More to come at the Colosseum

2013-01-18 21:03
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

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Rome - The Colosseum’s first comprehensive restoration in 73 years, a €25m project to clean the entire building by 2015, will open up 25% more of the monument to visitors.

Known in Roman times as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum has suffered heavily in two millennia, not least from pollution from a road ringing the monument just steps away.

The exterior of the building visited by millions of tourists each year was originally covered in gleaming white marble that was removed over the centuries to be used elsewhere.

During a cleaning by restorers the remains of frescoes indicating the interior of the 2 000-year old arena, were discovered.

The frescoes were found during the monument's first comprehensive restoration in 73 years, a €25m project to clean the entire building by 2015.

After the restoration, 25% more of the Colosseum will be open to visitors, particularly the underground network of tunnels, storerooms and cages.

The project is funded by luxury shoemaker Tod's, one of several private investors to step in to help the indebted Italian government maintain the country's wealth of historic monuments.

Restorers have cleaned only a small part of the monument so far, and hope to reveal the detail of what the frescoes depict underneath marks left by centuries of visitors.

Written in a modern script, the name "Luigi" was scratched into a well-preserved red section of fresco.

Nearby was scrawled the date "1620", and "J. Milber from Strasbourg, 1902".

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