Bigger than life bras and undies are playing a supporting role in the restoration of some of Naples most precious monuments. Yes, you heard that right. Bras and undies. Okay – the cover story is that they’re swimsuits, but who can tell the difference these days anyway.

I’d seen the billboard on Lungomare for months. I even had a conversation about it with a friend, but, I never processed what was really going on until one morning back in July when I finally SAW what I’d been looking at all along.

The billboard with the larger than life girl in bra and panties was concealing the scaffolding surrounding the Monumento ai Caduti del mare, the monument dedicated to those who lost their lives at sea, or more affectionately, the Colonna Spezzata, the Broken Column on Lungomare, that much I understood. What I didn’t realise until then was that the bra in said advertisement from Jadea, a womens’ underwear company, was providing more than just support to the drop-dead gorgeous model. It was providing monetary support in the form of advertising euros, funding the monument’s restoration through a project project called Monumentando.

The initiative, which launched in February 2014, will restore 27 of Naples monuments at a cost of €3.5 million that organisers hope, will come from sponsorships (a fact we seemed to have completely missed when we first wrote about Monumentando in April of 2014).

On the one hand, the initiative involves restorers and architects and on the other, large private companies operating in Italy and abroad who have decided to fund the project as an alternative and innovative means of communication. This broad involvement stems from the belief that investing in “Made in Naples”, in the capabilities, traditions and culture of the city is the best way to make Naples more competitive, and, by extension, create better opportunities for all the people who work and live the city.

While surely the organisers didn’t deem the ads must be for lady’s undergarments (or two piece swimsuits for that matter), it does seem to be what’s in vogue at the moment. Just last week, another ad was erected around the Obelisk of Portosalvo on Via Nuova Marina with a very similar and similarly clad model, this time, courtesy of Haber & Coast Clothing, causing a bit of a controversy. According to Il Mattino, representatives from the Comitato Santa Maria di Porto Salvo are in favour of the Monumentando initiative, but they are not in favour of scantily clad models covering this religious monument. Adding a bit of spice to the whole affair, it’s become a bit of a clash of the sibling mega models, with the Argentine Belén Rodríguez headlining Jadea’s ad and sister Cecilia Rodriguez doing her part for the Obelisk of Portosalvo. Belén was on hand for the unveiling of the Colonna Spezzata in Piazza Vittoria on the 25th of September 2015.

We can only hope the next monument will be funded by Calvin Klein or Emporio Armani!!!