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The Colosseum - one of Rome's must-sees
Colosseum (Rome, Italy)
Member Name: Julie_Reilly
Colosseum (Rome, Italy)
Date: 28/09/11, updated on 28/09/11 (14 review reads)
Advantages: Stunning architecture, stomach-churning history
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)
Summary: A visit to Rome is not complete without a look at this stunning ruin
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