During the past few weeks, I have been pondering a story from the news about a project to restore parts of the ancient Roman Colosseum and open those areas to tourists. The story claimed that for the first time ever, the sections below Rome’s Colosseum, where gladiators and animals waited before combat, will be opened to the public.
The $30 million project, which is being funded by a corporate donation from the Italian fashion brand Tod’s, will complete an extensive renovation of the hypogea—an area comprising the subterranean pathways —was announced with much fanfare in a ceremony in June. Wooden walkways have been installed throughout the underground structure, making it accessible to visitors for the first time in the Colosseum’s nearly 2,000-year history.
My confusion stems from the fact that I remember touring the hypogea and other underground areas of the Colosseum forty years ago on my first visit to Rome. So, either my memory is faulty or in the past it was possible to explore at least some of the underground sections of the ancient building. If you’ve been to Rome’s most famous monument, and if you’ve visited the hypogea please let me know.