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Bringing a touch of Rome to Docklands

30 Sep 2015

Bringing a touch of Rome to Docklands Image

Docklands could soon have a distinctly Italian feel, with a proposal for a replica Roman Colosseum on the waterfront.

The plan is the brainchild of event co-ordinator Connie Paglianiti, who pitched the idea to City of Melbourne, State Government and Places Victoria representatives at a luncheon in Docklands last month.

The former Carlton Business Association president said she had received a positive response from the attendees and hoped she would receive support for the plan.

According to Ms Paglianiti, the Colosseum is already constructed and is waiting in a warehouse ready to be installed.

Made from MDF, the Colosseum structure would be surrounded by a glass enclosure and would be lit up at night.

A four-metre-high leaning tower of Pisa replica would accompany the Colosseum and Ms Paglianiti says she also has designs for a mini Venice.

Ms Paglianiti said the Colosseum could be used as a function venue, as a restaurant or gallery, for fashion shows or as a theatre. She said the Colosseum would also be a visual attraction for locals and visitors.  

“It would bring people to the area with events, but it would also bring visitors to take photos,” Ms Paglianiti said.

“Not everyone can go to Rome to see the real Colosseum so they might like to see a replica.”

Ms Paglianiti said she initially hoped to install the Colosseum at the NewQuay Piazza, however this was not possible due to construction works.

She is now looking at the current site of Hortus on Harbour Esplanade as a possibility.

However, Places Victoria spokesperson Simon Wilson said Harbour Esplanade wasn’t suitable for the Colosseum for a number of reasons, including construction works set to begin in 2016 as part of its redevelopment.

“We are in discussions about alternative sites that may be able to accommodate the proposal,” Mr Wilson said.

Ms Paglianiti said she planned to install the Colosseum at a fixed site for three years and had also had interest from the City of Port Phillip and Sydney.

She hopes to have the structure in place by February but said she was aware the approvals process would take some time.

“As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Ms Paglianiti said.

The Colosseum would also tie-in with a year long program of events Ms Paglianiti is organising called La Dolce Italia.

The Italian-themed program aims to encourage and accelerate trade and cultural exchange between Australia and Italy.

Ms Paglianiti says she was planning a number of events in Docklands, even if the Colosseum doesn’t end up there, as part of La Dolce Italia.

These include a Pizza and Beer Festival and Coffee and Culture Expo.

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