Architect aims to build missing Colosseum wall

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The Independent Online

The Colosseum, the immense circular auditorium where chariots thundered, lions snacked on Christians and emperors waggled their thumbs, is Italy's most popular historical site. But part of its exterior wall is missing.

The Colosseum, the immense circular auditorium where chariots thundered, lions snacked on Christians and emperors waggled their thumbs, is Italy's most popular historical site. But part of its exterior wall is missing.

Carlo Aymonino, 78, an architect who is restoring the ruins of the Temple of Jupiter on Capitol Hill in Rome, wants to put it back. The work, he suggested, "could even be sponsored, who knows, by Coca-Cola. Think, we could tell the whole world that we have completed the Colosseum." Professor Aymonino, formerly professor of architecture in Rome and rector of Venice University, does not want to rebuild it exactly as it was, merely to close the circle.

He also wants to rip up the boulevard that leads from Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum, built by Mussolini. "They covered up lots of ruins and split the Forum in two," he said. "We don't need streets of shops, but why not have the odd bookshop and café dotted around, something that gives an idea of how lively it might have been?"

Experts are howling down the ideas. Completing or re-creating ancient monuments, said Professor Andrea Carandini, in charge of excavations at the Forum, was "an absolutely terrible idea".

The massive marble drum was commissioned by Emperor Vespasian AD70 and took slaves eight years to build. It was inaugurated AD80 with staged battles that went on for 100 days.

Professor Aymonino will present his proposals to the city's mayor, Walter Veltroni, on 21 April, the date of the mythological founding of Rome.

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