If you are thinking about going to Rome, you should be aware that one of the city's more famous attractions is currently shut down. The Spanish steps, an iconic Rome attraction which has been featured in movies and media of all sorts, will be shut down for renovations until an undetermined time in 2016. This may be understandably upsetting for those visiting the area this year, but the temporary closing is necessary in preserving the monument for future generations.
Protecting Historic Attractions in Rome
The renovation of the stairs is incredibly important at this point in time because the ancient structures, which are still in regular use, are continuing to get older and more beaten up. People walk up and down the steps all of the time and regular foot traffic simply starts to wear everything down after awhile. The Spanish steps are one of the oldest attractions in the city, so keeping them in top condition is important in preserving the heritage of Rome's historic attractions. The last time that the steps were fixed was in 1995, so they've been dealing with a lot of wear and tear over the past decade. Plants and weeds are also creating problems, causing some areas to crack, thus making it worse. In addition to restoration, caretakers are also considering adding in upgrades for safety and ease of use so that people can continue to enjoy the stairs without any added risks of tripping or falling.
That being said, some areas of the stairs will be done later this year and will be ready by December when the Holy Year of Mercy, a traditional Catholic celebration, is going to begin. Increased foot traffic to the nearby Vatican will make it almost impossible to keep all of the steps blocked off so a limited passageway will be open to allow accessibility. Italian authorities will be minimizing the amount of foot traffic through the area with signage and detours and hope that travelers will respect the delicate state the steps will be in.
Funding the Spanish Steps Restoration
The high-end Italian jewelry brand, Bulgari, is the primary benefactor for the Spanish steps restoration. They have decided that they want to make sure that the stairs stay in pristine condition and are able to be used for years to come. Although they are not footing the entire bill to fix the stairs, Bulgari is donating a significant contribution and have been seen as the unofficial sponsors of the project. Restorations started the week of October 13th, with a prospective completion date sometime in 2016.
Even though you may be disappointed that you can't enjoy the Spanish Steps, fear not; the steps will still be open for viewing and only closed off to actual foot traffic over them. There are also plenty of other incredible tourist attractions in and around Rome, so you certainly won't run out of things to see!
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