€80 million of finances for Italy’s culture and heritage sites including the Colosseum and the Ufizzi Gallery


Announced by Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini last month, the country will allocate €80 million euros worth of investments in some of Italy’s most important museums and heritage sites.

In Florence, €18 million is intended for plans to enlarge the Uffizi Gallery, while €5 million will go towards the Museum of Ancient Ships in Pisa, where nine Roman cargo ships discovered in 1998 will eventually go on display, after many years of delay.

In Rome, €18.5 million euros are designated to rebuild the arena floor in the 2,000-year old Colosseum where gladiators once fought wild beasts. The wooden and sand floor would be removable to allow the continuation of archaeological research with additional hopes to house events and re-enactments of Roman-era spectacles. A modern theatrical adaptation would certainly have to be tamed down from the barbarian and cruel battles of ancient Roman times. The subterranean area of the structure, where theatrical props and thousands of animals were kept, could be turned into a museum. In fact, a typical animal cage and ancient style elevator has already been constructed and tested – read about it and watch the video here.

Standing 48.5 meters (159 feet) tall, the Colosseum was the largest amphitheater built during the Roman empire, where 80,000 spectators would crowd to see bloody battles among which the greatest gladiators would show their strength against wild beasts for entertainment. One of the largest tourist attractions in the country, it now welcomes more than six million visitors each year.

However, not everyone is pleased with the idea of rebuilding the arena floor, after it was removed by excavators in the late 19th century. Some believe that the goal should be to preserve the historic monument, rather than re-construct what time has written in the history books. The danger is to create an atmosphere of a Hollywood style film set. The current view from above to the lower level ruins will also be concealed. Read Thumbs down! Why it’s a disaster to restore the Colosseum.

Rome's Colosseum under scaffolding

Rome’s Colosseum under scaffolding

Already undergoing repairs since 2013 from a generous donations by fashion tycoon Diego Della Valle, the Colosseum is still partially covered with scaffolding with works expected to be finished in early 2016.

About SACI

SACI is a US non-profit College of Art and Design in Florence, Italy, for undergraduate and graduate students seeking accredited instruction in studio art, design, conservation, art history, and Italian language and culture. Founded in 1975, SACI offers the following programs: Academic Semester/Year Abroad, Summer Studies, Venice Summer Program, Post-Bac in Conservation, MFA in Studio Art, MA in Art History.

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