Shoe tycoon helps to foot the bill to save Pompeii with €25m gift

An Italian shoe magnate is preparing to step in and help to save the ancient site of Pompeii from disintegration, following last year's headline-grabbing collapses in key buildings.

Diego Della Valle, the owner of the luxury shoe brand Tod's, has said he "will give a helping hand" to rescue the ancient Roman city and World Heritage Site. In December, it emerged that Mr Della Valle had put his hand in his pocket and produced €25m (£21m) to help to save the Colosseum in Rome.

"The businessmen and people of Naples have to grab the opportunity to involve themselves in the restoration of Pompeii. If it's needed, I'm ready to lend a hand," he was reported as saying in Il Giornale dell'Arte magazine. A spokeswoman for Tod's told The Independent that Mr Della Valle was indeed ready help.

Nine people have been placed under investigation by the Italian authorities in connection with damage to the ruins last November. The House of the Gladiators and part of the House of the Moralist fell in quick succession at the 2,000-year-old World Heritage Site, prompting outcry.

Pompeii's former superintendent Pietro Giovanni Guzzo and excavations director Antonio Varone are among those being investigated in connection with the collapses, it has emerged.

The decaying state of Italy's incomparable cultural heritage also has political ramifications. Opposition politicians have blamed Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's controversial Culture minister, Sandro Bondi, for the continuing disintegration of famous monuments amid cuts in culture spending.

It is not just Pompeii and the Colosseum in peril, experts warn. Last spring, a large part of the underground complex of Nero's fabled Golden Palace in the capital collapsed. Fears are also mounting for the future of Venice as it continues to sink slowly into the lagoon upon which it was built.

Critics say the lack of state financial support is perverse given that Italy earns so much from foreign tourists. France, which has rather less to preserve and restore, spends 1 per cent of its gross domestic product on culture compared with just 0.2 per cent of GDP in Italy. Mr Bondi, however, says that better management rather than more resources is the key to saving sites such as Pompeii.

Italy's respected business newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore said recently that the only solution for Pompeii was a private sponsor. "Its management should be taken away from a state that has shown itself incapable of protecting it," it declared.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
A poster by Durham Constabulary
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine