Metro row raises new fears for Colos­seum

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A ROW over the fu­ture of Rome’s metro is threat­en­ing to de­lay ur­gent work to sta­bilise the Colos­seum, adding to fears for the an­cient am­phithe­atre after Italy’s re­cent earth­quakes caused trou­bling cracks in ex­te­rior walls.

The 2000-year-old, partly ru­ined struc­ture was al­lo­cated 4 mil­lion eu­ros (US$4.4 mil­lion) in 2014 to carry out re­in­force­ments deemed nec­es­sary to off­set the im­pact of tun­nel­ing for a new un­der­ground train line which will pass close by.

But the money was never re­leased and guardians of the city’s ar­chi­tec­tural her­itage now fear it never will be after new mayor Vir­ginia Raggi an­nounced she plans to dis­solve the un­der­ground com­pany, Roma Metropoli­tana.

“By liq­ui­dat­ing Roma Metropoli­tana, the mayor has left us with­out any­one to deal with re­gard­ing the fi­nanc­ing needed for the ur­gent strength­en­ing of the Colos­seum,” a spokesper­son for the su­per­in­ten­dent of the city’s ar­chae­l­og­i­cal trea­sures told AFP.

The su­per­in­ten­dent him­self, Francesco Pros­peretti, has warned that he will seek to block any fur­ther work on the still-un­fin­ished metro ex­ten­sion if the funds are not re­leased.

“The Colos­seum can­not wait any longer,” Mr Pros­peretti told Italian me­dia.

“As a cit­i­zen I would not like to de­lay the metro but as the de­fender of this mon­u­ment I may not have any choice.”

Ms Raggi has said work on the metro project will con­tinue with new man­age­ment pro­gres­sively re­plac­ing Roma Metropoli­tana, an or­gan­i­sa­tion she has ac­cused of over­see­ing the “shame­ful squan­der­ing of pub­lic funds.”

The new line is sup­posed to run from the city cen­tre to the east­ern sub­urbs. Most of it opened last year but the fi­nal sec­tion, which will bring it into the Colos­seum area and con­nect with the cap­i­tal’s two other metro lines, re­mains un­fin­ished. –

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