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The underground of the Roman Coliseum

Roma, (Prensa Latina) After a restoration process that began on December 2018, the underground complex of galleries of the Roman Coliseum, where wild beasts and gladiators were ready to kill or die in the arena, opened its doors to the public.

The work covered the 15,000 square meters of the underground structure of the facility, inaugurated in 80 AD and originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater.

Added by UNESCO in 1980 to its list of World Heritage Sites, the majestic building, located at the eastern end of the Imperial Forums, is the most representative construction, still standing, of the history and architecture inherited from Ancient Rome.

The Coliseum is also one of the main symbols of Italy and at the same time, its biggest tourist attraction in absolute terms, with more than 7.5 million visitors in 2019, followed by far by the Uffizi Gallery and Pompeii, with about 4.4 and four million, respectively.

Its elliptical arena, 86 meters long by 54 meters wide, was until 523 the stage for games and shows and under which ran the backstage system where everything was prepared.

In this hidden side of the festival, the technical and logistical support took place, with dozens of forklifts operated by slaves on which the elements that the presentation required at each moment, from scenery to the protagonists of the bloodiest episodes, were brought up to the surface.

The underground area also occupies an elliptical area, crossed longitudinally by a central axis, with 14 corridors placed symmetrically on both sides and maneuvering chambers at both ends.

Forty-five restorers, 14 archaeologists, 13 masons, four engineers, three architects and two geometers were involved in the recovery of the hypogeum, which can be seen from a 160-meter-long walkway.

A great technical work that shows how, even in this case, heritage conservation can be combined with technology and research, said the Italian Minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities, Dario Franceschini.

The plan is to continue the work on the new surface of the underground area, where it will be possible to admire the installation from the center, as was the case until the end of the 19th century, the minister stressed.

Recently, the Italian firm Milan Ingegneria was announced as the winner for the restoration of the Coliseum’s floor, with an approximate cost of 18 million dollars and scheduled for 2023. The proposal foresees the repair of the largest amphitheater in the world, with capacity for 87,000 spectators, and the 3,357 square meter surface of the hypogeum’s roof.

(Taken from Orbe)