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The Colosseum in Rome will receive a new gladiatorial arena floor
Rome (CNN) – A new arena floor will be added to the iconic Colosseum in Rome to give visitors a feel for what the ancient Italian structure looked like when gladiators fought there.

The project “will give us the same vision of the monument scene that it had in ancient times,” Colosseum director Alfonsina Russo said at a press conference on Sunday.

Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini hailed it as an “extraordinary project”, which will allow visitors to walk on the new floor and get to the center of the Colosseum.

The ground will serve as a stage for cultural events and visitors will be able to see the monument as it was until the 19th century, added Franceschini.

The ancient gladiatorial battlefield – first opened nearly 2,000 years ago, in AD 80 – had its arena floor removed in the 19th century by architects in hopes of seeing its underground passages .

Milan Ingegneria, an Italian engineering company, will lead the $ 22 million (around € 18.5 million) project, which is expected to be completed by 2023.

The main objective of the project is “the protection and conservation of pre-existing archaeological structures,” the Italian Ministry of Culture said in a press release on Sunday.

“The intricate underground system under the wooden boardwalk, through hatches, hoists and mobile types of machinery, allowed men, beasts and props to be brought to the arena floor,” Russo added. .

Particular emphasis has been placed on durability with “incredibly light” and durable materials that will be used during construction, according to the ministry statement.

The building’s sustainability credentials will be further strengthened by the installation of a collection system that will use rainwater to supply the monument’s public bathrooms.

The flooring will be paved with carbon panels covered with Accoya wood. Some of the slats will rotate in such a way as to send natural light to the current structures, the statement added.

The floor will be 3,000 square meters (approximately 32,300 square feet).

Massimiliano Milan, Managing Director of Milan Ingegneria, said: “The new structure will be completely reversible. If in 30, 50 or a hundred years it will be possible to restore the monument as it is now.”

Before the pandemic, the Colosseum attracted an average of 20,000 visitors per day with an annual record of over 7 million visitors.

The attraction was largely closed to the public during coronavirus lockdowns in Italy and recently reopened to visitors on April 26.

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