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Monday, July 30, 2012

Colosseum in Rome is Leaning, Officials Say

Colosseum

The Colosseum in Rome. Photograph: Ray Tang/Rex Features

From The Guardian 

The ancient Colosseum in Rome is slanting about 40cm lower on the south side than on the north, and authorities are investigating whether it needs urgent repairs.

Experts first noticed the incline about a year ago and have been monitoring it for the past few months, Rossella Rea, director at the 2,000-year-old monument, said in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, another of Italy's most popular attractions, was reopened in 2001 after being shut for more than a decade as engineers worked to prevent it from falling over and to make it safe for visitors.

Rea has asked La Sapienza University and the environmental geology institute IGAG to study the problem and report back in a year.

Tests have begun to observe the effects that traffic on nearby busy roads may have on the monument.

Prof Giorgio Monti, from La Sapienza's construction technology department, said there might be a crack in the base below the amphitheatre.

"The slab of concrete on which the Colosseum rests, which is like a 13-metre-thick oval doughnut, may have a fracture inside it," he told the newspaper.

He said intervention could be necessary if the concerns are confirmed, along the lines of stabilisation work carried out in Pisa, but he said it was too early to judge what kind of intervention would be most suitable.

The Colosseum – famous for hosting bloody gladiator fights in the days of the Roman empire – attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists and is usually packed with visitors.


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