Soon You’ll Be Able to Attend a Concert at the Colosseum

Catch a show at the very same place gladiators fought to the death

The Colosseum in Rome
By 2023 you might be able to see your favorite band live at the Colosseum — the real one.
Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

Italian officials have set to work on a new vision for the Colosseum, one that includes concerts, theater and the ability for visitors to stand in the very place where gladiators fought to the death. According to the BBC, the Italian government is currently taking bids from engineers to build a retractable floor complete with trap doors and hidden lifts, with a budget of $22.5 million. Design proposals are due by February 1 with officials looking to complete the project as soon as 2023.

The Colosseum’s original wooden floor fell into disrepair hundreds of years ago, in turn exposing the network of underground tunnels that were used primarily to carry out grisly surprises (say an underground elevator that would lift a lion into the arena) and make for a more spectacular show.

Yet the absence of a floor has made it difficult for visitors to fully envision the fights and shows that occurred in the amphitheater, a problem that would be solved by this project as a new floor would “fully allow the public to fully understand the use and function of this icon of the ancient world,” according to a statement from Italian officials.

An ambitious undertaking, one requirement of the redesign is the ability for the floor or any mechanical components to close quickly in the event of rain, in order to preserve the underground labyrinth.

As a result of the retractable floor, the Italian cultural ministry believes the arena could potentially be a suitable venue for “high culture” events, such as concerts and theater. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) that doesn’t include gladiator fights.


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