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Colosseum, the 18.5 million tender for the new arena is underway

Colosseum, the 18.5 million tender for the new arena is underway

mibact invitalia

Designing a high-tech, but reversible and non-invasive structure that gives visitors the opportunity to see not only, as today, the subway, but to contemplate a visit to the center of the arena.

by Marilena Pirrelli

(beatrice prève –

Designing a high-tech, but reversible and non-invasive structure that gives visitors the opportunity to see not only, as today, the subway, but to contemplate a visit to the center of the arena.

5 ‘reading

It will no longer be what we know, but much more. We could imagine the Arena Coliseum and see it in its functionality thanks to the recently launched contest for its reconstruction. The tender for the design, announced the minister of culture Dario Franceschini, is online at the website of Invitalia . Work is underway, with funding from 18.5 million euros, is expected “by 2021”. It will be a high-tech structure, but reversible and non-invasive, he says: “A great technological intervention, which will offer visitors the opportunity not only to see the subsoil, as today, but to contemplate the beauty of the Colosseum from the center of the sand. . “The start of the works is approaching,” for 2021 “,” it will allow the public to fully understand the use and function of this icon of the ancient world, “explained the minister who has supported the project since 2015, when she advanced the idea was The archeologist Daniele manacorda.


A great popular theater, equipped with the most advanced technologies, forklifts and complex stage machines to give life to the most exciting shows, hunts, fights, for a while even naval battles. Sought after by the Flavians who inaugurated it in 80 AD and built in just eight years where Nero had wanted a large lake for his Domus Aurea, the Colosseum, or ‘hunting theater’ as the Romans called it, his foothold was in the wooden sand, a board that in ancient times measured 76 meters by 44 and was covered with sand. And it is from there, from the studies of the archaeologists who have worked on the restoration of the monument in recent decades, that the challenge to rebuild the sand begins.

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The budget is the one announced long ago, 18.5 million euros, the mission now is to find the designer or team of designers to whom to entrust the task of transforming the dream of the minister and the indication of the archaeologists into reality. There is time until February 1 to compete, the text of the call is on the Invitalia platform, accompanied by a substantial ‘management document’ developed by Colosseum Archaeological Park . A historical and technical report full of details, to which is added the report of all the studies carried out in the last decades. Indeed, a guide for aspiring designers and an instruction manual that cannot be derogated from. “We will always follow everything closely, each choice must be examined with us,” says the director of the Colosseum Archaeological Park. Alfonsina Russo.

Reviving history

Wonderful instrument of consensus, the Colosseum throughout the centuries, from Domitian to the Severus, was modified and improved to make it a “machine” of spectacles, for the incredibly advanced era with dozens of forklifts (even 60 in the era of the Severans) capable of toppling dozens of wild beasts on the scene simultaneously. In the intentions of the first designers, the space of the wooden arena was designed to be flooded and thus allow the organization of the naumachia, which relived historical naval battles on a reduced scale, according to account. Martial. But the amphitheater space was obviously not very suitable for these kinds of shows, so Domiziano He decided to move them to other locations, transforming in turn the area of ​​the show with the creation of a complex underground system from which, thanks to various machinery, sets and beasts were made to climb to the floor of the arena. The basement was organized in 15 corridors, 8 of which parallel a central gallery and housed the necessary equipment for games, weapons and cages for the animals. Winch-powered hoists were used to make gladiators, animals, and stage machines appear in the center of the arena, through hatches and inclined planes. A technology that needed a lot of human work, if one thinks precisely that in the time of Domitian, 224 people were needed to move the 28 ‘elevators’ present at the same time. And it is precisely in the arena of Domiciano, explains Alfonsina Russo, who investigates the studies for reconstruction. “A great challenge”, says the archaeologist, convinced as the minister that the reconstruction project will offer “a new potential” to the monument always visited in Italy, as well as a more suggestive visit, and the possibility that visitors fully read the monument and understand its mechanisms, including an increased capacity for “always high-level” cultural events. The idea, he clarifies, is that of a mobile and high-performance structure “that allows the sand to open during the day for a dialogue between what emerges and the underlying mechanisms.”

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Production times are expected to be fast. The executive project should be completed by the end of spring 2021, the second tender to choose the company in early summer and the works could also be completed by the end of the year. As well as the restoration work currently underway in the basement, which is also intended to be presented in 2021. Regarding the visits, hoping that the Covid drama will be resolved soon, there is no problem: even during the works, the director ensures that the Colosseum “will remain”. always open to the public “.