ROME (AFP) ― A Japanese businessman has agreed to invest around one million euros ($1.3 million) to restore a 2,000-year-old Roman pyramid in the Italian capital, La Repubblica daily reported this week.
Yuzo Yagi, a fashion business owner from Osaka, is due to sign the agreement later this month and work on the pyramid, which was built in 18-12 B.C. as a tomb for a wealthy Roman, Gaius Cestius, is set to start in April, officials said.
“His dream is to leave a mark in our country,” Rita Paris, who manages the monument on behalf of the state, was quoted as saying.
“Last year, he visited the pyramid and was struck by how remarkable it was.”
Yagi’s only request is for a plaque with his name on it near the monument.
The project will include the use of probes to determine whether there are any secret chambers built into the 36-meter high pyramid after recent ultrasonic testing found some gaps in the structure.
Like the Colosseum, which is also preparing for a major restoration project next year, the pyramid is at the centre of a busy road junction.
The pyramid is covered in Carrara marble and was built following Rome’s conquest of Egypt in 31 BC, which started off a trend for ancient Egypt.
The 23-square-metre frescoed burial chamber at the heart of the pyramid was sealed when it was built but was raided in the Middle Ages.