Safety buffer zone around Rome’s Colosseum

Plans are in place to install a 15-metre buffer zone around the Colosseum for safety reasons, according to the city's archaeological superintendent Mariarosaria Barbera.

The cordoned-off "fascia di rispetto" around the Colosseum would be aimed at protecting passersby from the increasing amount of fragments falling from the monument's highest arches. The announcement follows recent site visits and meetings between archaeological and city authorities amid concerns over the amphitheatre's stability.

Designs are being drawn up for the "perimeter bollards" which authorities say must be effective, discreet and not impact negatively on the archaeological site. One suggestion under consideration is an illuminated boundary at night, while the use of "unsightly barriers" has been excluded.

Despite the safety precautions Barbera insists that there is no danger of collapse. She blames the snow, ice and high temperatures over the last year, as well as vibrations from traffic and the nearby metro, for causing the "small release of material".

It is believed that the buffer zone could be in place prior to the Colosseum’s €25 million, two and a half year restoration project, scheduled to begin in early December.

Environmental organisations such as Legambiente have renewed their calls for the banning of traffic around the monument and for the introduction of a pedestrian zone.