Colosseum to open underground tunnels

Archaeologists have almost completed a $28 million project to preserve the basement of the Colosseum so it can be opened to the public.

Underneath the famous building is an underground network of cells and corridors that housed gladiators, wild animals, and prisoners as they waited for their turn to go out on the sands and offer a day’s entertainment to 50,000 screaming fans.

The Colosseum is already an atmospheric place, but when these chambers open to the public it will be even more so. Imagine what it must have been like to be a gladiator looking up at the stone vaults, hearing the distant roar of the crowds, and wondering if you’d ever stand under another roof again.

Archaeologists have shored up the walls and are adding walkways so that the millions of tourists who visit Rome’s iconic building won’t damage the remains. It’s not clear exactly when it will open, but the archaeologists have said their work is nearly done. Stay tuned.

BBC news cameras got a sneak peak at what’s sure to be a prime stop on any tour of Rome. You can see the clip here.

Image courtesy Dilif via Wikimedia Commons.