New stage in Rome's Colosseum will restore majestic view

Visitors arrive for their tour of the ancient Colosseum in Rome.

A project to build a high-tech, lightweight stage inside the Roman Colosseum will allow visitors a central viewpoint from within the ancient structure “to see the majesty of the monument,” Italy’s culture minister said Sunday.

Dario Franceschini announced a $22 million contract to build and install the retractable structure that will restore the traditional “arena,” or stage for combat, for gladiatorial shows in ancient Rome.

The stage was original to the first-century amphitheater and existed until the 1800s, when it was removed for archaeological digs on the subterranean levels of the ancient structure, Franceschini said.

The project should be completed by 2023. The mobile system will be able to quickly cover or uncover the underground structures below, to both protect them from rain or allow them to be aired out. The project is reversible, meaning it can be removed if plans for the Colosseum change in the future.

The new stage will allow visitors to stand in the center and view the Colosseum’s vaulted walls as they would have been seen by gladiators in ancient Rome.

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Southern Utah is slated to get Utahraptor State Park after a bill was passed in the state legislature designating an area near Arches National Park as such.

“We will have campgrounds, access to trail systems and we’ll be able to provide the facilities and infrastructure that are needed for the state park,” Megan Blackwelder, the southeast region director for Utah State Parks, told Fox13.

Utahraptor State Park is located about 15 miles outside Moab, right outside the western boundary of Arches National Park and along Highway 191.

“It’s right in the middle of a recreation mecca,” said Brian Steed, the executive director of Utah’s Department of Natural Resources.

The park, which will be about 8,000 acres in size, is in an area that is rich in historic and paleontological resources. Dinosaur fossils are everywhere.

Jim Kirkland, the state paleontologist, said the Dalton-Wells Quarry has been the site of a number of major dinosaur finds including something known as “the megablock.” The Utahraptor is perhaps its most famous prehistoric find. (The velociraptors made famous in the “Jurassic Park” movies are based on the skeletal design of a Utahraptor.)

Until now, the area has not been very protected.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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