Contracts are being let for what may be the biggest maintenance and upgrade job Rome's Colosseum has had in almost 21 centuries, complete with a moving and removable floor, major repairs to the lower levels and a system that will use rainwater accumulating under the building to flush toilets.
The project will give the ancient arena a floor for the first time in many centuries, and will allow stabilizing the underground rooms and tunnels that were under the floor until the floor disappeared through centuries of earthquakes, erosion, and medieval-era theft of the stones themselves. The underfloor areas will eventually welcome visitors as well.
The floor will be made of a modified wood material whose slats can move to adjust lighting and access to different areas, and will be entirely removable when needed. In ancient times, the floor was the scene of real and mock battles and other events.
The winning bid was announced Sunday by the Italian Minister of Culture, with the job going to a Milan engineering firm for the design and specifications, with construction contracts to be awarded later in the year, for work that should be completed by 2023. The estimated cost for the project is €18.5 million.