Colosseum restoration will increase visitor access

Associated Press
A view of the Colosseum prior to the start of a press conference to present restoration works of the monument, in Rome, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)

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ROME (AP) — The founder of Tod's luxury leathergoods says visitors will have access to a quarter more of Rome's Colosseum after a planned restoration.

Diego Della Valle has pledged to foot the euro25 million ($36 million) bill to restore the ancient Roman arena.

He told a news conference Wednesday that bids for contracts on the restoration will open at the end of July. Work is expected to begin in the fall.

The Colosseum has been blackened by pollution and rocked by vibrations from a nearby subway line.

Della Valle is urging his entrepreneur friends to step up and help fix ailing Italian landmarks, including Pompeii and Venice. Italy is chronically short of funds to maintain, protect and clean Italy's artistic and archaeological heritage.

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