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5 February 2013 - RESTORATION WORKS #6 - It will be the company 'Gherardi ing.Giancarlo' to carry out the restoration of the Colosseum on both North and South sides and to make the new barriers for the ground floor arches. The Lazio Region Administrative Tribunal accepted the company's appeal against its exclusion from the bid.
In the end who lamented to be excluded has won, and the works will start - at last! As usual in Italy, it is a tribunal that decides who, what and when. My idea, as a simple news reader, is that the real story has not been told clearly. My impression is that we assisted to a dance of lawyers, judges, politicians, sovrintendenti etc. that support vested interests. At least Mr. Della Valle is clear: he hopes to get a positive feedback from his investment; but I wonder instead what are the interests of all those who put obstacles, made appeals, fought against....
February 2013 - Pedestrians and the Colosseum
It is moving these days also the front of those who would like the Colosseum to be a pedestrianised zone (horrible word, but it is English!). It will be in any case necessary to modify the traffic system in the area, because soon the works for the metro C subway will restrict Via dei Fori Imperiali just in front of the Colosseum. Many supporters of the pedestrianization would like to extend further the "protected" area. Maybe if things change - also politically - we will manage to implement - after two hundred years - the project to include the Fora, the Colosseum, the Circus Maximus and the Area of Caracalla Baths in a huge - and marvelous - park. I wish it was true....
.Jan 2013 - FRESCOES FOUND IN THE COLOSSEUM
AFP agency writes:
ROME: Italian archaeologists have found brightly coloured fragments of frescoes depicting heroic and erotic scenes inside a corridor of the Colosseum in Rome, along with samples of ancient graffiti."We have found traces of decorations in blue, red and green," Rossella Rea, director of the 2,000-year-old amphitheatre, told AFP. The fragments "seem to depict the glory of the gladiator world, with laurels, arrows, victory wreaths and even erotic scenes," the Repubblica newspaper said.
The frescoes were found in a corridor currently closed to the public while archaeologists were working to restore an area between the second and third floor of the Colosseum, which has fallen into disrepair in recent years.
"We have also found writing dating back to the 17th century as well as the signatures of spectators and foreign visitors" who had come to watch the Colosseum's famed gladiatorial contests and mock sea battles, Rea said. "We hope to be able to find other traces in this corridor but that depends on the funds available to continue with the restoration," she added.
The frescoes are located in an area covering several square feet in a corridor which is around sixty metres long, and should be open to the public by summer 2014, Rea said.
The Colosseum, which was completed in 80 AD by the Roman emperor Titus and is now one of the most visited sites in the world, is in a pitiful state. Bits of stone, blackened by pollution, have fallen off in previous years, and some experts have voiced concern that the foundations are sinking, giving the amphitheatre a lean. The number of visitors to the Colosseum, which measures 188 metres (620 feet) by 156 metres and is 48.5 metres high, has increased from a million to around six million a year over the past decade thanks mainly to the blockbuster film "Gladiator".
July 2012 - RESTORATION WORKS #5 - The restoration works sponsored by Della Valle will start from December 2012 and will cost 8 million Euro. This is, on paper, the schedule of the first phase of the restoration of the Colosseum.
Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno announced, in the euphoria of the election campaign, that the works would begin on July 31, but in fact that is only the day in which the minister for cultural heritage Lorenzo Ornaghi will hold a press conference to review the current situation. The minister did not like at all this anticipation by Alemanno, and would like to discuss other cultural initiatives as well.
There will be nearly three years of restoration, during which time, however, the monument will never shut. The plan of works supported by the sponsorship of Diego Della Valle seems to be marked by a still hypothetical calendar. The first step will be the restoration of the northern and the southern sides of the monument, along with the construction of new railings close the arches of the first order.
For this first contract, worth approximately EUR 8.3 million, the procedures for awarding a tender have already been carried out, provisionally awarding the works to the company that was first on the list. But for the final allocation will have to wait another month, even in the face of complaints that are preparing the other twenty competitors back in the ranking. If delays are content delivery is scheduled for early December. The second phase of work will cover the building of the new service centre outside the Colosseum.
Its location should be on the embankment on the side of Via Celio Vibenna, an area of excavation that has already been studied and investigated during the construction of the metro line B, and therefore should not reveal many surprises from the archaeological point of view. The service centre will be a multifunctional complex for the visitors to the Colosseum, with ticket office, bookshop, cafeteria and toilets.
March 2012 - RESTORATION WORKS AND CONTROVERSY #4 - Around the Colosseum there is an undergrowth of folklore and business that destroys any decorum and dignity. Rossella Rea, director of the monument, laments the gradual worsening of the situation, as a consequence of the authorizations to vendors released by the city Council without imposing any aesthetic canon. Rea counted fourteen stalls every day patrolling the streets: "One is attached to the main entrance, and the public can never understand where you enter. Some may even be stationed on the emergency exits. Not to mention the maintenance that continues to be insufficient. After the last snowfall the municipality threw salt on the antique travertine pavement, an inappropriate treatment that is likely to break the stones, and that forced us to clean with special vacuum cleaners. The great effort that the state and private sponsors are doing on the Colosseum, also thanks to mayor Alemanno, is likely to be wasted if we don't remedy this deterioration that has dragged on for decades. It 's necessary to clarify the concept of value, that cannot be identified only with financial income, but it means to plan and restore dignity to places." The condition of the square adds to the list of complaints: "...There are restraining orders requiring compliance with the dignity of the monuments, but the municipality has always disregarded the warnings of the Superintendent - says former superintendent Adriano La Regina, now a consultant to the City Hall. "Now in front of the Colosseum there's everything, including street vendors and stalls. The deterioration of the square is a problem that some do not want to solve, also because street vendors are powerful lobby, which is well represented in the City Council."
February 2012 - RESTORATION WORKS AND CONTROVERSY #3 - The relevant authority declared that the bidding procedure was regular. About 160 companies are qualified for this kind of works and hope to get a slice of the cake.
1 December 2011 - RESTORATION WORKS AND CONTROVERSY #2 - ARI (the association of Italian Restorers ) has sent an open letter to the newly appointed Minister of Heritage, Lorenzo Ornaghi, asking to stop the bidding procedure for the restoration of the Colosseum, in order to avoid irreparable damages to the Colosseum. ARI maintains that the Special Commissioner Roberto Cecchi has interpreted the law so that the call for tenders of Aug. 8th 2011 was destined in fact to building companies and not to companies specialised in restoration of monuments. Moreover, the restoration of the monument has been the subject of a "saggio esecutivo" by the Istituto Centrale del Restauro that clearly showed what and how to do on the Colosseum. In conclusion, ARI believes that the Colosseum will receive more damages than benefits by the Tod's Group operation.
19 November 2011 - RESTORATION WORKS AND CONTROVERSY
Under Secretary Francesco Giro (now ex Under Secretary after the fall of the Berlusconi government) announced that the restoration works for the Colosseum will start between May and June 20112. The delay is due to the "newness" of the sponsorship (by the shoe company Tod's Group - see below).
In the meantime, Codacons, a consumer association, has appealed the administrative tribunal against the entrusting of the works to the Group, as they maintain that the sponsorship infringes the bidding law. The bids are actually two: one of 8.7 million Euro regarding the restoration of the facade and a new barrier in the ground floor arches and another - of about 4.6 million Euro - for the construction of a "centro servizi" (service centre) between the Colosseum and via Celio Vibenna.
Codacons claims that the Special Commissioner Roberto Cecchi went beyond his powers when he signed the agreement with Tod's, that the call for tenders - indefinite and vague - allowed for the entrusting the works directly to the Tod's Group, despite a first negative evaluation of their proposal.
Moreover UIL, a Trade Union, had also appealed the Rome Tribunal through its National Cultural Heritage "Coordinamento", for basically the same reasons, adding also that 25 million Euro for the exploitation of the Colosseum image is a gift to Tod's, since "... any economist would evaluate the agreement over 200 million Euro, considering the exclusive rights and the duration of over 15 years with a communication plan ... saleable all over the world." UIL informs that recently Volkswagen asked our Cultural Heritage Ministry for permission to use the Colosseum for advertising, and were ready to fork out between 500.000 and 1.500.000 Euro (proposal that could not be accepted because of the 21 January agreement). Rome's mayor Gianni Alemanno declared that the bidding procedure was regular and that the Tribunal will confirm its lawfulness.
January 2011 - Sponsorship for restoration works!!
Tod's Group is sponsoring major works of the Colosseum. The head of Tod's shoe company, Diego Della Valle, signed on Jan. 2011 an agreement with the authorities committing 25 million Euro to restore the monument. In exchange the Association "Amici del Colosseo", created by the sponsor, will get exclusive rights to use the image of the monument for advertisement for 15 years and will build a service centre for advertising. Here is the text of the agreement (in Italian).
March 2003 - Paul McCartney at the Colosseum - there have been two concerts: the first one on the 10th inside the monument, for about 400 people paying about 500-100 Euros a ticket (money is destined to the Stop Land Mines charity) and the following night another great one outside, in front of 500.000 people. We were there. Daniele went at 9 in the morning to occupy a place near the stage. We - older fans - went much later and enjoyed the show from the big screens along Via dei Fori Imperiali. It was unforgettable! The light show on the Colosseum was amazing! Thank you Paul ! You never stop giving us emotions !
Sept 2002 - The municipality of Rome shall issue a license of Gladiator. click here
Sept. 2001 - An article on Newsweek International (the pictures are mine): Rebuilding The Colosseum - Renovations at Romes mightiest monument are opening up sights that were hidden for centuries - By Barbie Nadeau - NEWSWEEK INTERNATIONAL
May 2001 - Nero's lake reappears after a storm
March 2001 - The Colosseum is the real wonder of the world, at least according to the Italians who have voted in an internet poll about the new 7 wonders (if you want to vote go to http://www.new7wonders.com ). The initiative was promoted by the magazine Focus and the Stargate TV program, on Italian TV Tele Monte Carlo. The Colosseum is 4th in the international score, after the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and the Chichén Itzà Pyramid.
The Italian votes went to:
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Great Wall of China
Palazzo Ducale in Venice
Moai sculptures in Easter Island
(From the magazine Focus - March 2001)