Rome Colosseum repair to be funded by Tods shoe firm

image captionMr Della Valle promised he would not 'put shoes on the Colosseum'

The founder of the Tod's luxury shoe brand has said he will cover the cost of restoring the Colosseum.

Officials have accepted Diego Della Valle's offer to sponsor the restoration of the ancient Roma arena.

Rome's mayor described news the city finally had the funds to undertake the project as "the end of a nightmare".

Restoration work, which will cost some 25m euros (£21m; $34m), is expected to begin at the end of the year and will take two and a half years to complete.

"A monument that represents Italy in the world must be restored, and a company that represents Made in Italy stepped forward to say, 'If you need us, we are here'," Mr Della Valle, who founded the shoe company Tod's, told a press conference.

He added that he hoped other entrepreneurs would also get involved in raising the funds needed. The sponsorship campaign is the biggest to rescue Italy's crumbling archaeological treasures with private money.

The ancient Roman arena, which dates from 80 AD and attracts some six million visitors a year, is blackened by pollution and shaken by the vibrations of an underground metro line that runs nearby.

The monument is expected to stay open to visitors during the period of restoration and Mr Della Valle promised he would not use the structure as a vast advertising space.

"I won't put Tod's shoes on the Colosseum," he said.

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