Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 23 June |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Ioan Suciu
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Rome’s Colosseum will have a floor again


Livioandronico2013 -(CC BY-SA 4.0)

Arco de Constantino

Zelda Caldwell - published on 05/03/21

Visitors will be able to stand in the arena, just as Christian martyrs did.

Plans are underway to install a floor in Rome’s ancient Colosseum, the site of Christian executions and gladiator contests.

Within two years, visitors will be able to stroll out into the center of the arena and imagine themselves in the position of a Christian, dressed up in animal skins and ready to be devoured by Nero’s dogs.

The $18 million project will install a retractable 32,300-square-foot floor, with rotating wooden slats that will reveal the chambers underneath.

Italy’s culture minister, Dario Franceschini, told Reuters that the new floor will make visiting the Colosseum more of an immersive experience.

“You will be able to walk on it and go to the center of the Colosseum, seeing it in the same way as visitors used to up to the end of the 19th century,” Franceschini told Reuters.

In Ancient Rome, a sand-covered wooden floor topped a subterranean network of tunnels and chambers where animals and fighters were held until they were brought out. 

The idea for restoring the arena’s floor came from archaeologist Daniele Manacorda in 2014 in Archeo. At the time, critics fretted that the storied ancient ruin could be turned into a rock concert venue or soccer stadium.

Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini supported the idea, and invited architects to submit designs for a new floor.

“Where is it written that you can’t protect the value of the Colosseum while also making it more dynamic and useable?” he said at that time.

With the acceptance of a proposal for a new floor, Italy moves a step closer that dream. Whether this means that tourists can buy tickets for historical reenactments of gladiator fights or executions remains to be seen.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Zelda Caldwell
Catholic priest’s chapel is finalist in “Shed of the Year&#...
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
Zoe Romanowsky
Animated film shows the power of fatherhood in just one minute
Philip Kosloski
Can Catholics use the Enneagram personality system?
Theresa Civantos Barber
5 Thoughtful ways to honor a priest this Father’s Day
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.