Lazio court halts Colosseum national park

Rome mayor welcomes ruling against plan by Italian culture minister.

Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini is to appeal after the Lazio regional administrative tribunal (TAR) ruled against his January decree establishing a new archaeological park, which would include the Colosseum, the Domus Aurea, Palatine Hill and Forum sites.

The court upheld an appeal from Rome city council which had argued that the park would be "harmful to the interests of Roma Capitale", referring to the fact that under the new plan the city would only receive 30 per cent of ticket sales proceeds from the Colosseum and Forum.

The court ruled that Franceschini did not have the authority to establish the national park, which was designed to streamline the management of the capital’s archaeological sites, increase visitor numbers and offer better services.

The 7 June ruling was welcomed by Rome's mayor Virginia Raggi, of the anti-establishment Movimento 5 Stelle, who tweeted: #Colosseum. The citizens have won. Good for the TAR. Government attempt defeated. Rome remains for everyone".

Franceschini said he was not surprised at the decision by TAR which recently ruled that the appointment procedures for five directors of Italy’s museums were irregular, including those of foreign-born directors.