First glimpse of what will be the “new” Coliseum

coliseumfirstcleaningIt will be a while yet until we’ll be able to see what a cleaned up Coliseum will look like but as of now we can have an idea. Yesterday morning, a year after renovation work began, workers removed a portion of scaffolding, thereby revealing the five arcades of the 2000-year old monument that have already been cleaned. The amphitheater, built by the Flavian emperors back in 70 AD is undergoing an intense, $35 million clean-up project, for the most part financed by Diego della Valle and his Tod’s shoe company.
Over the next weeks, another five-arcade area will be covered up with scaffolding as restorations continue. A total of 80 arcades to be cleaned. The project is scheduled  to be completed in 2016, although as it is running somewhat behind schedule it is not clear if that deadline will be met.

The now cleaned travertine stone is acquiring a golden-ivory color and will surely look better than it has recently once the soot deposited by modern traffic is removed. However, it should be remembered that at the time of its construction, the coliseum, like many ancient monuments, was covered in marble, later removed by scavengers.

The Coliseum, situated at the eastern end of the Roman forum, was the largest amphitheatre in the entire Roman Empire and is the largest in the world. In its heyday it could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators and was the site for Rome’s gladiator fights and other games.


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