Fashion firm funds Trevi clean-up

The Fendi fashion house is paying for a 2.18 million euro (£1.86 million) restoration of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, famed as a setting where dreamers leave their coins.

The 20-month project on one of the city's most famous features was unveiled at a press conference featuring Fendi designers Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi, who said the project combined a love of Rome's past with a need to preserve its future.

Rome's fountains, Lagerfeld said, "are there to glorify water, which is the most important thing in life".

It is the latest example of Italian fashion companies coming to the aid of Italy's chronically underfunded cultural heritage. The founder of the Tod's footwear company has offered to pay for the £22 million restoration of the Colosseum, and Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno said he hoped these two donations were just the start.

"Without similar initiatives, we won't be able to save the cultural memory of our country," he said.

Fendi is also to restore another fountain complex in Rome, the Quattro Fontane.