The Italian government approved a plan to equip the ancient Roman theater in Rome with a new square, giving visitors the opportunity to stand in the place where gladiators fought in the past.
On Sunday, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini announced the project to build a movable wooden plaza in the middle of the stage.
The Italian engineering firm Milan Enginria won the contract for the project, worth 18.5 million euros, to design the plaza.
The square is expected to be completed by 2023.
There is no arena at present at the archaeological site, which is 2,000 years old. Archaeologists removed it in the nineteenth century, uncovering a network of underground tunnels in which gladiators and animals waited before the bloody Roman sports began.
Franceschini said the new “unique” square would allow visitors to “see the grandeur of the Roman theater” from the center.
He added, “It is a new step towards rebuilding the square. It is an ambitious project that will help preserve the ancient buildings by restoring the original image of the Roman theater.”
Once the arena is finished and restored to its former glory, the minister said, cultural activities could be held in the Roman theater.
Milan Enginria was one of 10 competing companies that responded to the Italian government’s call in 2020 to submit bids for the design of the new arena for the Roman theater.
The winning design includes the installation of hundreds of rotatable wood panels that allow natural light and air into the underground rooms.
The Roman Theater is the largest amphitheater in the Roman Empire.
Wrestling fights and other public performances were held in it in front of crowds of not less than 50,000 people.
Despite the decline in tourism due to the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, the Roman Theater is still one of the most famous Italian monuments, and it attracted 7.6 million visitors in 2019 before the outbreak of the epidemic.