virginia Raggi. Bulgari will also contribute €800,000 towards the maintenance of the site, which houses a large number of feral cats and has become a designated cat sanctuary of sorts.
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