Colosseum's restored passageway reveals colourful frescoes and graffiti
A long-delayed restoration of Rome's 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.
The traces indicate that the arena where gladiators fought was far more colourful than previously thought.
Officials unveiled the discoveries Friday and said that the passageway - between the second and third levels of the 1st Century Colosseum - would open to the public starting this summer after the 100,000-dollar restoration is completed.
The frescoes, which were hidden under decades of calcified rock and grime, 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 excavations, archaeological surprises are a risk for builders and for the city's development," CBS News quoted Rome archaeological heritage superintendent Mariarosaria Barbera as saying.
"But here is a beautiful archaeological surprise ... a monument that has been studied and known and appreciated across the world, yet still provides surprises," she added.