Qatar could invest in a new ancient Roman theme park, Italian media reported Wednesday, a day after the Gulf state's emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani met with local officials in the Eternal City.
"We showed the emir several plans. The one that most caught his attention and which he said he wants his people to work on is the idea of a theme park on ancient Rome" the city's mayor, Gianni Alemanno, was quoted as saying.
The park would be located outside of the city centre and would allow visitors to re-live some of the sights and sounds of ancient Rome, from being a spectator at the Colosseum to going for a soak at the thermal baths.
Tourists could also watch re-enactments of Rome's most famous battles, descend into replica catacombs in which early Christians prayed in hiding or take a stroll through the ancient city's bustling market districts.
A plan for the project said it would include five hotels on site and would require some 600 million euros ($785 million) in private investment. The structure could host eight million visitors a year and create 9,000 jobs.
It would be spread over 300 hectares (741 acres). "We intend to find a location for it in the next few weeks," Alemanno was quoted as saying.
Another project presented to the emir was that of setting up a Roman museum in Qatar, using artefacts that are currently in storage, the reports said.
The emir during his visit confirmed the purchase by Qatar's sovereign wealth fund of a luxury resort on an idyllic stretch of coastline in Sardinia.