ROME — A long-delayed restoration of the Colosseum’s only intact internal passageway has yielded ancient traces of red, black, green and blue frescoes — as well as graffiti and drawings of phallic symbols — indicating that the arena where gladiators fought was far more colorful than previously thought.
Officials unveiled the discoveries Friday and said the passageway — between the second and third levels of the 1st Century Colosseum — would open to the public starting this summer, after the €80,000 ($100,000) restoration is completed.
The frescoes were hidden under decades of calcified rock and grime, and were revealed during a cleaning and restoration project over the last two months. The traces confirmed that while the Colosseum today is a fairly monochrome gray travertine rock, red brick and moss-covered marble, in its day its interior halls were a rich and expensive Technicolor.
“We’re used to thinking that during…
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