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Rome Colosseum to Get Retractable Floor

Friday, January 22, 2021

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To give visitors an idea of what Rome’s Colosseum arena was once like—from the perspective of a gladiator that is—Italy’s government is seeking bids from engineers to rebuild the floor and return the 2,000-year-old landmark to its former glory.

“We want to give an idea of how it was and we are seeking proposals from around the world,” Alfonsina Russo, the Director of the Colosseum, said.

Originally called the Flavian Amphitheatre, in its prime the Colosseum could house more than 50,000 people to watch gladiator fights, executions and more. Today, it is one of Rome’s most popular attractions, boasting more than six million visitors a year.

Flooring Fit for a Gladiator

According to reports, Italy is accepting bids from engineers until Feb. 1 for the 18.5 million euro ($22.5 million) flooring rebuild project.

Squiddly / Getty Images

To give visitors an idea of what Rome’s Colosseum arena was once like—from the perspective of a gladiator that is—Italy’s government is seeking bids from engineers to rebuild the floor and return the 2,000-year-old landmark to its former glory.

Currently, the Colosseum has no floor, however, visitors are able to look down and view an underground network of tunnels—known as the hypogeum. Underneath what used to be a wood and sand-covered floor was a labyrinth which included staging areas as well as systems of ramps, pulleys, ropes, an elevator and other mechanisms workers used to make prisoners and gladiators suddenly appear.

In a statement to BBC, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said that building the new floor “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 center of the arena.”

Although, the ministry also noted that designs for the floor—should they also include trap doors or mechanical components­—must be able to close quickly so that the underground spaces can be protected from weathering and rain.

Officials hope that work can start on the project by next year with construction wrapping up in 2023. Following the project’s completion, the ministry said cultural events, such as concerts and theatres, could potentially be held in the Colosseum.

“The arena will be used for high culture, meaning concerts or theater,” Russo told The Times, “but no gladiator shows.”

   

Tagged categories: Bidding; Engineers; EU; Europe; Floors; Floors; Historic Preservation; Historic Structures; Maintenance + Renovation; Project Management; Projects - Commercial; Upcoming projects

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