Rome’s Colosseum can now be viewed from a whole new angle
Rome’s Colosseum can now be viewed from a whole new angle.
The iconic ancient landmark is about to be more accessible to the public than it has been in four decades.
The fifth and highest level of the towering attraction will be open to tourists from November 1.
More than 120ft above the ground, the top floor offers unrivalled views of the amphitheatre.
Rome’s Colosseum will open the top tier to tourists for the first time in 40 years
The newly opened tier used to be reserved for plebeians, who would come to watch gladiator and wild animal fights.
These represented the cheapest seats as they were furtherest away from the spectacle below.
Italian minister for culture Dario Franceschini told The Times: “Plebs had to climb steep steps to the fifth level, 120ft [37 metres] high, where wooden seats awaited them, although toilets were laid on and spectators could enjoy the sweeping views over the Roman forum.”
Tourists will be led up to the plebeian section in groups of 25 by guides.
Rome: The Colosseum’s top tier used to be reserved for plebeians
Franceschini added: “With the construction of the arena, it will be truly possible to understand what it meant to watch a performance at the Colosseum.”
While it might prove a great vantage point now, in ancient Roman times the scene was not so pleasant.
Rossella Rea, the director of the Colosseum, told The Telegraph: “The noise and the smell would have been hellish.
“The wild animals were kept in underground tunnels. They were not fed for days.
Rome: The Colosseum’s top tier has been closed to tourists for four decades
“So when they were hoisted up from the darkness to the arena in cages, they would have been terrified. The carnage was terrible.”
Nearly 2,000 years ago the ancient stadium accommodated crowds of 50,000 to 80,000 at a time.
Earlier this year officials in Rome revealed they were considering an exclusion zone for the Colosseum after a bout of vandalism and break-ins.
Vandalism isn’t the only concern for the Colosseum. The historic structure has developed widening cracks after a series of devastating earthquakes in Italy.