The Colosseum in Rome, Italy, is one of the most iconic tourist draws in Europe. Upon stepping inside this millennia old amphitheatre, visitors get a good feel for the medieval life of the time when it was used to entertain, even though what stands there today is just a skeleton of its former glory.
Built thousands of years ago in c.80 AD, the Roman Colosseum amphitheatre was used mainly for Gladiatorial events where trained Gladiators would fight against each other to their deaths, watched over by the thousands of people that could fit inside the venue. Theatrical performances were also put on there for Royalty, as were animal hunts and fighting, not forgetting executions of criminals. Archaeologists and historians have estimated that the human death count within the Colosseum reached 500,000 and the animal death count double that.
The Roman Colosseum was built following the Jewish War, almost as a political peace offering from the war’s victor Emperor Vespasien. It was built on the site where the Vespasien’s predecessor, Nero, built his extravagant and overly-expensive personal palace, and was meant to restore the land to the citizens of Rome. With all this in mind, it’s easy to understand just why the Colosseum is so well protected and still well loved after all these years; it is the perfect portrait of the flamboyance and extravagance of the time, which was counteracted by the mass death and love of brutality that was prevalent then too.
The Colosseum in Rome is considerably damaged in comparison to how it stood in c.80 AD. This is due to a number of reasons, some human and some natural.
In the 16th century AD, when the Colosseum was used as a Christian site, many religious figures and even citizens believed that the sand that covered the floors was sacred as it was tainted with the blood of the martyrs who had died there. This soon led to quarrying of the site, with architects taking parts of the actual building to reinforce or build their own churches elsewhere.
There were also earthquakes and both natural and man made fires which gutted the Colosseum, which have resulted in the structure that we see today. It’s still very much possible to go inside, as the floor has been partially reconstructed, even though there are chambers below that level. Visitors can also still walk around parts of the walls and balconies, as there is a museum dedicated to Eros in one of the outer walls. Considering this structure is well over 1900 years old and has survived tectonic activity, fires, wars and constantly repetitive use, it has been incredibly well preserved.
How to Get There:
Rome has its very own airport, and it’s a big one, so traveling to the city is very easy. Simply catch a flight there and then choose your mode of transport.
This is a metropolitan city that’s busy at all times of the year, so think carefully about whether you want to be transporting yourself via scooters or cars. There are plenty of buses that operate in Rome, and trains too so you could even find accommodation outside of the noisy hustle and bustle, but travel in each day to see the sights.
Visit tourist operators in the centre of Rome for information on limousine tours and even walking tours around the whole city that incorporate a look around the Colosseum.
Where to Stay:
Rome is full of restaurants, cafés, entertainment and accommodation, so finding a hotel to match your budget should be easy.
For accommodation on a lower budget, try the three star Relais Rome Sweet Home Fore Imperiali hotel right in the very centre of the city. Rooms at this hotel start at $100. For a mid range stay, try Hotel Viminale, where rooms start at around $120 during the peak summer season. Luxury stays in Rome, on the other hand, are well suited to five star ‘The Inn at the Roman Forum’, where rooms start at $250 per night.