A new archaeological park around Rome's 2,000 year-old Colosseum monument headed by a new internationally recruited director will go ahead after Italy's culture ministry won a legal fight, culture minister Dario Franceschini told reporters on Tuesday.
"We aim to complete the selection process in the coming months so that the new director can take up their post on 1 January next year," Franceschini told a media conference in Rome.
He said a total of 82 candidates had sent their resumes, of whom 16 were not Italian, after the ministry advertised the post on its website, Franceschini said.
"The high-level panel that will evaluate the candidates is headed by the president of the Venice Biennale, ensuring the total rigour of the recruitment process," Franceschini stated referring to one of the most famous and prestigious cultural organisations in the world.
The new archaeological park - encompassing the Colosseum and nearby Palatine Hill, Roman Forum and Domus Area - will be directed by a top expert who will sign a four-year contract with an annual salary of 145,000 euros plus bonuses of up to 35,000 euros.
Rome City Council had mounted a legal challenge to the plan, arguing it would lose some of the 35 million euros brought in by the Colosseum annually, but Italy's top administrative court, the Council of State, upheld an appeal by the culture ministry, overruling a lower regional court's verdict.
"The Council of State's ruling does real justice," Franceschini, a longtime champion of the plan, said on Monday. "We can start afresh."
Irina Bokova, head of the United Nations culture body UNESCO, will be on the new Colosseum archaeological park's board of directors, Franceschini announced.