Italian fashion houses Prada and Versace will fund the cleaning and refurbishing of damaged parts of the historic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, contributing 3 million euros.
They responded to a call for help last summer from Milan’s Councillor for Public Works, Carmela Rozza, who invited private sponsors to intervene: "It's an unprecedented intervention that will require a large financial commitment. We hope for the cooperation and contribution of private investors."
The redesign and restoration of parts of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, a hub of Milanese social life, are set to begin this month. Service work, which had not been carried out since the sixties, will take about a year, then it will be time for extra cleaning and upkeep in view of Milan’s Expo 2015.
The intervention of Versace may not be entirely free from personal interest: the Milan city council recently approved a resolution thanks to which Versace will have access to the famous area known as the "Octagon," the heart of the Galleria shopping, which will provide a high return in terms of image and advertising. Versace will inaugurate a store there, in place of the historic silverware shop Bernasconi, who sold the premises for 15 million euros; just above the new store, Versace will also inaugurate the museum of the Versace Foundation. (Prada already has a store inside the Galleria.)
This is not the first time private companies in Italy have come to the rescue of historic and artistic monuments: the most famous case is perhaps that of Tod’s CEO Diego della Valle, who made 25 million euros available for the restoration of the Colosseum.