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Colosseum Clean-Up – Restoring History

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Ever wondered if and when they clean the Colosseum? Well, yes they do! Actually, the Colosseum needs a good scrub every so often since the marble tends to absorb dirt and smog particles that give it a dark, and frankly scruffy, appearance.

colosseum under restoration

While the great arches are always a stunning sight, especially when the sun shines bright, they are especially fascinating when the delicate nuances of the travertine marble is smog-free. Romans and tourists alike can then admire the ancient Flavian Amphitheater in all its glory! Light pink, ivory and honey shades make the freshly-cleaned Colosseum an unforgettable sight.

Many years of dirt!
Nowadays, traffic is limited next to the Colosseum, but up until about 50 or 60 years ago you could find Vespas zooming by alongside Roman drivers. Take a look at some old Italian black and white movies and vintage postcards and you’ll get an idea of how the Coliseum got so dirty! Romans even used to be able to park their cars right in front of the main entrance of the Coliseum! Ah… the good old days…

Time for a shower…
So when the Colosseum gets too dirty, it gets surrounded by scaffolding and restorers who are busy for months, cleaning every little hole and brick with a delicate water spray that will melt the impurities while avoiding further damage, and then finishing the work manually, using sponges and even toothbrushes to clean the Colosseum. Now, that’s dedication!
So patience, water and time…This is what it takes to make the Colosseum squeaky clean. Since the cleaning process can take quite a long time to be completed, the scaffolding covers just a little portion of the monument at a time, so that everybody can compare and contrast the “before” side and the “after” side.

Chatting about it all day
Newspapers and Roman people will not talk of anything else for quite a while! This is what happens when you live in the Eternal City, and the Colosseum is just on the road to your office…

“Have you seen the Colosseum today? It’s so clean and beautiful now!
“What a huge difference! It’s gorgeous!”
“It almost looks Photoshopped!”

Coffee talk like the above is most likely what you’ll hear if you’re grabbing a coffee with locals by the Colosseum.

You got to see it, to believe it
If you find yourself in Rome during the cleaning, gets cameras ready to truly capture history in the making! You’ll definitely want to remember it!


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