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Italy: Rome Pyramid restored to gleaming white glory
Rome's famed 2000-year-old pyramid has been restored to its gleaming white ancient glory following a two-million-euro project.

Rome Pyramid restored to gleaming white glory
The Rome Pyramid after restoration 
[Credit: ANSAmed]

The Egyptian-style pyramid-shaped tomb of Gaius Cestius, an Augustan era general, reopened to the public this week following an extensive restoration initiated in March 2013. Japanese fashion mogul Yuzo Yagi who funded the project said "It is extraordinary to return it to the white city like [it was] two thousand years ago. It was a great job with an incredible team led by two women", referring to Rita Paris and Maria Grazia Filetici, Italy's archaeological superintendency directors who oversaw the project.

The 120 foot-high pyramid, according to Paris, was constructed in 330 days, made of white Carrara marble. The 21st century restoration of the 2000-year-old tomb took a cumulative 327 days, 75 days less than projected.

Yagi donated two million euros to the innovative internal and external restoration that required a mix of traditional and non-tradition conservation in areas such as vegetation removal, marble facade protection, marble panel stabilization and damage prevention, and a handicap-accessible entrance ramp.

The restoration was much needed after centuries of wear and tear, which included, as Paris detailed, the tomb's incorporation into the 3rd century AD walls, looting in the Middle Ages, mid-17th century restoration, and use as a meeting spot in the 19th century.

Present at the invitation-only inauguration was Umberto Vattani, president of the Italy-Japan Foundation, cultural and foreign affairs undersecretaries Francesca Barracciu and Benedetto Della Vedova, Rome Cultural Heritage superintendent Francesco Prosperetti, and Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino.

Barracciu said that the restoration was "a brilliant best practice that strengthens our belief that the public and private collaboration is a way to go again with more determination. And since last July's Art Bonus, we are very confident ".

When asked if Yagi would finance future heritage projects in Italy, the fashion mogul said "we have a long list of aid to Japan, for the tsunami-affected areas. But I would be happy to return in the coming years".

Author: Erica Firpo | Credit: ANSAmed [April 21, 2015]