|Temple of Concordia, Valley of the Temples, Agrigento|
These are difficult times for the comuni of Italy: the government has announced swingeing cuts in their funding and schools, hospitals and other institutions all over the country are feeling the effect. Here in Modica, we have all been subject to discomfort caused by the failure of the administration to carry out its annual disinfestation process to deal with the summer's mosquito population and the courthouse is one of the institutions that we might lose So worried are the country's mayors by the government's austerity measures that hundreds of them demonstrated in Milan on Monday.
It is no surprise, then, that mayors are trying to raise funds for their towns in any way they can and Marco Zambuto, Mayor of the city of Agrigento, is no exception: this week he suggested that the Valley of the Temples, Agrigento's best known landmark, be managed as a "brand" by private companies such as banks or auction houses for limited periods of time. Under the proposals, the private companies would be able to use the architectural site for events along with the "brand" for their products and advertising in return for paying a fixed fee to the city. The companies would also be "invited" to sponsor the maintenance and restoration of the site as well as the maintenance and improvement of its infrastructure.
Louis Vuitton, Versace and the London auction house Sotheby's are some of the companies that the Mayor is said to have in mind for the project. Who wants a temple motif on their Louis Vuitton bag?