Saturday, August 04, 2012


THE COLOS­SE­UM is not only crum­bling to pieces but is also lean­ing to one side — and restora­tion work is tied up in a court case over a shoe com­pa­ny's mer­chan­dis­ing scheme. Rome's amphithe­ater, built in the First Cen­tu­ry and one of Italy's main attrac­tions, is slant­i­ng about 40 cm (16 inch­es) lower on the south side than on the north, archae­ol­o­gists and experts work­ing on its restora­tion have dis­cov­ered. 

Spe­cial­ists in charge of the preser­va­tion of this mon­u­ment believe that cars, motor­cy­cles, buses and pub­lic trans­porta­tion are among the caus­es of its deterioration.  

In recent months, chunks of mason­ry have fall­en from the edi­fice, endan­ger­ing tourists who visit the site daily. 

Restora­tion work was sup­posed to begin in early August, the first restora­tion project at the Colos­se­um in 73 years.  

How­ev­er, the restora­tion project has been tied up in court pend­ing a deci­sion on whether a shoe man­u­fac­tur­er can have exclu­sive rights to the Colos­se­um logo in return for pro­vid­ing $30 mil­lion in fund­ing for the restora­tion work. 

Declared a World Her­itage site by UNESCO 
in 1980, the Colos­se­um is one of the most famous sites from clas­si­cal times for its his­to­ry and preser­va­tion.