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Billionaire: I Paid to Restore Spanish Steps, Now Stay Off

Benefactor Paolo Bulgari says people ruin the landmark with their slovenly habits

(Newser) - Audrey Hepburn ate gelato on the Spanish Steps in Roman Holiday, which makes her one of the "barbarians"—the residents and tourists who've ruined the famous landmark over the years, per the billionaire benefactor who's paying for its makeover, NBC News reports. The steps, built nearly... More »

Ancient, Secret Library Gets a Facelift

University of al-Qarawiyyin library undergoing repairs

(Newser) - The settling dust from renovations and the banging of tools aren't ideal sights and sounds for a library—but this is no ordinary library. Founded 12 centuries ago in Fez, Morocco's University of al-Qarawiyyin library is one of the world's oldest, home to unique Islamic manuscripts treasured... More »

Castle Restoration Called a 'Heritage Massacre'

Critics outraged at the work in Spain

(Newser) - Remember the botched "restoration" of Spanish fresco Ecce Homo back in 2012? Well, this might top it. Having stood for more than 1,000 years, Matrera Castle in Cadiz was looking a bit worse for wear when officials decided to restore the National Monument three years ago. Now, people... More »

Paul Allen Fixing Coral Reef His Yacht Likely Wrecked

Microsoft co-founder not accepting blame yet, but restoration starts in Caymans

(Newser) - Paul Allen isn't accepting all of the blame yet for annihilating a huge section of coral reef in the Cayman Islands, but his company is now trying to help put the reef back together, Page Six reports. Tatoosh, the Microsoft co-founder's 300-foot mega-yacht, is said to have dragged... More »

After 10 Brides, 11th to Wear 120-Year-Old Dress

A bridal designer spent 200 hours restoring the brown, tattered dress

(Newser) - When Abigail Kingston became engaged to Jason Curtis, she did not have to wonder about what she'd wear on her wedding day. The dress she had in mind has been passed down through five generations in her family, starting with her great-great grandmother Mary Lowry Warren, who wore it... More »

Smithsonian Launches $500K Kickstarter for Famous Suit

They'll leave lunar dust on Neil Armstrong's moonwalk getup, though

(Newser) - "Reboot the Suit" is the slogan for the Smithsonian Institution's new campaign to restore Neil Armstrong's famous moonwalk spacesuit—and the museum group has launched its first-ever Kickstarter campaign to reach its $500,000 goal, Smithsonian reports. Funds raised will go toward conserving the spacesuit so it... More »

At Long-Dead Artist's Home, a 'Once-in-a-Century' Find

Art experts find unknown Thomas Cole murals, painted around 1836

(Newser) - Art experts working at the summer home and gallery of 19th-century American artist Thomas Cole simply wanted to figure out the original color of the walls. Instead, paint analyst Matthew Mosca uncovered an incredible find: previously unknown friezes on the original plaster of the Catskill, NY, farmhouse, hidden behind layers... More »

Surprise Find: Seating Plan for Rome's Colosseum

Restorers uncover red paint that survived for centuries

(Newser) - Spectators who once flocked to Rome's Colosseum could find their seats with the help of red numbers painted over entrance archways. What's amazing is that hints of that paint still remain, Discovery reports. A team restoring the Colosseum has spotted remnants of it in Latin numerals carved high... More »

Ancient Pompeii Is Collapsing

Parts of 2 structures crumbled over weekend

(Newser) - Pompeii's "perfectly preserved" streets were uncovered in 1748; centuries later, that perfect preservation no longer holds. A series of collapses have fouled the site in recent years, with officials confirming that an 11-foot-long stretch of tomb wall was found to have crumbled early yesterday, on the heels of... More »

Tourists Won't Be Able to Touch Colosseum Anymore

Iron columns will protect visitors from falling debris

(Newser) - The days of getting up close and personal with Rome's iconic Colosseum are coming to an end. The monument will soon be ringed by a protective barrier to keep tourists out of the reach of falling debris. Cast iron columns will be erected anywhere from 15 to 50 feet... More »

Ailing Colosseum Getting $30M Overhaul

Tod's founder bankrolling much-needed facelift, to begin in December

(Newser) - Italian cultural officials have announced that the $30 million restoration of the Colosseum financed by the founder of luxury leather good maker Tod's will begin in December. Officials said the work is expected to take two and a half years, during which time the monument will remain open to... More »

How to Fix a Torn Picasso

Restoration will halve painting's value

(Newser) - It's painstaking work, but conservators can indeed repair the Picasso torn by a clumsy museum patron. Once restored, however, the painting will likely lose about half its $130 million value, reports the New York Post . A few different repair options are available, notes the Explainer column in Slate . With the... More »

For Sale: Soviet Sub, Very Rusty

Cold War relic once used in Harrison Ford film is too costly to restore, RI museum says

(Newser) - The former Soviet submarine used in Harrison Ford’s film K-19: The Widowmaker may be sunk for good. The cruise-missile sub, which served as a floating museum in a Rhode Island river until it foundered in a 2007 storm, will be sold for scrap if no one buys it by... More »

Restored Jailhouses Rock as Trendy Hotel Destinations

Old schools, factories get facelifts too as hoteliers aim to attract upscale crowd

(Newser) - Taking aim at travelers who want more than just Wi-Fi or a pool, hoteliers are converting former prisons, schools, factories, and other odd sites into luxury hotels, Portfolio reports. Younger guests who travel for leisure are demanding distinctive experiences, and the unusual locations help hotels market their rooms in a... More »

Sacred History Resonates in Kathmandu

Traditional building practices coexist with global trade in Nepal's capital

(Newser) - Decades of restoration have kept up the medieval splendor of a region long hidden from the world: Kathmandu Valley. Started by Germany in the 1960s and later spearheaded by a Harvard professor, the repairs have maintained many of the area's stupas and pagodas, Lucinda Lambton writes for Vanity Fair—but... More »

Muted By Thieves, Scream Returns at Full Volume

Restored Munch masterwork returned to museum walls 4 years after theft

(Newser) - Edvard Munch's masterpiece The Scream is hanging again in an Oslo museum today, 4 years after armed robbers stole it in broad daylight, CNN reports. The painting has been undergoing restoration since it was retrieved in 2006. It was structurally damaged, stained, scratched (exposing cardboard beneath the paint) and “... More »

Mold Ravages Da Vinci Codex

Damage wrought for lack of restoration funding

(Newser) - An onslaught of red, black, and purple mold has turned the Codex Atlanticus, the largest collection of writings and drawings by Leonardo Da Vinci, into a "precious sick patient," the Times of London reports. The mold, discovered by an American scholar, is attacking 12,000 codex sheets at... More »

Plan to Save Everglades Sinking

Lack of cash hobbles four decade long effort

(Newser) - An $8 billion effort to reverse generations of destruction of Florida's Everglades is faltering because federal financing has slowed to a trickle. Despite a much-heralded bipartisan agreement in 2000, the 40-year project to save the subtropical marsh is already far behind schedule, and thousands of acres of wildlife habitat continue... More »

Dirt Feels Magnetic Pull

New iron-flecked gel is used to remove centuries of grime from paintings

(Newser) - Italian researchers have solved an age-old problem of painting conservation with new technology: magnets. Restorers use special gels to work on small areas of a canvas, but removing them has remained a delicate operation that can damage the artwork. Now, Nature reports, chemists at the University of Florence have developed... More »

Berlin Synagogue Reopens

Country’s largest synagogue survived century of strife

(Newser) - Germany’s largest synagogue has re-opened its doors after a major restoration, welcoming political leaders and Holocaust survivors to its unveiling. Built over 100 years ago, the Berlin temple was burned on Kristallnacht but the structure survived Nazism, Communism and decades of neglect. Architects re-created the original appearance with the... More »

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