For the first time in 2,000 years, the magnificent Colosseum in Rome has opened its underground section to the public.
One of Italy’s most-praised monuments – Rome’s Colosseum, has opened its underground area for visitors for the first time in two millenniums.
Also known as “hypogea,” these levels were once the place where animals and gladiators waited for their grandiose battles to begin. Following a 10-year-long restoration process, tourists now have the amazing opportunity to see the passageways for the first time in history.
As per Unilad, the initial plans for opening up the area for visitors were formulated by Italian fashion brand Tod’s CEO Diego Della Valle and Rome’s Archaeological Heritage Department in 2011.
The ambitious project consisted of three pivotal phases.
To begin with, the structure’s facade had to be cleaned before experts went underground to carry their research. Then, archaeologists, architects, and engineers examined the area in detail. The final step was for excavators to clean the underground areas, which were covered in thick layers of dirt and microorganisms.
For the grand opening, Tod’s contributed an essential €25 million($30 million).
Alfonsina Russo, director of the Colosseum Archaeological Park, told CNN:
“This restoration is absolutely important for the archaeological research, because it enables us to reconstruct its history. This was the backstage of the shows that went on in the area. [It is the location for] all the preparation, even the technology – they brought props, men and animals up into the area through a series of elevators and cargo lifts.”
At present, there are further works projected for the Colosseum. For instance, the Italian Ministry of Culture recently announced they are planning to build a wooden arena that would cover the hypogea and will host various events. This will give tourists the idea of how the structure used to be back when the historical building was first designed.