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Colosseum head calls for end to rock concerts in Rome's Circus Maximus

Rome landmark is "not stadium or concert hall".

Rome's Circus Maximus is being put at risk by rock concerts held in the ancient Roman venue, according to the director of the Colosseum archaeological park.

"The Circus Maximus is a monument, not a stadium or a concert hall" - Alfonsina Russo told AGI news agency - "These mega-rock concerts put it at risk, just as the Palatine Hill which is nearby is also at risk."

Russo was speaking amid the fallout from Monday night's Travis Scott concert at the Circus Maximus, with 60,000 people jumping around and noise so loud that Romans called the emergency services fearing an earthquake.

Residents in central and south Rome took to Twitter to complain that the vibrations from the concert by the American rapper rattled their homes.

Russo told AGI on Tuesday that her team had not detected any damage to archaeological heritage "so far, but we don't know what will happen."

"The Circus Maximus is not a suitable place for these kind of concerts" - Russo said - "Let's remember that the Circus Maximus is not a field, it's a monument: it has underground tunnels, archaeological areas, you can't jump on it for hours, in tens of thousands."

This summer there have already been several high-profile rock concerts, all sold-out, in the Circus Maximus: Imagine Dragons last week, Guns N' Roses in July and Bruce Springsteen in May.

In relation to how the concerts are organised, Russo said that generally the city administration requests the green light from the superintendency, with the Colosseum archaeological park - which includes the Palatine Hill - giving an opinion.

Russo said she submitted a series of requirements: "not to exceed the decibel limit set by law and not to incite the public, all standing." She spoke about the matter to the city's mayor Roberto Gualtieri too, "but evidently I didn't convince him."

She also noted that the Travis Scott concert was announced at the last minute, just days before the event.

Russo said that in her opinion the Circus Maximus could stage "well selected" musical events such as opera and ballet but stressed that "rock concerts should be held in stadiums also in order not to jeopardise public safety".

In addition to complaints about excessive noise, the Travis Scott concert was marred by crowds surging dangerously after somebody used pepper spray.

Expressing her hope that the city will "enhance the Circus Maximus adequately", Russo said the landmark "should finally be redeveloped so that its history and its role in ancient Rome as well as in subsequent periods are fully understood."

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