Rome, January 22 - Rome culture superintendent Umberto Broccoli said Tuesday that two tuff fragments found at the base of the Colosseum did not appear to have fallen from the iconic monument. His comment came in response to an article published by Rome's Il Messaggero newspaper denouncing the latest alleged collapse pending the start of long-awaited and much-needed restoration of the Flavian amphitheatre. "The presence of those fragments is to be attributed to the building site, to the fact that the part of the monument in question is subject to large numbers of visitors and heavy traffic, and so it is not unusual to find such pieces," said Broccoli. Rome's culture chief added that the fragments could have fallen from a lorry or other vehicle used on the building site and that they were not similar to the material topping the Colosseum. The alarm over the state of Rome's signature site dates back to May 2010 when three pieces of plaster fell from the ground floor level. This and subsequent similar events triggered plans for a 25-million euro restoration financed by Tod's shoe company but the project has been subject to repeated delays largely as a result of legal challenges.
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di Giovanni Pastore