Italy turning to corporate sponsorship to save cultural and historic sites

Those evil corporations… Via Der Spiegel:

With the country mired in debt, Italy’s cultural budget has been slashed in recent years, spelling trouble for several historic sites. Many local politicians have turned to corporate sponsorships to raise the money necessary for vital upkeep. The trend has attracted considerable criticism.

The story continues.

Zambuto is the mayor of the town of Agrigent in Sicily, and he says the archeological site there is worth €2 billion. He wants to do his part to market that potential. With local elections approaching in May, Zambuto, 39, is on the stump, and his idea of auctioning off the rights to the site, in hopes of attracting major investors from around the world, plays a central role in his campaign speeches. Only the best will be awarded the contract, he promises. The money generated by the auction, he says, will be invested in the urgently needed maintenance of the temples.

“Italy has the world’s largest heritage of cultural treasures,” says Zambuto, “but we do nothing to maintain it. It’s the government’s responsibility, of course, but if the government is broke — well, then Versace can certainly be a solution.” Or Louis Vuitton, for that matter. As long the investor isn’t a Russian oligarch like Mikhail Prokhorov, Vladimir Putin’s challenger in the presidential elections in March, who has reportedly expressed an interest in buying the Temple of Zeus — although no one knows why he wants it.

Remember ideas that start in Europe have a way of working their way here.

Can you imagine a Pepsi Mt. Rushmore Experience?