© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People visit Rome’s ancient Colosseum
ROM (Reuters) – The ancient Roman Colosseum is set to regain its foothold thanks to a new high-tech project announced by the Ministry of Culture on Sunday.
“It’s an extraordinary project,” said Culture Minister Dario Franceschini, explaining the plans to create a flexible floor to give tourists a clearer idea of what the arena would have looked like when gladiators fought there to the death.
“You can walk on it and go to the center of the Colosseum and see it the way visitors were used to until the end of the 19th century,” said Franceschini.
The last floor was removed by archaeologists to give a better view of the maze of rooms and corridors that lay under the arena. It was never completely replaced.
An Italian engineering firm, Milan Ingegneria, won the € 18.5 million ($ 22.2 million) contract to design the new floor and is committed to completing the project by 2023.
The wooden platform will consist of hundreds of slats that can be rotated to bring natural light into the underground chambers that once housed the gladiators and animals before their deadly battle.
The Colosseum is Italy’s most popular tourist attraction, drawing around 7.6 million visitors in 2019 before the coronavirus hit.
The stone arena, built 2000 years ago, was the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire. It used to have up to 70,000 seats and hosted gladiator fights, executions and animal hunts. It could also be filled with water to re-enact naval battles.
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