It has taken three years and cost a whopping €25 million (S$37.4 million), but Rome's ancient arena is finally clean.
Mr Diego Della Valle, CEO of luxury shoe brand Tod's, announced yesterday the completion of restoration works to the facade of the Colosseum. The task was funded by his company after national debt hindered government efforts to protect the 2,000-year-old monument.
Using water and gentle sprays, the smog blackened limestone surfaces of the stadium where gladiators once fought lions were slowly returned to their glorious white.
The amphitheatre, which was used by Roman emperors as a venue for executions and bloody spectator sports, fell into disuse with the fall of the Roman Empire and was partly dismantled in the 6th century, following earthquake damage.
The Colosseum is Italy's most popular tourist site, attracting more than 6.5 million visitors last year.