Rome Aquarium to open in spring

Tourist attraction in EUR will be home to 5,000 marine creatures.

Construction work has resumed on Rome's Aquarium, after years of delays and false starts, with the tourist attraction set to open in the spring.

Merlin Entertainments, the British company behind the Sea Life Acquarium, says the "technical problems" that have impeded the project for so long have been "resolved definitively."

Located under the laghetto (lake) in the south Rome suburb EUR, the cutting-edge facility is scheduled to open to visitors during the "first few months of 2016" according to Craig Dunkerley, the company's head of new openings in Europe and Asia.

The aquarium will contain more than 5,000 sea creatures belonging to over 100 aquatic species, all of which will be housed in 30 themed tanks filled with more than one million litres of water.

A special feature of the aquarium's design is a futuristic 360-degree underwater tunnel, the first of its kind in Italy, through which the public can walk surrounded by marine creatures such as turtles, sharks, rays, jellyfish, seahorses and starfish.

When complete the structure will include a museum and auditorium as well as spaces for conferences and other services. Tickets will cost €17 for adults and €13.50 for children under 12, and it will be free for kids under three. However the company plans to launch tickets ahead of the opening for a promotional price of €12.

Rome's original aquarium was housed in Piazza M. Fanti, between Termini Station and Piazza Vittorio in the Esquilino district. Inaugurated in 1887, the elegant building was only used as an aquarium for about a decade before serving a succession of roles over the next century: a public baths, theatre, ballroom, art gallery, cinema set, and storage area for the nearby opera house. The building was vacated in 1984 and, following extensive renovations, has been home to the city's Casa dell'Architettura since 2002.