Theme parks to the right of them, reenactments to the left

As with the Ancient Roman theme park outside the city, Rome is full of ideas to turn its historical sites into modern-day circuses. The latest is gladiatorial combat in the Colosseum itself.

According to [city council Head of Archaeology, Umberto] Broccoli’s plan, modern-day gladiators will engage in realistically choreographed mock fights, wearing original costumes and the same combat gear — swords, tridents, nets and daggers — that was used 2,000 years ago.

The re-enacted contests will be staged in the evening, accompanied by readings from the works of Latin poets such as Seneca. It has yet to be determined whether gladiators will fight on a stage over the arena’s subterranean chambers and tunnels or on a stage outside the Colosseum.

So classy, then.

Stressing that the fights would not be a Disneyland-like attraction, but a serious project to bring the sporting heroes of antiquity alive, Broccoli also dismissed fears that they might appear too crude.

“The gladiators themselves were vulgar. They were sweaty, they stank and they swore. Why not show them as they really were?” Broccoli said.

Classy but with funk, cussing and crotch sweat. Like a Pussycat Dolls concert.

The have some excellent street food in that area, too, so it’s probably a fairly cheap way to catch dinner and a show. My dad broke his tooth on this triple-thick almond brittle sort of thing at the Stations of the Cross one year.

Anyway, there are apparently all kinds of secretive events planned for the Colosseum this year. According to the deputy mayor of Rome, “2009 will be the year of the Colosseum.”

That’s a bold statement. 80 was hard to beat, what with the 5000 animals killed over 100 days of inaugural games.