Italy has been on top of my holiday destination list for a very long time now and when my family finally came to the decision that Italy would be our next holiday I was absolutely over the moon!
Without a doubt Rome was where we were going to go. The reasons why are endless! There is so much history and culture in Rome, no matter where you are in the city you see it and feel it.There were so many places I wanted to visit in Rome (because there are so many) but the Colosseum was definitely number one. I would like to add that all the main attractions like the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, The Roman Forum etc. are all close together so it is not difficult getting to one place to another. They are practically in walking distance to one another.
If you don''''t know your way to the Colosseum you can easily get the taxi there, it is around £15-£20 for a 10 minute ride. It is expensive but you are getting dropped of right outside the Colosseum so it''''s all good. Additionally, the taxi drivers are very friendly and inform you about the city and where the best places to go are.
We got to the Colosseum at around 10. On first look the queue was large but it did moves very quickly, so we were not waiting very long. A little tip, take your passport if you are member of the European Union as identification to get a discount on your ticket.
When you are actually in the Colosseum you just feel so historically enriched. You can imagine the spectacles that took place there and the atmosphere of it all. It feels as though you have been taken back to that time because it is still in its natural form. The thing that ruined it for me was that you can''''t actually access the base of the Colosseum where all the fights took place. I think if we were allowed access to that it would definitely have felt more ''''real''''. But all in all, it was amazing.
Inside, there is historical information about the Colosseum which is very informative. I really liked that because you are learning rather than just observing. Furthermore, when we went it was really hot so being inside was nice because it was really cool and breezy.
Original title: Flavian Amphitheatre
Built in AD 80 - 158 feet in height
Address: Piazza del Colosseo
Prices: 12 - 7.50 Euros
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The 'Metropolitana' (Rome's underground train system) appears like sporadic snail-trails compared to London's coloured spaghetti underground system. In Rome the trains go every seven minutes - averages out at every thirty seconds per stop - you'll find the 'Colosseo' on Line B of the 'Metropolitana.'
My initial visit ten years ago, struck more of a cord than subsequent visits; perhaps this is a case of knowing what to expect tends to dull down the awe-factor somewhat. On all visits, nothing had changed; there was still this eerie sense of grandiose air of expectation while looking down at what would have been at the barbaric events, viewed as a performance by 50 thousand voyeurs, one thousand nine hundred years ago. The modern world now views the spectacle as another performance, to fleece as much out of the tourist as possible. Naturally, I don't mind paying to observe the marvels of man-made endeavours from a two millennia ago, but it isn't, the fleecing of the tourists embarks from the 'Colosseo' underground station - no different to bears fishing for salmon swimming and jumping up stream. Bi-linguists praying to you in desperation they can translate the Italian doctrines to you to create a bigger awe-inspiring 'Colosseo' experience. By day a bi-linguist historian, by night a 'classico' flutist playing Verdi, for their supper. More authentically attired beggars canter in twos and threes in tunics and togas, evidently gladiators were spared the embarrassment. Near two thousand years on, and it is as if masculinity has been stripped and instead metro-man rules in Rome - a mere shadow of their former selves. Romans now moisturise, pluck their eyebrows for the sake of aesthetics, rather than pluck out the eyes of their enemy for the sake of survival. As I look down at the vast space and visualise gladiator proportions of gargantuan might and bravery, where the use of trapdoors were added to introduce entertainment for the sadistic crowd; my visualisation was abruptly interrupted by a smart-phone conference call by a suited-metro-man nearby - indeed I found it a snap-shot parody of modern and past survival mechanisms - with 'do-or-die' terminology at the core.
Architecturally designed to solve crowd crushing; in practice the eighty lower base arches, a 'vomitoria 'functioned as a structured crowd sieve, allowing crowds to disperse swiftly; this was a versatile Roman building technique, depicting curvature by the wonders of small stone masonry methods. The Arches stand at three tiers tall in places, a feat in itself after being built on less than adequate marsh orientated foundations. Tours to the third tier require prior arrangement booking. Generic tours went no further than the second tier; entrances to the third tier were cordoned off for your own safety. Hard to believe such stringent safety regulations were apparent during the reign of Titus, during the 100 day duration of mass slaughter in celebration of his ruling. The Doric and Corinthian columns (albeit, the Colosseo was a simplified version of the Ionic erections) echoed the Nero strength; and the Nero's style was embraced by the commissioned iconic marble statues which commanded residence in the arches - of course, the detailed decadence hasn't endured the test of time. The 'Arch of Constantine' AD 315 adjacent to the Colosseo has endured well - was erected in triumphal to commemorate 'Battle of Milvian Bridge' the arch is usually overseen by historians who're too enthralled by the main attraction to notice the arch, with the myriad chambers and remarkably complex Roman mechanism which was designed to incite the colosseo voyeurs.
Underfoot was sandy grit while inside, the original sandy grit which was prevalent back then, sitting on top of a wooden floor; to stop slipping, by all measures. During a gladiatorial episode, the echoes of thousands stamping the wooden floor in primitive tempo, would've struck fear via acoustics alone - reverberating off the Travertine. Emulating the caveat charges today to choose to go via a group tour, personal audio listening, or meander in singularly. In Titus times the seating of the amphitheatre-goers were arranged by tiers: ground level comprised of knights, second tier the affluent, and the third tier to the Plebeians. There are extra fees to bare of 10 Euros on top of the admission price to witness the wide-eyed glee and gore of the barbaric narrative the guide displays, notably at the top tier and in the hypogeum. These are the sections where a personal tip is earned or lost, having seen them in action the art of expression and story-telling is indeed a gift - a bona fide performance, more creative than credible. Every narrator tends to put their own twist onto plausibility and overtime the narration seems rhetorical. What was apparent was that the Flavian Amphitheatre was forsaken in the sixth century; Popes had claimed Christians became martyred on its blooded soil - therefore the term 'sacred' was often used to describe the colosseo, hence, worth viewing Herbert Robert's (1733 - 1808) dramatic visual interpretation, a painting that portrays a 'place of divinity, amongst the ruin.' In recent years the colosseo has been restored somewhat - pity the funding didn't include the 'Ludus Magnus' which has gone to complete ruin nearby - a place where the gladiators prepared, I'm not sure if the underground passageways still exist, alas, I daren't a tour guide will go beyond a certain point, in fear of breaching health and safety.
We've become slaves to bureaucracy and bow to the animal what is known as capitalism. We don't fight beasts any longer, even the Spanish Matador is a dying breed - generically beasts are predictable in behavioural attack, for a skilled gladiator wit, skill, bravery and knowledge would conquer them. Capitalism is a far different animal; you can possess all of the skills and guile to make a kill (in the business sense of the word) for the rogue scavengers to reap the rewards, it is part of the game. For several minutes every half a decade or so, I'd stare down at the arena from tier two of the colosseo and think of the barbaric, bloodthirsty taunts, and the sheer intensity of the wall of noise of man and beast. I conclude nothing has changed; it is just a different beast.
On the way out, I'm pestered for money, back to reality it is.
Although there were other things that I wanted to see while I was in Rome, the Colosseum was definitely at the very top of my list. The Colosseum is probably the best known attraction in Rome, next to maybe The Vatican, and I couldn't wait to see it up close.
As this was something that my boyfriend and I was so excited to see, we booked tickets for a tour well in advance with www.tickitaly.com. Our tickets cost around £30 each and they consisted of a three hour tour with added access to lower and upper levels which you cannot see with a regular ticket. Our tour guide met us across the road from the Colosseum and soon began our tour. Deborah, the guide, spoke really good English and was extremely knowledgeable so I couldn't recommend using this tour service highly enough.
== Getting There ==
Getting to the Colosseum is incredibly easy. Right across the street from the building itself is the Colosseo Metro stop which is on the blue B line. We had to use the red A line first and swap over at Termini but this wasn't a problem at all. Using the metro is super simple and easy to follow. From the Termini stop, it will only take about 5 minutes to get to the Colosseum. There are also bus stops outside and taxis will be able to take you there although they will be extremely expensive in comparison to the bus or metro.
== Opening Times and Prices ==
The Colosseum is open from 9am each day apart from Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Closing times vary depending on the time of the year but from March to October, closing times are roughly somewhere between 6 and 7:30pm. If you don't want to go in the soaring heat then going later in the day is a good choice. General admission will cost Euro15.50 although this does not grant you access to any of the extra areas. If you have a Roma Pass, this attraction is free and you can skip the queues completely by using a machine at the front of the entrance. Also, if you visit Palatine Hill and The Roman Forum first, paying Euro12 for a ticket, this will also gain you admission to the Colosseum.
== History ==
Something that I didn't know before the tour was that before the Colosseum was built, the area used to be an artificial lake which housed sea and naval battles. The original name of the Colosseum is the Flavian Amphitheatre but was changed due to locals associating it with the huge statue placed outside. The actual construction of the Colosseum began in 72AD and was completed in only 8 short years. The Colosseum was originally used for Gladiator games, animal hunts, public executions and for performing dramas. Once the building had been completed with the four different seating levels, it could hold 73,000 spectators.
== My Experience ==
As soon as I got even close to this building, I was completely blown away. The sheer size of the building was extremely impressive, even with large chunks of the walls being missing. From standing outside, I was able to get some really amazing photos which I was so pleased about and it only made me more excited to see the inside.
I think that if we hadn't have gone on a guided tour, I wouldn't have had a clue about what I was looking at or experiencing. Inside the Colosseum really does look just like a bunch of old ruins. As you enter the building, you first come to the small stage. The original stage has been destroyed and a small one has been put in its place so that you can get a feel for what it would have been like and also so that you can see down into the lower levels. Here, our guide explained all about the four levels of seating and who was allowed to sit where. I would have loved to have been able to see the building when it was whole and to be able to imaging so many people sitting in the seats.
Next on our tour was the lower levels. This, for me, was the most impressive part of the Colosseum and the reason why I paid for a tour. This section is off limits for people with regular tickets so another staff member followed us around unlocking gates and doors for us as we went. Down in the lower levels, it was explained that this was where the Gladiators, animals and slaves were kept. We were shown all about how the cages and trap doors were used back in the day and how they were the Roman's versions of elevators which was extremely impressive. The lower levels were dark, a little damp and quite crowded so I can only imagine what it would have been like with so many people being down there at one time.
After the lower levels, we were taken up to the second level, then the third level of the seating areas. The fourth level is nearly non-existent now so it wasn't possible for us to go up there. However, the third levels give insane views of the Roman Forum, the Arch of Constantine and the interior of the Colosseum itself. From here, you could see so much and really get a feel for what it would have felt like to have been sat up there watching the games. Our tour guide gave us as much history and information as she could along the way, even explaining to us how Gladiators would have been killed if they were granted mercy. Some parts of the tour were a bit gory because of pictures and descriptions but I loved this.
== Overall ==
Although the Colosseum can be expensive if you pay for a tour, the extra money spent is well worth it. With our tour, we also got a small guided tour of the Roman Forum which was a nice extra that I didn't know about. This is one of the most impressive buildings that I have ever seen and is definitely a must see if you are in Rome. If you don't visit this, you must be mad!
We were in Rome for our honeymoon and, on our first evening we had gone out in the evening warmth a) to find something to eat and b) to have a wander and get our bearings.
We were rambling aimlessly down twisty alley ways and up unexpected steps when suddenyly we turned a corner and there it was. Rising proud and ancient among bustle and traffic, the Colosseum sits incongruously in the midst of modern Rome - the very essence of anachronism.
The evening light cast a golden glow over the time-worn stones, lending an inappropriate beauty over what was once an arena of brutal and bloody slaughter for the amusement of ancient emperors.
Approaching the monument, we found it was surrounded by grassy areas but when we got to the entrance point it was closed for the day. We poked our noses through the gates and, although slightly shocked at the ticket price of Euro15.50, nevertheless we planned to come back the next day.
Looking online that evening, we discovered the existence of something called a Roma Pass, which, for the sum of Euro25, offers free travel all over Rome, by bus, metro or railway, for THREE days, free entrance into two Roman museums, and reduced entrance into many other attractions. Not only that, at the Colosseum, Roma pass holders can walk straight past the queues to their one dedicated entrance (at the time of writing, the Roma Pass currently isn't available).
Roma Pass: http://www.romapass.it/
So the next day, we went out and bought two at the nearest tourist information office. As our hotel was central we walked there, but it is well-served with bus routes and a metro stop.
The Colosseum is a vast, humbling place. You walk round and can look directly into the basement labyrinth, now grassy and open to the air, but which was once the dark soulless place where hapless and helpless slaves and enemies of the Roman way awaited their inevitable grisly deaths. One end has been rebuilt; you can stand where the emperor would have sat and see what he would have seen - the slaves and gladiators being brought out to fight. Two would come on - only one would leave - alive, that is.
There are regular display boards with historical information about the Colosseum and the various types of 'entertainment' that went on there. If you listen carefully to your imagination, you can hear echoes of the screams of the poor people sent there to be butchered in the name of entertainment.
There are guided tours which can be purchased, but we chose to wander around by ourselves. Watch out for the touts who hang around outside the Colosseum - there are plenty of souvenirs to be purchased - at a price. But don't be afraid to haggle! When we had finished looking at the Colosseum and were walking towards the Military Museum, we came across a stallholder who had model Colosseums. I picked up one large one to look the price - a shocking Euro45! I put it back down and the stallholder was instantly on me, offering to drop the price. I said No repeatedly, and he brought it down to Euro15 in the end. I still refused, not wanting to do business with one so dishonest as to put such a vastly inflated price on his goods, when he would have happily taken a third of the price. I eventually found a little miniature Colosseum for a measly ONE Euro in a side street. The same souvenirs are all over Rome at various prices so don't grab the first shiny toy you see - you might find it cheaper round the corner!
(this review also appears on ciao.co.uk)
When we went to Rome, we visited many monuments but you simply can't leave Rome without visiting the Colosseum. Since the Colosseum is well known and often used in movies, I had high expectations.
The Colosseum is surrounded by the ancient Roman town and is therefore very easy to reach. In Rome for a few euros you can easily but not quickly get there by taxi. There is also the possibility of a bus but the best option is still underground. From the main station Termini you are in once stop at the Colosseum, a few meters away from the Colosseum itself. The area offers plenty to do, for example, you can visit the Roman Forum or one of the typical Italian cafes or bars and have a drink or lunch.
The Colosseum was the largest amphitheatre in the world, located in the city itself, of course, Rome. Emperor Vespasian gave in the year 72 the command to build the building. Construction was completed in the year 80.
Were was the amphitheatre for?
As most of you know from movies like The Gladiator, gladiator fights were held here, but that was certainly not all! On an average day in an amphitheatre consisted of many other events. In the mornings were such battles with exotic animals to fight against each other or against fighters. Afternoons were often held comedies and convictions. Only at the end of the day began most popular games, the gladiator fights. Two people fought mostly against one another.
The building is very large and massive. The first sight is therefore certainly impressive, the idea that this was built 2000 years ago. The Colosseum is famous for its impressive columns and arches and all arches served as entrance and exits. Research have shown that within 5 minutes the Colosseum could be evacuated. The Colosseum is made of brick, concrete, travertine, marble and sandstone. The holes in the Colosseum are made by barbarians who wanted to get the iron. The seats in the Colosseum were divided to class with the best seat of course for the emperor and leading senators. The Colosseum was covered with a giant screen to protect the people from the sun and rain.
My Visit and Conclusion
How have I experienced this visit to the Colosseum? On a sunny day with our walk group we entered the huge building. Then I got no sense of joy or disappointment, it was exactly what I had expected. I wasn't really surprised with the inside and I even thought it was a bit small compared the massive outside. Of course mostly are ruins inside and I have to see that outside is certainly more impressive. It's definitely a place to visit inside and you can even take a tour to learn more about the history.
The Colosseum in the centre of Rome - probably one of the most recognisable structures in the world. In 2007 the Colosseum was named one of the NEW seven wonders of the world.
On a recent trip to Rome I visited the Colosseum, back when we booked the trip, this was the first thing both my boyfriend and I had said we wanted to see.
We stayed approximately a 10 minute walk from the Colosseum and had decided on a bus trip to get our bearings. We sat on the bus looking around for any sighting of the famous structure and realised as we turned the corner on to Via Claudia we saw it, sitting at the end of the road in all its glory.
The Flavian Amphitheatre also known as the Colosseum was built in 72 AD, it was the first permanent amphitheatre built in Rome.
The Colosseum was started by Vespasian, then inaugurated by Titus in 80 A.D. then finally completed by Domitian.
The reason the name has changed from the Flavian Amphitheatre to the Colosseum was due to the 'colossal' statue situated outside but nearby.
The Colosseum was used for entertainment purposes, it was built to hold 50,000 spectators, with an estimate of 80 entrances. Now that's what I call crowd control! It was used for shows in which the whole of Rome attended. These shows were mainly barbaric, with gladiators fighting wild animals until the death.
The Colosseum covers 6 acres of land.
If you have brought a Roma Pass the Colosseum is free if this is one of your first attractions, I would recommend buying the Roma Pass and using it for the Colosseum, especially in busy periods, as June was. Although we had brought the Roma Pass we were not aware on entrance you can actually avoid the main queues for the ticket booths and in fact by pass them completely and use the Roma Pass in the entrance machine, which lets you straight in. From entering to getting in took 2 and a half minutes. We were told outside to expect a 45 minute wait.
(For Roma Pass details, keep your eyes peeled, review to follow when dooyoo have approved it.)
If you opt for the queue and the usual route of buying a ticket it will cost you: 13.50 Euros. They also offer the very popular computerised personal guide, these cost: 4 Euros (approx). I would recommend one, at least one between two. There are many signs around the Colosseum, but the personal computerised tours have a lot more information and answer a lot more.
You can also buy tickets online prior to your trip, I don't know how reliable any of these sites are but there is a desk for internet tickets and again you avoid the large normal queue for everyone else.
The Colosseum opens at 9am everyday and I would recommend getting there then, to avoid both the queues and the heat. In the summer it closes at 7.30pm, so perhaps going after lunchtime would also be an option.
I really enjoyed visiting the Colosseum and I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Rome. The price was reasonable, when you compare it with attractions in the UK, and with the Roma Pass it made it affordable and quicker.
There is information around the outer wall of the Colosseum on the first level and although it is interesting it can get boring (there is no proper order, it seemed quite randomly spread out), and this is coming from someone who likes museums and reading information.
I would recommend getting one of the computerised guides as they are more informative.
When outside there are many people claiming to be 'guides' and offering tours for a price, these were approximately 25 Euros each, with the promise of skipping the queue. What a waste of time, you can skip the queue with pre-booked internet tickets or the Roma Pass, besides who knows who these people are, and what knowledge they actually have. I'm not an untrusting person, but unless someone shows me a history degree in Ancient Rome, I don't want to know. It can be annoying when they come up to you, you will see a minimum of 3 'guides' before you get to the door.
My biggest disappointment was the Colosseum at night, I thought it would be absolutely amazing, and while it was ok, it wasn't as lit up as I had seen on promotional materials and adverts. It was reasonably nice to look at, and was lit up a bit, but our camera couldn't pick it up in the dark even with the lights. I suppose they are going for the natural effect. I would have preferred if they'd had lights shining up at it, and the lights in the arches stronger, it would have been more breath-taking.
I think the Colosseum is a must, but you don't need to spend all day in there, I think we were in there about 2-2.30 hours, and that was enough, and we were walking around reading all the information and seeing the displays. Remember to wear sun cream as it is hot and there isn't loads of shade, everybody tries to hide.
Ruins, remember the Colosseum is ruins, and it is hard to imagine it in its full glory so make sure you see the display with how it did look. It is also a shame new bricks and bits have been added as it again affects how you perceive it, but obviously this was required to keep it standing.
An amazing piece of architecture!!
The Colosseum in Rome has to be one of the most easily recognised and impressive structures in the Western world. I am fascinated by it and have visited it several times over the years.
~~~A brief history lesson~~~
In AD 70, about 2,000 years ago, work was begun on the Colosseum, it was built on marshy ground about three miles from the centre of Rome. It took eight years to build but subsequent rulers and Emperors made some design adjustments over the centuries. (Fiddling while Rome was rebuilt?)
The architects had an eye on crowd control and it was built with eighty entrance arches so that the 50,000 spectators it held, could come and go with very little trouble or congestion. (When I heard this I got a picture of a crowd of slightly menacing but snotty young Roman lads saying "Shall we mind your chariot Mister? It'll only cost you a few Denarii!"
It is a massive oval, covering an area of about six acres and built as three layers of arches topped off with a tall layer of windowed brickwork. It was around 158 foot tall. (In modern terms that's 12 to 15 stories high!) The Romans had discovered how to build with small bricks and concrete, using arches and pillars to lessen and sustain the huge weight of the building. This made it possible to build such a large building that was graceful, functional and long lasting.
~~~Some general 'odds and sods' about the Colosseum~~~
It was faced with locally quarried travertine, a honey coloured rock. A lot of the facing still remains today and is what gives it it's glowing colour in the Italian sun. I was suprised at how completely different it looked when the sun went in, going from a glowing gold to a sullen grey.
The Colosseum was built to entertain the masses on high days and holidays. The first spectacular event was a sea battle staged in about six foot of water by Flavius. Shortly after that his nephew decided to add a basement to house the gladiators and animals. The excavation of those put a stop to any more aquatic shows.
Because a lot of the stones from the Colosseum have been pinched over the centuries for more modern building projects, it is possible to see into the basement level. The little crowded rooms and corridors are visible and it was easy to imagine them filled with gladiators, slaves, terrified Christians and hungry wild animals, al waiting their turn to be turned out onto the arena to meet their (usually bloody) fate. It is possible to see rope marks in the stone where winches were used to hoist the larger animals up! Their was an elephant fight here once, although how they got elephants to fight doesn't bear thinking about!
If I remember rightly, over a third of the original materials the Colosseum was built from has been 'reclaimed' for other building projects in the area. Some of the older churches and palaces 'borrowing' a few pillars and stones here or there. This means that a large portion of one side of the walls have gone entirely. Even so, it is still massively impressive!
The floor of the arena was originally dotted with trap doors so that animals and humans could be introduced into the fights at strategic moments. (Probably when the one the Emperor had bet on was losing!)
I was suprised to learn that the word 'Arena' came for the Latin word for sand, 'Harena'. Apparently it covered the arena in a layer of about six inches and was sometimes dyed red to disguise the blood! Ingenious people these Romans were!
Entrance to the Colosseum costs about 15 Euro.
A toga or armour clad guide costs a bit more.
The days I have been there have been small re-enactments of fights by Roman soldiers and Gladiators. They would have been a bit more convincing if one of the 'soldiers' swords hadn't gone all bendy in the intense heat! It took away from the spectacle a bit when one of the fighters had to keep stopping to get his sword straight. It was though, as you can imagine, cause for a lot of risque humour from the spectators!
Personally I would have really liked to see a re-enactment of a fight between some lions and one of our guides because his swaggering and bum pinching really got on my nerves! Unfortunately he didn't think it was such an idea, anyway, he probably would have bored the poor lions to death!
Wheelchair access is fairly limited even in the ground floor areas. Much of the flooring is uneven and there are lots of steps.
Take water with you because the only stuff available on site costs an arm and a leg. (The vendors have taken over from the lions in ripping people off!)
It is easy to get to and hard to miss. Many local buses go by it and taxis are plentiful if you don't feel like walking.
~~~This story might amuse you~~~
I was standing one day, looking down from the ground level into the warren like basements, imagining the long ago activity in those enclosed spaces. A father and son rolled up and the Dad and I exchanged pleasantries. They were from Nashville, Tennessee and on a ten day tour of Europe.
I asked his teenage son what he thought of the Colosseum, as he'd seemed to be carefully scrutinising the floor area. He said " I was just thinking that if you filled in all those old holes down there, it would make a great football pitch!"
His Dad looked at me and rolled his eyes in embarrasment and disbelief! I nobly resisted the temptation to push the boy over the safety rails. He was totally oblivious! Concreting over 'some old holes' so that he could play football seemed eminently reasonable to him. After all, what was 2,000 years of history, architecture and beauty compared to Junior's desire to kick a ball around? I went to get a coffee from one of the many nearby cafes and left Junior to decide whether to erect a McDonalds in the Emperors box!
Standing in the bowl of the Colosseum is an extraordinary experience. So much of it is left standing that it is possible to imagine the seated crowds, the slaves bringing food and drink, the fear and anguish of those chosen to fight or be sacrificed for the entertainment of the populace, the smell of the animals in their confined quarters.
The Area where the Emperors and governors were seated is still visible. I let myself imagine the pomp and ceremony as they opened the games or decided the fate of the combatants. At some periods of Roman History the Emperors had absolute power, the types of entertainment provided here, for their probably jaded appetites, must have been unbelievable expensive and spectacular and increasingly bloodthirsty.
It is one of my personal 'wonders of the world' and definitely should be experienced first hand. (Just don't leave American teenagers to look after it!)
For tourists visiting Rome, the Colosseum is usually one of the first ports of call. Located in the centre of the ancient city, the structure, built to stage gladiatorial contests and public spectacles, was completed in 80AD during Emperor Titus' reign.
It was a hot day during my visit to the Colosseum, and as such, the crowds were in full flow, eager to get a look inside the ancient structure. The admission fee is around 15 Euros - although to be honest, you can appreciate the building's beauty and get a fairly good look at its inner workings without ever setting foot inside. However, if you do want to enter, the opening times are as follows;
Mid February - mid March: 9am - 4.30pm
Mid March - end March: 9am - 5.00pm
End March - end August: 9am- 7.00pm
End August - end Sept.: 9am - 6.30pm
End Sept. - end October: 9am - 6.00pm
End October - mid March: 9am - 4.00pm
The fee for entering also includes admission to the other historical sites in the area; Palatine Hill (one of the seven hills of Rome), and the Roman Forum, once a centre of political and social activity.
The Colosseum had a capacity to hold over 50,000 people, and visitors flocked to see executions, battles between man and animal, plus a whole host of other gruesome events in the venue. Apparently half a million people were killed for entertainment in the Colosseum, and over a million animals befell the same fate - shocking!
In its present state. The Colosseum is classed as 'partially ruined', due to the fact that half of its huge outer wall is now missing - much of the rock stolen by various groups over the years to be used in other projects. In fact, our tour guide pointed out that for centuries, the Colosseum was seen merely as a quarry, and people would come in and take out the stone at their leisure.
Next to the Colosseum is the Arch of Constantine (Arco di Costantino), which was built to celebrate Constantine's victory in the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312AD. This beautiful structure enhances the setting, and along with the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, the Colosseum is in good company.
There are always men dressed as gladiators lingering around the area - hoping you'll want a picture taken with them, and therefore give them money. As long as you don't make eye contact with these guys, they probably won't pester you - unless of course you want a snap with a fake gladiator.
I enjoyed my visit to the Colosseum, and felt historically enriched by the experience! Italy has a wealth of historical sights, and apart from the Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Colosseum is perhaps the best known. Although sadly a world apart from its former glory, I highly recommend paying the ancient structure a visit.
I was in Rome a few years ago with a friend for 5 days and you have to do the tourist thing so we spent the days looking at the sights we had pinpointed we wanted to see and one of these was this fantastic structure.
It was a beautiful hot June day as we got on the tube in the heart of Rome at the termini. You have a tube stop conveniently marked "the Colosseum" and as you come out of the doors there it is right in front of you, looking like it has been built at the side of the street rather than the street being built at the side of it!!
We decided that we would be better getting a guided tour rather than bumbling round ourselves trying to make sense of everything and I am glad we did. We found a guide and a group and then got in line with everyone else, some were getting the obligatory photo with the Roman Gladiator for the day - all dressed in the complete outfit, and others like us were just soaking up the atmosphere. The photos are a bit of a rip off we felt so didn't bother with them, if you don't want your photos taken there is no problem refusing Don't expect to be taken right into the Colosseum as soon as you have paid as the guides will wait for their full quota of people before the tour begins.
The Colosseum is one of Rome's most famous and iconic landmarks and was the venue for the gladiator games, in its hay day it could hold up to approximately 60,000 screaming fans. Its opening ceremony was around 72 BC and it is thought to have been given its name from Nero's statue of Colossus that was close to it.
The entrance fee is really very cheap at less than 10 Euros and getting the tour is definitely enlightening from modern day facts such as the Nue Camp was designed on the coliseum to the guide explaining how the tunnels worked below for both the animals and the Gladiators. The guides will also try to get you involved with things and if you enter into the spirit you will have a great time.
In short, don't think of going to Rome without seeing this - the sheer size is magnificent and you can almost hear the crowds cheering their favourite if you close your eyes. Although you can do the tour yourself its well worth the price you pay for the guide - and hopefully like us you will have entertaining people on the tour with you. Also don't miss the Roman Forum when you come out its fascinating.
One word of warning, there are many pickpockets about so look after your cash