Roman history fans may get a chance to admire the marble of Trajan's Column in its original colour version, the city's archaeology department has said.
The department is in talks with electricity company Acea and researchers from Rome university to create a beam of light that will shine up the column and superimpose long-lost colours that originally enlivened the battle scenes carved on the monument.
Most scholars agree that Roman statues and triumphal arches that survive today in white marble were once brightly coloured (like the frescoes decorating the walls of Roman houses), but the pigment has worn off over the centuries.
The illumination of the column, built in 113 AD to celebrate the Emperor Trajan's successful military campaigns, would be a way of restoring the colours in a non-intrusive and reversible way, the archaeological department said.
It added that the plan is to beam the light up the column for a few minutes every hour, but only at weekends.
''Nothing acts like light to deepen our understanding, activating our emotional brain,'' said Maurizio Anastasi, head of the archaeology department's technical office.
The illumination of Trajan's Column is planned for 2009 as part of a larger project to light up the entire Roman Forum. By illuminating sections of the sprawling ruins, visitors will be able to get a better idea of what was built when, the department said.
... I'm still wondering about the "brightly coloured" claims (as opposed to "coloured" or "weathered/muted colours") ... I don't think the proponents of the 'brightly coloured' claim have thought through the maintenance implications ...