Italy has opened some new sections of the famed Colosseum to the general public, amidst the ongoing restoration efforts.
A part of the underground beehive was first opened to the public in 2010. In 2015, a system to raise the cages from the bottom to the arena was installed. This system was based on the description of the original system which had been destroyed over the years. Now, the entirety of the tunnels has been opened to the public.
The restoration plans were in action since 2018. Last year, the Cultural Minister of Italy announced the addition of a gladiator floor, the part where the combatants waited before entering the arena. The earlier gladiator floor was removed in the 19th century during an excavation process. In May, the ministry announced that a design was selected from numerous entries, and the renovation process will now kickstart. The whole project was estimated to cost €25 million, of which €18.5 million (around $22 million) would be dedicated to the gladiator floor alone.
The whole renovation process was supposed to complete in four phases. The first phase included cleaning and basic restoration of the overall arcade and placing metal gates to seal the bottom arches. The restoration and opening of the tunnels marked the end of the second phase. In the next phase, the galleries are to be restored on the second level, and some services offered within the site are to be moved outside it. The whole restoration project is scheduled to finish in 2023.
The Colosseum was first opened in 80 C.E. in Ancient Rome. The vast stadium was a place to offer entertainment and conduct sports for the Roman populace. The most famous event was the gladiator battles, where warriors fought each other or animals. The Colosseum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world and the most visited site in Italy. In 2018, more than 7.6 million people visited the site.