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Nero's Palace, Siena's Crumbling Walls Win Restoration Cash

FILE - A woman walks at Del Campo square in Siena, Italy, March 12, 2012.
FILE - A woman walks at Del Campo square in Siena, Italy, March 12, 2012.

Emperor Nero's golden palace, the walls of medieval Siena and the foundations of Venice will all receive sorely needed restoration funds after Italy approved a plan on Monday to spend 300 million euros ($325 million) to protect its cultural heritage.

Caring for thousands of years' worth of art and architecture is a perennial problem in Italy, and many sites have been left in a fragile state by public spending cuts and mismanagement.

The walls protecting Siena are among the monuments set to be restored, at a cost of 2.2 million euros over the next three years, the culture ministry said.

The investment plan was unveiled shortly after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government passed a 2016 budget which increases spending on culture, including a handout to 18-year-olds to spend on activities like cinema trips.

Under the plan, 13 million euros will go towards restoring the golden palace Emperor Nero had built in Rome as a monument to himself but which the later emperor Trajan buried.

More than 6 million euros will go to various projects aimed at helping to prop up the northern canal city of Venice.

Cultural sites will also be provided with security alarms and video surveillance, the ministry said, adding that this spending would come to 50 million euros.

($1 = 0.9233 euros)

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