Forget gory shows and gladiatorial combat. In the late Middle Ages, Rome’s Colosseum was a huge condominium, says the latest archaeological investigation into Rome’s most iconic monument.
Archaeologists from Roma Tre University and students from the American University of Rome unearthed evidence showing that ordinary Romans lived within the Colosseum from the ninth century until at least 1349, when the building was seriously damaged by an earthquake.
During a three-week excavation beneath some of the arched entrances that lead into the arena, the archaeologists discovered terracotta sewage pipes, potsherds and the foundations of a 12th-century wall that once enclosed one of the properties. Read more.
Rome’s Colosseum will soon look a little more like it did in the bad old days two millennia ago, when it first hosted gladiator fights, mock naval battles and public executions carried out by wild animals.
The $35 million project—the first full cleaning in the Colosseum’s history—aims to return it to its former splendor, while also strengthening the overall structure. Earthquakes, the pillaging of pieces of its outer frame, heavy car traffic and Rome’s nearby subway have damaged key parts. The scrubdown should also reveal secrets of how one of the world’s most famous, and often neglected, monuments remained standing for 20 centuries.
Some surprises have already emerged during the project’s first six months. The restorers expect to uncover the first five arcades this summer. Visitors will find that the monument’s Travertine limestone is once again a vibrant dark ivory— Read more.
A protective barrier will be installed around the Colosseum as a precaution measure to prevent passersby from dislodged fragments falling off the amphitheatre’s exterior walls.
The announcement was made on 27 November by Rome’s superintendent of archaeological heritage, Maria Rosaria Barbera, who said her office had “a duty to intervene” for safety reasons.
The impassable security barrier will be composed of cast iron and cement pillars and will be erected at street level at “mathematically calculated” distances between six and 15 metres from the Colosseum.
The fascia di sicurezza concept was first presented to the public in early September when authorities ruled out the installation of “unsightly barriers” and even said that the use of an illuminated boundary was under consideration. Read more.
"While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand; When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls—the World."
If the Venerable Bede (673-735), the Anglo-Saxon monk and the first English historian who wrote these words (later translated by the poet Lord Byron), heard the news today, he might indeed believe that the end of the world was near.
According to Rome’s authorities, the symbol of the Eternal City is in need of support as its south side is 16 inches lower than the north.
The leaning Colosseum might require the kind of structural intervention that straightened the Tower of Pisa.
"The concrete foundation on which the Colosseum rests is like a 42-foot-thick oval doughnut. There could be a stress fracture inside it," Giorgio Monti, from the department of structural engineering at Rome’s La Sapienza University, told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. Read more.
ROME — Rome city officials said the costumed gladiators and centurions will no longer be allowed to ask for money around the Colosseum.
Davide Bordoni, the city’s councilor for commerce, said a task force will be in effect starting Friday to stop the costumed performers from asking tourists to pay them money to pose for pictures, ANSA reported Thursday.
Archeology Superintendent Maria Rosa Barbera, who ordered the crackdown, also told licensed vendors around the Colosseum to distance themselves from the costumed characters.
Officials said the gladiators and centurions will still be able to work in locations including the road leading to the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and the Renaissance Piazza Navona. (source)
Rome - Heavy snow has caused extensive damage to the mediaeval walled town of Urbino and further deteriorated the Colosseum in Rome, already badly in need of repair, Italian newspapers reported on Tuesday.
Partial collapses have been reported at the convents of San Francesco and San Bernardino in Urbino and the roof of the Church of the Capuchins outside the town centre has completely caved in, La Repubblica reported.
There is also water damage in the town’s 12th-century Duomo cathedral.
The roof at the Church of the Holy Cross in the nearby town of Urbania also collapsed and a collection of paintings, drapes and ancient globes has had to be removed from the town’s Ducal Palace due to fears of a collapse.
Thirteenth-century church doors in the town of Cagli have also been damaged. Read more.
London (CNN) — It sits in the ancient heart of Rome and is an emblem of the city’s imperial history as well as an icon of Italy.
But plans to restore Rome’s nearly 2,000-year-old Colosseum are causing rumblings among heritage workers and restorers, compounded by reports in December that small amounts of powdery rock had fallen off the monument.
The current $33 million (25 million euro) restoration plans to restore the Flavian amphitheater, which once hosted spectacular shows and gruesome gladiatorial battles, are being sponsored by Diego della Valle, of luxury Italian brand Tod’s, in exchange for advertising rights.
Restoration of the monument, which attracts up to two million visitors a year, is due to go ahead in March and will involve cleaning of the travertine exterior, the restoration of underground chambers, new gating, the moving of visitor service stations to an area outside of the building itself and increased video security. Read more.
(AP) ROME — Italy’s culture ministry said Wednesday that it is investigating reports that bits of rock have fallen from the Colosseum.
Witnesses reported seeing the fallen masonry Sunday. Italian news agency ANSA reported another bit fell Tuesday, but Colosseum director Rossella Rea denied it and blamed the false report on a “psychosis” that occurs every so often that Rome’s iconic stadium is crumbling.
Italian environmental group Legambiente has frequently raised the alarm about the precarious state of the Colosseum, charging that auto exhaust fumes and vibrations from vehicles and a nearby subway are damaging the Colosseum’s travertine exterior and brick and tufa interior. (source)