Italy seeks design proposals to rebuild the Colosseum floor

The Colosseum in Rome, seen from the interior
The current interior of the Colosseum. Image: Marie-Claire (Wikimedia), CC BY-SA 3.0

The Colosseum hasn’t been complete in a very, very long time. Over the centuries, it has decayed, been reused, excavated and partially restored. The Italian government has now set it sights on giving the amphitheatre its floor back.

The Colosseum has currently been without a floor for about a century. The absence of a floor reveals the hypergeum, the complex network of tunnels underneath the theatre. These tunnels were used to move gladiators and animals through when they were needed in the arena. They also featured multiple elevators and trapdoors that moved caged animals and set pieces to and from the stage.

Rather than making the hypergeum invisible by putting a floor on it or leaving it in its current crumbled state, the Italian government wants to build a retractable floor with functioning elevators and trapdoors, just like old times. But, unlike in the old times, this new floor will be used for concerts and plays. A fully functioning floor will also give visitors a better look at the way the Colosseum was used. In addition, it will give visitors the opportunity to step on the stage of one of the most famous theatres in the world and see it from a new perspective.

To build this new floor, the Italian government is seeking design proposals from engineers all over the world. The submissions close on February 1st, and the project is expected to be finished by 2023.

Source: BBC News, Smithsonian Magazine, Lonely Planet

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