The ministry of cultural heritage has announced that from the second week in October a third level of the Colosseum will open to the public. The provisional opening date for the completely restored underground section of the amphitheatre is 11 October.

Known as a hypogeum, the subterranean level originally comprised a network of passages and chambers and was used to house gladiators and animals, whose access to the arena above was by means of vertical shafts. Excavation work by archaeologists has revealed that over the centuries the hypogeum was restructured at least twelve times.

The ministry has stated that 11 October is broadly in line with the planned completion date for the underground restoration works, which form part of the grand plan to restore the Colosseum by 2013.