For the first time in decades, the top floors of the Colosseum built to host gladiatorial contests nearly 2,000 years ago have opened for small groups of visitors. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Visitors can now see the Colosseum as the plebeians, ancient Rome's lowest social classes, once saw it - bar the wild animals and gladiators, of course. For the first time in decades, the top floors of the amphitheater built to host gladiatorial contests nearly 2,000 years ago have opened for small groups of visitors. Back in the arena's heyday the poor, women and slaves stood up or sat in the cheapest seats on the top tiers, high up and far from the action. Today, their seats on the newly-renovated fifth floor of the amphitheater offer exclusive views of the interior of the Colosseum as well as the historical sites outside the famed landmark. The fourth level of the Colosseum has also been renovated, along with a hallway leading to the top terraces, and visitors in small groups are now allowed to visit the newly opened areas. According to the General Director of the Colosseum Archeological Park, Federica Galloni, it has been some 40 years since tourists were able to access the top terraces and view the arena from 40 meters (131 feet) above. The Colosseum attracts more than six million visitors a year.