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Ticket sales brisk at revamped Colosseum

It hasn't taken long for the revamped Colosseum to become a hot attraction.
/ Source: The Associated Press

It hasn't taken long for the revamped Colosseum to become a hot attraction.

Tickets for guided tours of the underground, where tourists can see the cages for lions and tigers and where gladiators once prepared for fights, have been selling out since the opening Tuesday.

"Italians are more informed. They saw it on TV, but the foreigners are getting more and more interested," said Pietro Vitelli, one of the ticket office operators.

Culture Ministry officials say it is the first time the underground has ever been open, while the upper tier had been closed since the 1970s.

The areas are accessible to guided tours of a maximum of 25 people at a time, starting about every 20 minutes.

Some 4.5 million people have visited the ancient arena between the beginning of the year and last month, according to the Culture Ministry.