Originally completed eighty years after the birth of Christ, the Colosseum was the largest of the amphitheatres constructed by the Roman Empire, at one time regularly hosting 50,000 spectators for the sort of brutal entertainment that was depicted in the film “Gladiator”.
The sturdiness of this ancient Roman structure is testified by the fact that is has survived earthquakes, stone thieves and car pollution to remain very much standing today at the core of contemporary Rome.
When planning a visit to the Colosseum, it’s a good idea to purchase tickets to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill at the same time, as access to all three can be enjoyed within a morning or an afternoon. As one of Rome’s most popular tourist attraction, there are the inevitable queues to enter the Colosseum.
Don’t let this put you off. It’s definitely worth the wait. As you enter the Colosseum, firstly you’ll be struck by the immense size and stature of this unique monument to Italy’s Roman Empire past. You can almost picture what it was like having to face the terrifying ordeals that were routine back in the time when the Roman Empire was the world’s most powerful political dynasty. Tours and audio guides are available to provide you with an insight into the era and the monument.
The centrepiece of the interior is the hypogeum, which during the glory days of the Colosseum, was part of the subterranean network, above which the arena floor was once located. You can also see the winding network of underground tunnels where gladiators would await their fate within the main amphitheatre.
The external edifice of the Colosseum contains three-tiered travertine arches. Viewing the structure from the outside gives a taster of how spectacular this piece of architecture really is. If you’re lucky, you may get a chance to see a concert during your visit. Some of the world’s most popular artists like to play in Rome with the Colosseum as a backdrop.
The Colosseum is located in central Rome. Bus stops are nearby, as is the Colosseo Metro station.