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What’s beneath the Colosseum?

Most of us have already marvelled at Rome’s amazing historic landmark as it suddenly looms before us as we turn a corner onto the Via dei Fori Imperiali. It’s almost more impressive from the outside than from within. Perhaps not anymore. Due to open to the public in August, now set for October 14th, the Colosseum will open its underground passageways, the city’s latest fascinating tourist attraction.

These are the subterranean passageways where gladiators waited to do battle and where lions, tigers, bulls, ostriches and gazelles were kept in cells, reports the Daily Telegraph. Two levels of tunnels and chambers were hidden beneath the arena, invisible to the crowds.

Free entertainment for the spectators consisted of hunting spectacles involving big cats, deer and ostriches, some public executions and finally gladiatorial contests. Slaves winched up the wild beasts in lifts from the bowels of the building into the sand-covered arena, where they would appear through a kind of trap door as if from nowhere.

‘You will get an insight into not only the violence that took place, but the Romans' capacity to organise these shows. We think we have invented everything but nothing is really new,’ said architect Barbara Nazzar.

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