It’s back to the future for the Colosseum in Rome as the floor where gladiators fought to the death must be restored in a £ 16 million high-tech facelift
- The floor of the historic Colosseum in Rome will be restored to its former glory
- Italian Culture Minister promised visitors ‘will see the majesty of the monument’
- The £ 16 million project will build and install a retractable arena floor by 2023
The floor of the Colosseum in Rome is being restored to its former glory, giving visitors a gladiatorial perspective on the ‘majesty’ of the ancient amphitheater.
Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini yesterday announced a £ 16 million contract to restore the arena floor so that people can stand where the legendary hunters once fought wild animals and each other to the death.
Engineering firm Milan Ingegneria has won the bid to build and install a retractable wooden arena floor, and the project will be completed within two years.
Before and after images show Rome’s Colosseum now and what it will look like when restored to its former glory
The project – due to be completed in 2023 – is reversible, meaning it could be removed if plans for the Colosseum change in the future.
Mr Franceschini said: “In 2023 we will once again have the splendor of the Colosseum with its arena.”
The new floor will consist of wooden slats attached in a network of rails. The slats rotate 90 degrees, allowing them to bundle to reveal the bottom of the old structure.
The mobile system will be able to quickly cover or expose the underground structures beneath it, both to protect them from rain and to allow them to air out.
The Colosseum – which was famously depicted in the 2000 film Gladiator starring Russell Crowe – reopened to visitors on Monday.
The iconic structure was built during the reign of Emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and completed under the rule of his successor, Titus, in AD 80.
The floor of Rome’s historic Colosseum is to be replaced in a project that will cost at least £ 16 million
Russell Crowe is portrayed in the role of Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 film Gladiator. An almost complete replica of the Colosseum was built in Malta for the film
The original podium existed until the 1800s when it was removed for archaeological excavations on the underground levels of the ancient structure.
The amphitheater once had a sand-covered wooden floor atop a network of tunnels and waiting rooms for hunters.
The floor was removed in the 19th century so that architects could excavate the floors below it.
A gladiatorial fight at the Colosseum in Rome, as depicted in ‘Pollice Verso’, an 1872 oil painting by the French Jean-Léon Gérôme
The Colosseum was reopened to visitors on Monday as the region was given a yellow zone
Visitors to the Colloseum are asking for directions as it has finally reopened after 41 days of closure due to Covid
Visitors to the historic site are limited to 1,260 per day, compared to the usual 25,000 in pre-pandemic 2019
It was opened to the public in 2010 to see the underground area and the new stage will be able to cover or expose the underground networks.
The stage will also be suitable for cultural events, said Mr Franceschini.
The Colosseum reopened to the public a week ago after a 41-day closure due to rolling pandemic restrictions.
Officials have established a one-way route as part of security measures, while also limiting visitors to 1,260 per day, compared to a whopping 25,000 per day in 2019, pre-pandemic.
THE COLOSSEUM OF ROME
Pictured: the Colosseum of Rome
The Colosseum is an oval amphitheater – the largest ever built – that stands in the center of Rome.
The construction was built during the reign of Emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and completed under the reign of his successor, Titus, in AD 80.
It is believed that there may have been between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, who could have watched shows of gladiator fights, wild animal hunting, acrobats and executions by beasts.
Some accounts suggest that early in its history it was possible to flood the arena with water from a nearby aqueduct to reenact naval battles.
However, this practice was likely discontinued after Emperor Domitian ordered the construction of the ‘hypogeum’ – the elaborate substructure beneath the arena floor that is said to have housed animals, props and slaves.