A Bridge Too Far?

Corporations want to help revive Italy's crumbling treasures--for a price

Alberto PizzoliAFP/Getty Images

Before and After. Renovating the Bridge of Sighs and the adjacent Doge's Pallace took three years and cost $3.7 million

When famed polish movie director Roman Polanski signed up to make the film Pompeii in 2007--a now stalled big-budget epic about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79--Italy, home of the Pompeii ruins, was his first choice for shooting. But the production ended up moving to Spain, since tough-minded Italian officials typically object to film crews' trampling over the archaeological site and the Spanish government beat out Italy with a cheaper offer.

In today's feeble economy, Italian officials might have tried harder to cut a deal. As the euro-zone crisis has deepened and forced larger budget cuts in debt-ridden Italy,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!