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“It’s not serious, but it needs to be restored,” Ms. Rea said, noting the last major restoration was carried out in the 1970s. “The later you start, the worse it is.”

Work has been delayed because of court challenges to the contract bidding process, with the latest hearing this week put off until the end of the month.

Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno has said the delays were “exasperating.”