All over Rome, they are digging. They are chiseling, they are clambering up and down scaffolds. They are restoring the buildings of ancient Rome, along with some of the churches built atop ancient Rome.
It's a job of immense scale. Almost inconceivable. Sure, we tore down swaths of decayed tenements in New York in the 60s and put up housing for low-income people. We tore down a good portion of the South Bronx and ran an expressway through it, destroying a vast portion of the borough.
But this is bigger than that. And doesn't involve tearing down. It involves archaeology and rebuilding.
It seems like a project that at its current rate won't be completed for at least another hundred years. What crossed my mind is how different we would do this in America--that is if we decided to do it at all.
Almost invariably, if we were to do a huge restoration project in America, there would be sponsorship involved. The Colosseum would become "The Bank of America Colosseum." The Circus Maximus would be the "Target Maximus Center" and so on. I'm equally sure that for all of our professions of democracy, there would be special accommodations and amenities available for the super-rich. Special seating in "The Verizon Forum."
We're in advertising, yes, so we can't be completely disparaging about corporate involvement. Yes, various 2,000 year old monuments would be festooned with logos, but on the other hand, the work would move faster.