Roman Colosseum - A guided tour through a Roman wonder of the world!
|Roman Colosseum still stands after nearly 2,000 years! All content property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Opening in A.D. 80, the Roman Colosseum has been standing for nearly 2,000 years – a testament to the tenacity and engineering prowess of the denizens of ancient Rome. This must-see on everyone’s Rome itinerary captures the imagination and one can’t help but be awe-struck by its sheer size, not to mention the fact that it’s been standing here for two millenniums! Are you ready to journey back to the age of the gladiator, back to be among the 80,000 spectators who attended any number of the public events to watch gladiators battle to the death, to witness public executions or to seek the thrill of the hunt? Come along on this guided tour of the Roman Colosseum.
|Fearless gladiators wait to greet visitors and of course for those token photographs of "you" at the Colosseum.|
Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre because it was erected during the Flavian Dynasty between A.D. 69 and 96, the Roman Colosseum was built by three Flavian Emperors and opened to the Roman public in A.D. 80. It is uncertain how this structure came to be known as the Colosseum but two theories prevail: the first for the apparent reason – its titanic proportions; the latter and lesser known albeit more commonly believed, is that it is a derivation of the "colossal" statue of Nero that stood outside its gates of which only the base remains today surrounded by five trees.
|Note the three levels of increasingly ornate columns from Doric—most basic in design at the base, to Ionic on the 2nd level and finally, Corinthian—the most ornate in design on the 3rd level.|
Look closely at the architectural details of the Roman Colosseum and you’ll notice that the façade of its four levels are decorated with increasingly ornate columns as you ascend from its base of the structure. “Ionic” columns, the simplest in design, grace the lowest level followed by “Doric” columns on the second level which feature more ornate capitals at the tops. Finally, the third level features the most ornate of all – the “Corinthian” columns – the most decorative and stylized of the three with highly fashioned capitals topping them off. In its heyday, there were statues of Classical mythology filling the archways and niches in between the columns on the second and third levels. Sadly, none remains today. At the fourth level or “attic,” Corinthian pilasters embellish the façade and it was at this level, that an enormous awning – engineered with ropes and pulleys – cantilevered over the spectators protecting them from the harsh sun and rain. An unbelievable feat, don’t you think?
|Cavernous interior of the arena - from upper tiers to low-lying labyrinths of pens for gladiators and beasts alike.|
If the exterior fascinates you, wait until you venture within the shell of the Colosseum and gaze into the cavernous interior of this ancient arena. From its upper tiers to the low-lying labyrinths below, the entire view is quite a spectacle to behold! Look down to where the partially reconstructed wooden floor reveals the pens that housed the gladiators and wild beasts. Then look all around, it’s absolutely breathtaking! As I toured through the colossal edifice, I couldn’t help but imagine what it was like to attend an event here 2,000 years ago.
|Roman Colosseum interior at floor level or what would have been the floor level.|
As far as touring the mighty Roman Colosseum, let me recommend either a guided tour or at the very least, an audio-guided tour in which you tote around a walkie-talkie device that churns out informative facts at directional cues along your route. On my tour, I chose the audio guide so I could take my time through this cavernous wonder and you can’t beat the price of a few Euro. The audio tour actually begins on the upper tier and proceeds around and down through the levels and finally the floor. Let me impart some advice before you go. Don’t rush to begin your tour. Take a few moments of time to wander around and immerse yourself in these ancient surroundings. After all, it's not every day that you're standing in the 2,000-year-old Roman Colosseum!
|Close up shot of the partially reconstructed flooring revealing the the maze of pens below.|
Know before you go:
Pre-purchase your tickets to avoid the extremely long queues that can develop throughout the day. Check out ItalyGuides.it for an amazing virtual tour of the ancient ruin and for information on purchasing tickets. For the best value, purchase the combination ticket for both the Roman Colosseum and the Roman Forum. The audio tour mentioned above is only a few Euros and you pick up your equipment just inside the gates.
If budget is no concern, let me suggest one of the many guided tours available. Prices range from approximately $75-$100 per person but are well worth the expense. Check out ItalyGuides.it, Roman Strolls or Viator Tours for starters.
|A parting shot of the Roman Colosseum.|
Just outside the Colosseum, stands the Arch of Constantine which you'll see on your way to the Roman Forum just to the right of the photo. Constructed in 312 to celebrate Constantine's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, the Arch of Constantine was dedicated three years later in 315.
|Arch of Constantine remains after 1,700 years and commemorates Constantine's triumph over Maxentius.|