The long-awaited restoration of the Colosseum is set to begin within 10 days, the mayor of Rome Ignazio Marino said on 8 July.
The €25-m project is being financed by shoe magnate Diego Della Valle, the owner of high-end Italian shoe company Tod's.
Marino also announced that on 30 July the city will launch the first phase of its project banning private traffic on Via dei Fori Imperiali. The plan involves all private traffic being diverted away from the Roman Forum and the Colosseum, up Via Cavour and onto Via degli Annibaldi, with return traffic from S. Giovanni being routed up Via Merulana in the direction of S. Maria Maggiore.
The first phase will see speed limits reduced to 30km p/h for taxis and public buses along Via dei Fori Imperiali. The second phase will take place over the Christmas period and will involve the widening of footpaths in the area and the introduction of a cycling lane towards Colle Oppio, opposite the Colosseum.
The city administration has also decided to ban its own official auto blu cars, and Marino hopes that "other administrations" will follow this example. The mayor said that while there was no plan to introduce a complete ban on public transport from using Via dei Fori Imperiali, the months ahead will tell whether the city can take "further steps" or not.
Marino said his administration believes strongly in pedestrianising Rome’s important historical areas, and revealed that the Tridente area – centred around Via del Corso and spanning Piazza del Popolo, Piazza di Spagna and the river Tiber – was one of the areas to be studied.
In addition the capital is seeking to "rationalise" the presence of mobile snack bars in Rome, an issue described by the city’s transport councillor Guido Improta as “a balancing act between the city and the region [of Lazio].”
Meanwhile there is an online referendum in which people can select three answers in relation to the pedestrianisation of Via dei Fori Imperiali: "Yes, I agree completely," "No, I totally disagree" or "Yes, but gradually". However as of 11.30 on Tuesday 9 July only 55 people had voted.
The pedestrianisation project can be viewed on the city website.