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Colosseum Restoration? Italian Government Says Crumbling Amphitheater Needs Help

First Posted: 07/28/10 04:08 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 06:10 PM ET

Italy Colosseum

The Italian government is searching for private sponsors to help pay for the extensive restoration of the Colosseum in exchange for advertising rights, according to Reuters.

Currently only 35% of the ancient wonder is opened to the public, out of fear for public safety. (In May, chunks of mortar fell through protective netting, though no one was harmed.)

But with the Italy still deep in the recession, the government is asking for roughly $32 million in private money.

"If all goes to plan, by 2013 the Colosseum will have been cleaned from top to bottom but even more important, it will be fully accessible to visitors," Francesco Giro, the undersecretary for Italy's heritage ministry, told Reuters.

In addition to restoring the property, the Government hopes to add multimedia tours of unexplored areas of the Colosseum, such as the chambers where the gladiators and animals were kept before battle.

The Government will run ads in the country's major papers next week with hopes of finding funding within the year. During restoration, the Colosseum will stay open, with each part of the amphitheater going through remodeling one by one.

"I think it's a working hypothesis which we can continue to elaborate as far as other Italian monuments are concerned," Culture Minister Sandro Bondi told Reuters.

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Filed by Kate Auletta  |