The Telegraph – Rome - 27 Dec 2011
Witnesses reported seeing the fallen masonry on Sunday. Italian news agency ANSA reported another bit fell Tuesday, but Colosseum director Rossella Rea denied it and blamed the false report on a “psychosis” that occurs every so often that Rome’s iconic stadium is crumbling.
Italian environmental group Legambiente has frequently raised the alarm about the precarious state of the Colosseum, charging that auto exhaust fumes and vibrations from vehicles and a nearby subway are damaging the Colosseum’s travertine exterior and brick and tufa interior.
A 25 million euro restoration, paid for by Diego Della Valle, founder of shoemaker Tod’s, is set to begin in March.
In May 2010, slabs of ancient plaster fell from the ceiling of the Colosseum .
The plaster, which dates from Roman times, fell from a 10 square foot section of roof in one of the stone entrance ways through which spectators used to file to watch gladiators take on wild animals, prisoners-of-war and each other.
Authorities said at the time that the loosening of the plaster may have been caused by heavy rain, humidity and temperature changes.
Archaeologists said the near miss should act as a wake-up call for the parlous state of the arena, which was started by Emperor Vespasian in 72AD and subsequently suffered damage from earthquakes and centuries of pillaging.