Gladiator and Beast Areas Under the Roman Colosseum to Open

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Visitors to Rome will soon be able to tour underground areas where gladiators prepared for fights and lions and tigers were caged, The Associated Press is reporting.

Underground passageways at the ancient Roman Colosseum are being shored up to make sure they are safe, and tours are expected to begin to these spaces in late summer.

Architect Barbara Nazzaro told Associated Press Television News that the beasts held in these spaces (also including bulls) were brought up to arena-level on rope-hoisted elevators. Elephants appeared in the arena too, but they entered through the main gates.

Bloodthirsty crowds would enjoy a day's entertainment at the Colosseum (which opened in 80 A.D.) that included watching a hunting show, executions and gladiators squaring off against each other, Nazzaro said.

According to Rome's official Office for Tourism, the underground basements also included storage and "service" rooms. Four corridors under the main entrances connected the basements to outside areas including the main barracks of the gladiators.

No exact date has been set for the underground tours to begin.
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