The Colosseum, an iconic monument to ancient Rome’s ingenuity and grandeur, now has a price tag—sort of.
According to a report released this year by the U.K.-based financial consulting firm Deloitte LLP, the landmark’s “social asset value,” or the intangible worth that some Italians place on its existence, is around 77 billion euros ($79 billion).
“This value is perceived by the majority of Italians, not just visitors,” the consultancy wrote in the report.
The figure does not represent the economic contribution of the Flavian Amphitheater, as the Colosseum is officially known. That figure would have been determined by factors such as ticket sales, visitor attendance, and the general distribution of cash from tourists visiting local businesses.
Deloitte’s assessment is based on the results of a survey that asked Italians how far they would go to preserve the amphitheater even if they make “no direct use of it, may not benefit even indirectly from it, and may not plan any future use for themselves or others.”
Romans were willing to pay an average of 59 euros ($59.85), while Italians living outside of Rome pledged 57 euros. More than 90% of those polled agreed that the monument must be preserved “under any circumstances,” even if it means citizen payments.
“For an iconic asset like the Colosseum, it is necessary to refer to a dimension of value that includes both tangible and intangible value,” said Marco Vulpiani, head of valuation at Deloitte Central Mediterranean, which organized the study. In this sense, the immaterial value of the Colosseum may outweigh the value associated with the economic benefits it can generate.”
According to Vulpiani, the “intangible value” of the Colosseum is increased in part by the “pleasure of being close to and seeing a unique and magnificent iconic site,” as well as its symbolic importance to Italy.
The Colisseum was finished in 80 BCE and is still the world’s largest standing amphitheater. It drew more than 7 million visitors per year prior to the pandemic and contributes roughly 1.39 billion euros (roughly $1.4 billion) to Italy’s GDP each year. According to Deloitte, the monument employs approximately 42,700 full-time employees.
According to the report, Italy, which has the most UNESCO World Heritage sites in the world, can better use its cultural heritage as “engines” for economic development and opportunity.