When travelling to Italy, there are basic spots that every tourist needs to add to their bucket list: the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Amalfi Coast, the Trevi Fountain and of course, the Colosseum. Here’s the thing though: if you were hoping to get sky-high views of the Colosseum, you’ve been out of luck for the past few decades — wear and tear have caused the top levels to remain closed to the public.
Until now, that is.
After waiting four decades, the upper levels of the historic landmark has finally re-opened for visitors thanks to a massive restoration project that took three years to complete.
At the fourth and fifth levels, which would have been considered cheap seats back in the day, tourists can take in the entire Colosseum from roughly 40 metres above the ground. The upper levels also lead to a new gallery and restored corridor where visitors can see traces of ancient Roman life, including six ancient toilets.
“It is an incredible view of the Colosseum and Rome, which the visitor will remember as one of the most beautiful things he has seen in his life,” said Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini.
Visitors can now see the upper levels on the traditional underground guided tours. But if you’ve been to the Colosseum before and just want to check out the new sections, specific top-level tours will be offered as early as November first.
Is seeing the restored parts of the Colosseum a make-or-break part of your visit to Italy? You may want to hold off on visiting then. These new levels are just the beginning of a massive restoration project that will eventually include a new visitor centre and the restoration of the underground vaults. That’s where animals and prisoners about to be executed were held before being forced to fight for blood-thirsty crowds. It’s amazing what some funding and a few historians can achieve when they put their minds together.
So when in Rome, do as the Romans do and climb all five of the Colosseum’s levels.