From Nick Squires, The Telegraph, June 25, 2021
They were once thick with smoke from flickering oil lamps and the smell of sweating gladiators and the panic-stricken wild animals they were about to fight.
Now, the tangled labyrinth of tunnels and chambers that lay hidden beneath the Colosseum's sandy arena is being opened up to the public in its entirety for the first time.
From Saturday, visitors will be able to descend a metal stairway and wander between the brick and travertine walls where armour-clad gladiators and wild animals such as leopards, lions and bears were corralled.
Gathered in the subterranean gloom, they were hoisted into the arena in a series of wooden cage lifts that were operated with the muscle power of a legion of slaves, emerging via trap doors into the huge amphitheatre, the biggest in the Roman world.
Visitors will be able to see the original bronze fittings, sunk into travertine stone, that housed the capstans which enabled the cages to be raised and