A Kuwaiti-funded restoration project hopes to recreate the path taken by gladiators going into battle in Ancient Rome.
The historic underground tunnel linking the Colosseum with its gladiatorial training barracks could be restored thanks to a $1.7 million donation from the Kuwait government.
“We are in talks with Kuwait, one of several countries that has shown an interest in investing in Rome’s cultural heritage,” a spokesman for the city council said.
The Ludus Magnus, also known as the Great Gladiatorial Training School, is located a few hundred yards from the arena and was the largest facility in Rome.
Thousands of gladiators lived and trained there for more than 650 years until the middle of the 6th century when gladiatorial shows came to an end.
Today, the ancient remains lie neglected and littered with rubbish.
The Kuwaiti donation will renovate the area where gladiators would suit up for battle and collect their weapons before walking through the torch-lit tunnel and out into the arena, in scenes famously recreated in Ridley Scott’s blockbuster Gladiator starring Russell Crowe.
“For many years the area around the gladiator school has been rather forgotten, and impossible to visit. We hope to make some significant improvements and restructure the whole zone,” a city spokesperson said.
First built by Emperor Domitian between 81 and 96AD, the barracks were at least two storeys high and included a practice area where gladiators would put their combat skills to the test.
Remains of the site were discovered in 1937 but are thought to be from the second phase of building during Emperor Trajan’s reign from 98AD.