The Italian government has set aside €18.5 million ($20.2 million) to rebuild the famous arena floor of the legendary Colosseum in Rome.
On Tuesday, the Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini announced the news via Twitter, posting the message: “A promise kept: the Colosseum will have its arena once more. Plan for reconstruction financed.”
According to AFP, once rebuilt, the arena will be used to house events and maybe even re-enactments of the spectacular shows that took place there in Roman times. The subterranean area below, where the beasts, scenery and props were kept, could be turned into a museum.
Franceschini first revealed his intention to reconstruct the wood and sand floor of the ancient monument in December last year. The original flooring was removed by archaeologists in the 19th century.
The Colosseum, moreover, is already under repair, following a generous €25 million donation by fashion tycoon Diego Della Valle. The works began in 2013 and are expected to finish in early 2016.
In its heyday, the 2,000-year-old amphitheater was the largest of its kind in the Roman empire. The 48.5 meter tall (159 foot) stadium had a maximum capacity of 80,000 spectators and hosted gladiator battles.
Today it is one of Italy’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting over six million visitors annually.
The Italian Culture Ministry has also allocated a further €80 million ($86.8 million) for the refurbishment of other museums and heritage sites across the country, including €18 million ($19.5 million) for the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and €5 million ($5.4 million) for the Museum of Ancient Ships in Pisa, where several Roman cargo ships are slated to go on display.
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