The meeting of the ministers of culture of the G20 countries will be held at the end of July at the arena of the world-famous ancient Roman Colosseum, the head of the Italian Ministry of Culture Dario Franceschini said on Friday.
“On July 29-30, the Italian government will hold a G20 round table on culture at the Colosseum Arena, where the delegates will be received by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Mario Draghi. And the world will see that Italy has decided to host such a meeting in the place with which it is most identified in the world,” the minister said during a press conference in Rome on the occasion of the completion of the restoration of the underground part of the Flavian Amphitheater.
Franceschini recalled that the restoration of the priceless cultural object was carried out at private expense, which at one time caused a heated controversy not only in Italy but also abroad. As you know, the money for the restoration of the famous ancient building was allocated by the “shoe king,” the owner of the Tod’s and Hogan brands Diego Della Valle, who invested 25 million euros in this project.
The Minister stressed that he was surprised that such a serious contribution of a private investor to the preservation of the national cultural heritage caused not universal approval, but a discussion at that time. “But, thanks to this gesture, too, the situation has changed somewhat recently. First of all, I believe that an absurd ideological barrier has fallen between the public and private sectors, which can and should cooperate in the management of the country’s cultural heritage,” he said and called on other major Italian entrepreneurs to follow the example of Della Valle.
Franceschini also said that now public funds will begin work on the complete restoration of the Colosseum arena, which will allow you to admire the amphitheater from its very center, as it was until the end of the XIX century.
The agreement to restore the Colosseum at the expense of Tod’s group was reached in January 2011, but due to the heated public discussion, the work began only two years later. In June 2016, the first stage of restoration was completed, associated with the renewal of the external contour of the walls of the ancient amphitheater. The second stage of restoration work, concerning the underground part of the structure, was started in 2018.
The last major restoration of the Flavius Amphitheater was carried out in 1938-1939, after which only small restoration works were carried out.
The construction of the largest amphitheater of the ancient world, which could accommodate more than 50 thousand people, was carried out for eight years during the time of the emperors of the Flavian dynasty. The Colosseum began to be built in 72 under Emperor Vespasian, and in 80 the amphitheater was consecrated by Emperor Titus. In ancient Rome, the Flavian Amphitheater was used for organizing entertainment shows, including the famous gladiatorial fights. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colosseum was visited by approximately six million tourists annually.