Restoration of Colosseum delayed

A decision on restoration work at the Colosseum has been delayed until 31 January at least, when Lazio’s regional administrative (TAR) is scheduled to rule on a dispute about the tender for part of the construction work.

The court hearing is the latest in a series of legal challenges that have delayed the €25-million project funded by Tod’s shoe company which, in exchange for funding, will be granted the use of the image of the Colosseum for marketing purposes for 15 years.

The court hearing relates to the validity of the first of four tenders for the restoration of the northern and southern elevations of the amphitheatre as well as installing gates in the arches. The €8 million contract was awarded to the Gherardi construction group last August however in November the city’s superintendent said the company had failed to provide adequate documentation.

The mayor of Rome Gianni Alemanno described the "continuous postponements" of the restoration as "serious" and "exasperating". In February 2012 Italy’s audit court ruled that the contract signed one year earlier between Tod’s owner Diego Della Valle and the culture ministry was regular, after the country’s third-largest trade union UIL claimed that proper tender procedures had not been followed.

The other three tenders relate to the creation of a visitor’s centre; the restoration of the arches; and internal sections of the amphitheatre.

The project is the first comprehensive restoration in 73 years.