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 tourists. The restoration, which also aims to make more of the monument accessible, will recover a wide swath of its basement that will open to the public beginning in 2015.
The ancient Roman arena has been blackened by pollution and rocked by vibrations from a nearby subway line and car traffic for years. Its stability, however, has been guaranteed by officials, despite concerns over a 16-inch inclination on its south side described by Italian media as the "leaning tower of Pisa effect." Tod's Italian founder Diego Della Valle has urged fellow entrepreneurs to step up and help fix ailing Italian landmarks. "Companies have a social responsibility that should be supported and carried out," Della Valle said. "It is also a signal for investors that it is right to invest in this country." (Read more Colosseum stories.)