Urgent Colosseum Repairs Stopped by Rome’s Subway Wars

The monument is still waiting on a promised $4.3 million.

The Colosseum in June 2016, after a restoration. Photo courtesy Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images
The Colosseum in June 2016, after a restoration. Photo courtesy Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images.

In its nearly 2,000 year history, the Colosseum has withstood lightning strikes, fires, and earthquakes. Now, in need of structural reinforcements but ongoing troubles regarding how to finance them, the Flavian Amphitheater’s caretaker fears for its safety, the Local reports.

In 2014, the city allocated €4 million ($4.3 million) for reinforcements that would strengthen the historic structure, which needs extra support due to the underground construction work. The money has not yet arrived.

Last week, the city decided to liquidate Roma Metropolitane, the company in charge of the metro construction, for allegedly squandering money, leaving Colosseum officials wondering what will happen with the sum that was allocated to reinforce the structure of the monument.

According to Reuters, last Friday Rome’s city council voted to cease financing the metro line, which has been in the works since 2007, with an allotted budget of €2.2 billion ($2.4 billion). Now, just three more stations will be built, instead of the remaining 14 planned stations, yet the projected costs rocketed to €3.7 billion ($4 billion).

City Mayor Virginia Raggi has voiced her disappointment with Roma Metropolitane, accusing it of a “shameful squandering of public funds,” and saying that it “failed in its mission.”

Workers in the Colosseum on June 28, 2016 in Rome. Photo courtesy Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images.

Workers in the Colosseum on June 28, 2016 in Rome. Photo courtesy Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images.

The overspending doesn’t come as good news to Francesco Prosperetti, the Superintendent of the Colosseum.

“The Colosseum cannot wait any longer,” Prosperetti said. “As a citizen I would not like to delay the metro but as the defender of this monument I may not have any choice,” he added.

Prosperetti added that the interior walls of the Colosseum’s top section are in most in need of strengthening. Repairs seem more imminent now, after recent earthquakes in Italy caused new cracks in the amphitheater’s walls.

Its facade, however, is still shining from a €25 million ($27 million), two-year cleaning effort, funded by luxury brand Tod’s.


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