The famous Colosseum in Rome is set to receive a facelift with a modern 3000-square-meter retractable floor, allowing tourists to walk across Italy’s top tourist attraction for the first time since the late 1800s.
Tiered seating encircled the 50,000-seat Colosseum, which had a wooden, sand-covered floor back when it opened in AD 80. It was constructed on top of an underground complex that housed wild animals and stage sets. Crowds gathered to witness gladiators combat the animals or each other, with the final fights taking place in the fifth century AD. Once archaeologists started excavating the arena’s subterranean depths, the floor was removed.
For more than a century, tourists have been able to see a maze of underground passages, from above, without a floor. However, the new high-tech retractable floor scheduled to be finished by 2023 will be constructed of stainless steel and coated in Accoya wood.
The floor is scheduled to be finished by 2023, and the €18.5 million ($22.5 million) renovation scheme will be carried out by the Italian company Milan Ingegneria.
The addition of the retractable and reversible floor will also allow for activities such as stage performances and concerts to be performed at the ancient amphitheater.
“It will be a major technological intervention that will offer visitors the opportunity to, not only see the underground rooms, but also appreciate the beauty of the Colosseum while standing in the centre of the arena,” said Culture Minister, Dario Franceschini.