The project will give visitors an idea of what it must have been like when gladiators fought in the Roman arena.
The ancient Roman Colosseum will have the floor again thanks to a new high-tech project announced by the Italian Ministry of Culture.
“It’s an extraordinary project,” Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said on Sunday, explaining plans to create a flexible floor to give visitors a better idea of what the arena would look like when gladiators fought to the death in front of crowd of dignified spectators.
“It will allow you to see the majesty of the Colosseum from the center (of the arena),” he said in a tweet in which he also shared a simulation of what the new floor will look like.
Archaeologists removed the top floor in the 19th century so they could better see the maze of rooms and hallways beneath the sand.
It was never completely replaced and people can only walk along the edges of the building and look down at the ruins of the underground chambers where gladiators and animals awaited their brutal competition.
An Italian engineering company, Milan Ingegneria, won the € 18.5 million ($ 22.2 million) contract to design the new pavement and has pledged to complete the project in 2023.
The wooden platform will consist of hundreds of slats that can be rotated to provide natural light to the underground rooms.
The Colosseum is the most popular tourist attraction in Italy and attracted about 7.6 million visitors in 2019, before the coronavirus arrived.
He #Colosseo it will have its sand again. After years of study, the winning project was announced. It will be reversible, allowing you to visit the underground and see the majesty of the Colosseum from the center, as it was for centuries until the end of the 19th century. https://t.co/DG6UOKRcB4 pic.twitter.com/dI9XtY9dxV
– Dario Franceschini (@dariofrance) May 2, 2021
[Translation: The Colosseum will have its arena again. After years of study, we have a winning project. It will be reversible and allow you to visit the underground (chambers) as well as to see the majesty of the Colosseum from its centre as it was for centuries until the end of the 19th century.]
Built 2,000 years ago, the stone arena was the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire, formerly extending to Britain, Egypt, and Turkey.
It previously had up to 70,000 seats and hosted gladiator fights, executions and animal hunts.
It could also be filled with water to re-enact maritime battles.