As part of austerity measures enacted by the Italian Parliament this spring, the city of Rome will soon begin construction of a glass dome that will envelope the Trevi Fountain, one of that city’s most iconic attractions. The dome, which will enclose the Palazzo Polli, the Baroque structure that serves as the backdrop of the famous fountain, and close off the cobblestone street Via delle Muratte, will allow the city to collect admission to the landmark.
“The fountain has always been free of charge,” explains Gianni Bugiardo, an official with the Rome Tourism Board, “but it is also one of the top 10 things that tourists want to see. So, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to raise funds for the state and create a new tourist experience.” This is not the first time that the Eternal City has sought to enclose one of its landmarks. In 2006, city officials re-opened the Ara Pacis, an ancient altar dedicated to Caesar Augustus, in a glassed-in pavilion designed by architect Richard Meier.
The plans to close off the Trevi Fountain have been met with controversy, of course, with many Romans arguing that the new structure will interfere with the ancient cityscape. On the contrary, Maria Dandolovia, who lives a coin’s throw from the fountain, is upbeat about the project. “So many tourists come here in the middle of the night and try to re-create that famous scene from La Dolce Vita,” Ms. Dandolovia says with a sigh. “Perhaps when they close off la fontana, I can finally get a good night’s sleep.”
[Image via Wikipedia]