The Colosseum in Rome

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy, is one of those iconic locations that anyone who visits the city must take the time to explore. Because of its popularity, be prepared for long lines and you will likely have tour guides offer to let you jump to the front of the line if you are willing to pay for a tour, which isn’t actually a bad idea. Another good idea is to buy the bundled ticket that includes the Roman Forum as well, which is equally fascinating. There have been many movies that have attempted to recreate what it must have been like to have gone to one of the performances at the Colosseum with all of the animals, gladiators, and other performers. Visions of those elaborate shows, called munera, must have been truly amazing and in many ways was a predecessor to the modern Walt Disney World theme parks.

DSC_2393
View of the Colosseum
DSC_2280
Partial Recreation of the Stage Floor
IMGP2291
View of the Colosseum from the Roman Forum

One of the amazing features of the Colosseum is the two-story structure called the hypogeum that was underneath a wooden floor that was covered by sand. It is a series of tunnels and cages that housed all of the animals and gladiators that would be brought up to the floor of the arena so that the crowd didn’t get a glimpse of them until the performance began. Obviously, these performances were often bloody battles between the gladiators as well as animal hunts that featured exotic creatures such as rhinos, giraffes, elephants, and of course lions. It must have been truly exciting and almost magical for the people of first century AD that attended these elaborate performances.

DSC_2270
Hypogeum at the Center of the Amphitheatre
DSC_2269
Series of Cages and Tunnels
DSC_2281
Artwork Depicting Gladiators

Even with the paintings depicting the many different performances that also included battle reenactments, dramas based on the mythology of the time, and even mock sea battles, it is still hard to truly comprehend the sophistication of these shows. With audiences as large as 80,000 and averaging around 65,000 people, there was more than just the thousands of animals, gladiators, and performers needed to amaze the crowds. Hundreds of talented artists created props and sceneries with intricate details to add to the overall ambiance of the massive exhibitions.

DSC_2394
Looking Up at the Exterior
IMGP2288
An Appreciation for the Size of the Colosseum
DSC_2254
Hypogeum from the Floor

Today, the Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is a unique landmark in the heart of Rome that is often the subject of paintings by local artists. In this world with all of our skyscrapers and other modern buildings, it is often taken for granted how much creativity and ingenuity it must have taken to build such an arena during the period in which it was created. There are many fascinating things to see in a city that is so rich with history and art, but the Colosseum is definitely one sight that must be seen. It can be viewed in as few as a couple of hours, but you will probably want to spend more time if you want to truly understand and comprehend its historical significance.

DSC_2265
Some of the Remaining Seating Areas
DSC_2258
Elaborate Tunnel System
DSC_2392
Exterior Wall
DSC_2257
Another View of the Hypogeum
DSC_2384
Deceptively Large

 

4 Replies to “The Colosseum in Rome”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: