(ANSA) – Rome, May 3 – The monumental tomb of Rome’s first emperor, Augustus, is to return to “iconic” status after decades of neglect, Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi said in unveiling a six-million-euro project funded by telecoms giant Tim.

The refurbishment, which will end in a grand reopening in April 2019, will include 3-D effects and the restoration of the 13,000 square metres of a monument that is even bigger than the famed Castel Sant-Angelo, built over the tomb of a later emperor, Hadrian.
The project represents a “model of public and private collaboration we hope will become a model,” said Raggi.
While the project is going ahead, some “special” visits will be possible by small groups, Raggi said.
And when the ribbon is cut two years from now entry will “hopefully” be free, the mayor said. The mausoleum, built by Augustus in 28 BC, was plundered by the Visigoths before falling into disrepair.
Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini restored it but after the war it was progressively abandoned and the surrounding Piazza Augusto Imperatore gradually became a rundown area strewn with rubbish and drug addicts’ needles.
It has been cleaned up somewhat in recent years.