di Davide Marchetta
Rome, July 17 - Everything is ready for restoration work to begin on Rome's iconic Colosseum, the monument's director said Wednesday. And after that, maybe the world's largest archaeological park could be created there, said Rossella Rea during an interview with State broadcaster RAI. "We are ready to go," said Rea, who was later asked to comment on suggestions by Rome Mayor Ignazio Marino about creating a giant archaeological park in the surrounding area, which includes the Roman and Imperial Forums. "The time is ripe for this to happen especially starting from the Colosseum," said Rea. Cleaning and restoration of external surfaces is planned, to deal with damage wrought by pollution and decades of weather systems. It's expected that 10 arches at a time will be covered in scaffolding for recovery work. Restoration of the mighty Colosseum, which is close to 2,000 years old and feeling its age, has been controversial because the 25-million-euro project will be privately financed by Diego Della Valle, owner of upscale shoe manufacturer Tod's. Consumer group Codacons has a long-running legal complaint that the bidding process on the project lacked transparency and yielded too many concessions to Della Valle. The Roman superintendency of archaeology already began work in January to create a safety zone around the ancient Roman arena to prevent injuries from possible falling materials. Begun in 72 AD, the Colosseum, or Flavian Amphitheatre, is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering.