Rome’s ancient Colosseum is in a fight to the death against a resilient foe, time itself.
The 2,000-year-old amphitheatre is no longer in horizontal alignment.
Officials say the monument’s south side is 40 centimetres lower than the north.
It is believed that “dynamic vibrations” from Rome’s eternal traffic is the cause of the problem.
Experts from Sapienza University in the capital and the Institute of Environmental Geoengineering have been drafted to conduct an urgent scientific appraisal of the structure.
There are fears a crack has appeared in the Colosseum’s base.
The amphitheatre’s foundation is a concrete “oval shaped doughnut” and scientists think a stress fracture has developed inside.
The Colosseum’s director says the monument may have to undergo the same amount of restoration work that saved the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
The 12th century tower was closed to the public for a decade while work was carried out.