Falling mortar renews worry over Rome's Colosseum

ROME Wed May 12, 2010 6:41pm IST

A general view of the Colosseum in Rome in this October 30, 2009 file photo. Falling chunks of mortar from Rome's Colosseum has rekindled the debate about the state of the Italian capital's archaeological treasures -- some of which are literally falling apart. REUTERS/Sharon Lee/Files

A general view of the Colosseum in Rome in this October 30, 2009 file photo. Falling chunks of mortar from Rome's Colosseum has rekindled the debate about the state of the Italian capital's archaeological treasures -- some of which are literally falling apart.

Credit: Reuters/Sharon Lee/Files

ROME (Reuters Life!) - Falling chunks of mortar from Rome's Colosseum has rekindled the debate about the state of the Italian capital's archaeological treasures -- some of which are literally falling apart.

Three pieces of mortar -- measuring half a square metre (yard) -- collapsed at the weekend in the ancient amphitheatre, one of the most popular sites in Rome, plunging through a protective netting.

It was the latest in a string of collapses in the forum, where ancient Romans came to watch gladiators fight and see massive spectacles staged, raising fears about visitor safety and whether the buildings can remain standing for much longer as water leaks from rain undermine their foundations.

A restoration and cleaning project is set to start within the next month at the Colosseum, which was completed in 80 AD, but the city council is still struggling to raise all the funds needed from the private sector and from donors abroad.

"We have already organised work on all areas around the three rings of the Colosseum, the first, second and third floors, which will be completely restored under this project involving conservation work for 23 million euros" said the under-secretary for Italy's heritage ministry, Francesco Giro.

In March, part of the ceiling collapsed at the nearby Palace of Nero, or Domus Aurea -- which has been plagued by structural problems since it was opened to the public in 1999.

"Conservation, preservation and restoration is needed in the Colosseum and many other places," said Darius Arya of the American Institute for Roman Culture.

"It is very difficult because these are not pieces and artefacts that are inside a museum, they are outside in the open with the rain and the noise and all these tourists walking around. So these are places that need even more money than most people can imagine," he added.

(Reporting by Eleanor Biles and Ella Ide, editing by Paul Casciato)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

ENTERTAINMENT SHOWCASE

A Minute With

A Minute With

Jane Fonda on learning from the young comic set   Full Article 

Loren turns 80

Loren turns 80

Sophia Loren, Italy's national icon, turns 80 with book of memoirs.  Full Article 

More Cancer Tests

More Cancer Tests

Angelina Jolie surgery sparks surge in female cancer tests - study  Full Article 

Breakout Star

Breakout Star

Burberry's first Indian model Neelam Gill conquers fashion world.  Video 

Ig Nobel

Ig Nobel

Banana peel study, ugly art research win Ig Nobel spoof awards  Full Article 

Subdued Role

Subdued Role

Reese Witherspoon finds lessons in 'The Good Lie'.   Full Article 

Best-Dressed

Best-Dressed

Singer Taylor Swift leads People Magazine's best-dressed list.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage