Colosseum, Rome

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    Colosseum

    by Sienlu Written Nov 30, 2014

    The Colosseum is located just east of the Roman Forum, the massive stone amphitheater was commissioned around A.D. 70-72 by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty as a gift to the Roman people. In A.D. 80, Vespasian’s son Titus opened the Colosseumwith 100 days of games, including gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights. After four centuries of active use, it fell into neglect, and up until the 18th century it was used as a source of building materials. Though two-thirds of the original Colosseum has been destroyed over time, the amphitheater remains a popular tourist destination.

    An amazing piece of art like so many other buildings in Rome

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    A guided tour of the Colosseum

    by Jefie Updated Nov 23, 2014

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    Even though visiting the Colosseum is not the first thing we did when we got to Rome, it's such a must-see attraction that I thought I'd put it at the top of my tips. We spent one day touring around the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and began our day at the Colosseum first thing in the morning. Even though we got there pretty early on a Monday morning, there still was a sizeable crowd, which made me happy I'd followed the advice of a VTer and bought my tickets in advance online (14 Euros, print at home option, no fixed time, valid for two days, includes entry to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine). When we got to the Colosseum, a young lady offered us a to join an accredited English guided tour for an extra 13 Euros. While I'm usually quite hesitant to book anything that's offered off the street, Sylvain thought we would get more out of our visit if a guide provided us with some background information. As always, he was right! Our guide Gaston did an amazing job of telling us plenty of historical facts and anecdotes, all told with a quirky, dry sense of humour. The guided tour lasted about 45 min and included plenty of free time at the end to roam around the Colosseum on our own and take all the pictures we wanted. It all made for an excellent introduction to Ancient Roman times and culture!

    Inside the mighty Roman Colosseum Getting up-close and personnal with the Colosseum So I made it to Rome, alright! Sylvain getting caught by the Roman spirit Our very entertaining guide Gaston
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    Colosseum, the epitome of a visit to Rome!

    by GracesTrips Updated Nov 2, 2014

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    The Colosseum's history is a fantastic, almost mythological and definitely medieval existance. The construction of the Colosseum started in 72 AD under Emperor Vespasian and completed in 80 AD under Titus. The largest elliptical amphitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire.

    Used as the stage for competitions between gladiators and various animals acquired from around the world. The animals would be kept beneath the Colosseum floor. Gladiators were essentially criminals that were allowed to fight for their freedom if they won (not in all cases).
    The spectators were all the Roman dignitaries and citizens. Invited by the emperor, tickets would be issued to attend. It was quite organized and everyone knew, in advance, where they would be sitting. (This is the quick, short story version)

    Today, the Colosseum appears to be partially dismantled. Stripped of the beautiful marble that once lined the skeleton that is left. This marble was taken and used to build the churches during the rebuilding of Rome.

    I will recommend you participate in a group tour when you visit the Colosseum because the tour guides will give you a lot of information that helps you to understand the history of the Roman empire. You don't need an individual tour guide. Save your money and join a group once you arrive there. They will take care of purchasing your entrance tickets and your wait is not that long. We paid €25 per person (in 2011) for a combined tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.

    Exit the Colosseo metro station and you're right there.

    See more photos on my travelogue.

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    The Colosseum

    by toonsarah Written Sep 14, 2014

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    I remembered enjoying my previous visit to the Colosseum a lot, and initially hoped to revisit it on this brief stay in the city. But time was against us, and while we could have managed a short visit it would not have really justified the cost and would have been frustratingly short. So we decided instead to just stop off here (from the Hop On, Hop Off bus) to soak up a little of the atmosphere and take some photos. Even just from the outside, it is an impressive sight and one not to be missed.

    The Colosseum’s real name is the Flavian Amphitheatre. It was constructed between AD 72 – AD 82 as a venue for gladiatorial fights, and was in use until the early part of the 6th century. It then fell into neglect. The arena itself started to fill with earth and its structure was plundered for materials to be reused in the construction of the domestic dwellings that started to grow up around it in the Middle Ages. In the early 19th century the ruins had to be reinforced after an earthquake threatened to bring them down, and thus started a period of restoration, alongside archaeological research, that led to the Colosseum’s reinstatement as one of the major monuments of Rome.

    The website linked below has a very informative leaflet detailing the history and architecture, and as we didn’t go inside on this occasion I’m not going to attempt a detailed description if something I haven’t seen for 27 years! It also gives opening hours, prices etc. Note that this is a popular attraction and queues to buy tickets can be long, so you might want to buy in advance. I’ve also read that buying your ticket at the Forum, for which it is also valid, can be quicker.

    The Colosseum is open every day of the year apart from 1st January, 1st May and 25th December. It opens each day at 8.30 AM but closing times vary according to the season, so check the website before making an afternoon visit.

    The Colosseum The Colosseum The Colosseum Arch of Constantine & Colosseum Near the Colosseum
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    Colosseum: Exterior

    by brendareed Written Jun 2, 2014

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    On the outside of the Colosseum it is pretty obvious that it is not in its top form and has seen better days. What do you do with an old Roman amphitheater after the fall of the Roman Empire? Well, you can use the stones to build other things, after all, the stones are pre-cut and ready to use – a sort of early Home Depot. Part of St. Peter’s Basilica came from the Colosseum. Time has taken its toll as well as earthquakes have inflicted damage on the structure.

    From the outside, the Colosseum has four layers: the lowest level with the entrances has archways with Doric columns leading into the structure, followed by two more levels with Ionic and Corinthian columns, each level getting more elaborate, and then topped with a fourth level with windows. You can get a good view of these columns from the southern side of the Colosseum.

    Of course, one of the best things about the exterior of the Colosseum is that it is FREE to look at! You can easily walk around it with no ticket needed (ticket only need to see the interior).

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    Colosseum: Interior

    by brendareed Written Jun 2, 2014

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    So what are you looking at? As I mentioned before, it is a very large sports arena, but definitely the field is missing as are the seats. But you can definitely get a sense of the magnitude of the structure. Now imagine it filled with people – between 50,000 to 87,000 spectators depending on which estimates you read – all cheering for their favorites. Pretty impressive, huh?

    The field of the arena is missing, but it gives you the opportunity to see the hypogeum or underground. This appears to be an elaborate labyrinth of rooms and halls, which is exactly what it is! This is the part of the arena where the gladiators, animals, props, and other items for shows were kept. There are a number of smaller rooms, which makes sense since you didn’t want the lions just roaming about under there! There were a number of mechanical systems, pulleys, etc., that would bring these animals and props up to the arena stage. This part of the Colosseum also had underground tunnels that linked it to other parts of the town – where the gladiators lived and were trained and where the Emperor and the Vestal Virgins could arrive without having to walk amongst the commoners waiting outside.

    The seating is in tiers, similar to today’s stadiums, each with a specific class of society being able to sit in them, and, like today, the best seats were down below. There were special boxes for special people (Emperor and his party, the Vestal Virgins, etc.) which were the best seats in the house. Next came seats for the senators, followed by the nobles and knights, then Roman citizens (separated by wealth), and at the very top, our modern day nose-bleed section, would be the poor, the slaves, and women. The arena could be emptied very quickly at the end of a show or in case of emergency due to the number of stairs and tunnels leading to and from the seating.

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    Colosseum

    by brendareed Written Jun 2, 2014

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    I’m pretty sure that the Colosseum is on most must-see lists of visitors to Rome. Even if you don’t go inside it, you will want to walk around it just to see Rome’s greatest amphitheater that was begun almost 2,000 years ago. Despite having seen the Colosseum in many pictures, it was impressive to see up close. Once inside, the best way I could describe it would be to think of a modern day football stadium without its field and seats. That’s how big it is!

    Tickets: If you plan to go into the Colosseum, you are going to need tickets. I highly recommend you get them somewhere other than the Colosseum, where the ticket lines tend to be the longest. Some people use the ROMA Pass, some purchase their tickets online ahead of time, and others, like us, purchased our combo ticket at the Roman Forum ticket counter. We were there in late February so it wasn’t as crowded as the summer and the line was very short. If you are coming in high season, you will most likely want to get your ticket ahead of time.

    Once you have your tickets, you can climb the steps up into the arena. Even in February, the Colosseum had many people and the steps are steep; this part seemed to go slowly, so I can only imagine what it would be like with double or triple the amount of people to work around.

    There are various places you can enter the arena area – on three sides of the arena and on different levels. Once you are there and inside, I would suggest you visit all of them as each gives you a different view point. While photographs are allowed, it is difficult to find a good position due to the throngs of people. If you want that perfect photo, be prepared to wait for a space to open up. This requires patience as many people seem to stand in their spots for a long time, reading their tour books, taking photos, or just chatting about what they are seeing.

    Audio Guide: While not always a fan of Rick Steves’, he does a good audio tour of the Colosseum (as well as other sites in Rome) that you can download for free from iTunes. You can download this to your iPod before you come to Rome and enjoy it as you explore the Colosseum. They are informative and provide some good details about what you are looking at.

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    The Flavian Amphitheatre

    by illumina Updated May 29, 2014

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    The Amphitheatrum Flavium, now known as the Colosseum, was built in the first century AD as a gift to the Roman citizens, by the Flavian emperors: begun by Vespasian in AD 72, continued by Titus, and completed by Domitian. The site had previously been an artificial lake in the park of Nero's residence, the Domus Aurea. The Colosseum is considered an architectural and engineering marvel, and remains as a standing proof of both the grandeur and the cruelty of the Roman world.
    It was used for hunts and gladitorial games - capable of seating at least 50,000 people, the emperor and senators used the first level of seating, where family names are still carved today, while above them were other aristocrats who were not members of the senate. A third level held seats for other citizens (the wealthier they were the lower the seats), and a wooden structure at the very top was standing room for poor women.
    Underneath the arena floor, which no longer exists, was a two-level subterranean network of tunnels and cages where gladiators and animals were held before contests began. Numerous trap doors in the floor provided instant access to the arena for caged animals and scenery pieces concealed underneath.

    There are numerous legends surrounding the building, including the following:
    "As long as the Colosseum stands, so shall Rome;
    When the Colosseum falls, so shall Rome;
    When Rome falls, so shall the world".

    It's best to get there early, as with most sights; we got there at about 9.30am, and the queue was only just outside the building - by the time we came out, it was almost to the Arch of Constantine! The ticket to enter costs 11 euros and also gives access to the Palatine.

    Edit: May 2014 The ticket is now 16 euros and includes the Palatine and the Foro Romano. A guided tour (for an extra fee) will allow you to see the underground part and the 3rd level which you don't see if you buy the ordinary ticket.

    Colosseum ticket
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    Ghosts of Gladiators

    by goodfish Updated Apr 9, 2014

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    Originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater, this largest of Roman arenas was constructed between 70 and 80 AD on the former site of Nero's artificial lake. That very naughty emperor claimed as his own a large area of Rome which had been devastated in the great fire of 64 AD, and built the lake, extensive gardens and a lavish palace (Domus Aurea) in the space. He also supposedly had an enormous likeness of his cheeky self cast in bronze and placed near his new house for all to admire. It was this statue, the Colossus of Nero, that is believed to be from which the Colosseum acquired its revised name. Anyway, Nero's evil ways caught up with him and after he rather reluctantly cut his own throat to escape slow death by flogging, his successor, Vespasian, reclaimed the land for the public. The new emperor had most of the palace torn down, gave the colossus a new, non-Nero-like head, filled in the lake and ordered the building of this massive entertainment center for the people of Rome.

    A couple of interesting facts:

    • The design was so efficient for filling and emptying the arena of thousands of people in a hurry that it's still the model for athletic stadiums built two thousand years later

    • Although all events were free, everyone had to have a ticket and were seated according to their social class

    • The exterior walls were once covered with marble which was later looted to make quicklime or reused as building material for other structures

    • While many unfortunates perished here in games of weaponry and spectacles involving wild animals, there is no record that any of them were Christians martyred for religion. Most casualties were gladiators or condemned prisoners.

    • Almost as an apology for its violent history, the Colosseum is now an international symbol of support for abolishment of the death penalty. Whenever a death sentence is commuted anywhere in the world or any country abolishes capital punishment (a requirement for joining the EU) the ruins are illuminated with gold versus the white lighting normally used.

    There's too much to cover here so do some reading before you go. I'm including the URL for the site with entree fees, hours, etc. Tickets include entry to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, and are good for 2 days: buy them at Palatine Hill to avoid the worst of the lines! Audioguides are available as are guided tours:

    http://www.060608.it/en/cultura-e-svago/beni-culturali/beni-archeologici/colosseo-anfiteatro-flavio.html

    You may also pre-order tickets here:
    http://www.coopculture.it/en/the-colosseum.cfm

    And see my tip on Chiosco Bar for a great place to take a breather in Parco Colle Oppio just down the street:

    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/1d0994/#review=page12

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  • Colosseum

    by Romagirly Written Mar 25, 2014

    We had limited time in this great city so had to suffice with a walk around this magnificent structure!!!. We were in awe of its magnitude and could feel the history that surrounds it, we very much hope to return to Rome and spent more time appreciating the beauty that lies here.

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    Roman Building Efficiency.

    by breughel Updated Mar 14, 2014

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    What surprised me most with the Flavian amphitheatre is that this huge construction with a circumference of about 540 m and 50 m high was build within a period of only six years (excepting some decorative elements who took more time).
    The construction of the Coliseum is a brilliant example of the efficiency of the Imperial Roman organisation.
    The main material is travertine of which it is estimated that 100 thousand m³ were used, with 6000 tons of concrete (so called "Roman concrete") for the vaults and 300 tons of iron clamps to fasten the stone blocks together. I read that to speed up the construction the building site was divided in four operational sectors - quadrants attributed to four different contractors following a meticulous plan.
    If nothing is known about the architect of the Coliseum, we know from Suetone that Emperor Vespasien puts hands at work and removed and carried a load of rubble on his back.
    VT members who are interested in the technique of this antique building can find full details on
    www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Roman_Colosseum.html.

    The money for the building came according to an inscription whose translation means:
    "Emperor Caesar Vespasian Augustus had this new amphitheatre erected with the spoils of war" probably the Palestinian war and the plundering of the Temple of Jerusalem.

    The spectacle inside the amphitheatre was not as glorious as the construction.
    For the inauguration in 80 AD by the Emperor Titus there were 100 days of "munera" i.e. fights with gladiators and "venationes" fights with wild animals.
    The difference between Greek and Roman mentality was very visible here. Romans liked strong emotions; entertainment showing more dignity like athletic competitions was not in favour with the Roman public as it was with the Greeks.

    Open all days from 08.30 h.
    Closing times: 16.30 h in winter, increasing to 19.00 h in summer
    Attention: closed on 1/01 and 25/12 !

    Tickets available at the Coliseum but also at the "biglietterie" of the Palatino, via di San Gregoriano, 30 or Piazza Santa Maria Nova, 53 at 200m from the Coliseum (also the ticket offices of the Forum as the ticket is a combined one).
    Price (2014): normal 12 €, reduced 7,50 € for EU citizens between 18 and 24 years old. (on line + 1.50 or 2 €). Free for EU citizens less than 18 or 65 years old.

    Renovation: Diego Della Valle, owner of Tod's shoe company, will invest 25 million euros in the renovation of the Coliseum. The amphitheater looks black from the pollution and the vibrations of the nearby subway make bricks fall down. The renovation will last for 3 years. The monument will remain open to the public.

    Colosseum - outside Colosseum - 80 AD Colosseum - 2008 AD
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    Fifty years ago and now.

    by breughel Updated Feb 15, 2014

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    We started from Brussels and on the third day morning we arrived in Rome; traffic was fluid. We aimed at the Colosseum, turned around the monument and parked our car, a Fiat 600, in front of it without any obstruction by anybody.
    We quietly admired the Colosseum. For me it was the first time, my wife had already visited Rome.
    That was in 1966.

    Things have slightly (euphemism) changed since then. Since August 2013 even the access by the Via dei Fori Imperiale is closed for traffic.

    On our last visit we stayed in a hotel close to the monument so that we could see it from the terrace and walk around in the evening when the crowds are gone and the atmosphere with the illuminations of the monuments changes from touristy in day time to some romantic as we like to imagine antiquity.

    As for the monument itself I think I wrote everything I could in my reviews :

    "Roman Building Efficiency".
    "The Coliseum and the Martyrs."
    "The Coliseum in the Middle Ages."

    Colosseo at night. The crowds at the Colosseo.

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    Ancient Wonder

    by Littlerachelbee Written Jan 4, 2014

    Beautiful place, lots of history. Plan to spend at least 3 hours here as the museum takes quite some time. I highly recommend being in a tour if you want to learn in depth about the Colosseum. I went in May and it was slightly crowded, but nothing one can't deal with. Overall I was impressed.

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    Colosseum

    by shavy Written Jan 3, 2014

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    The name of the Colosseum means in Latin titanic, it was chosen this name because in addition to the Colosseum a 32 meter high statue of Nero stood, in which he was portrayed as a sun god

    The Colosseum in Rome has a circumference of more than 500 meters and the height of the facade is almost 50 meters.

    The basis of it is concrete, brick and tuff and were originally the seat of the senior richly decorated with marble and ornaments.
    Is always very crowded place to visit summer or winter

    Interior of the Colosseum
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    The Coliseum in the Middle Ages.

    by breughel Updated Dec 25, 2013

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    The end of the games occurred in the 5th c. The taste of the public changed, the declining Empire entered in a military and financial crisis. The expenses needed to organize the shows were so enormous that the function of the amphitheatre became obsolete.
    Although damaged by earthquakes in the fifth century, it seems that the Coliseum remained nearly intact till the 8-9th century.

    In the 11th c. it became the property of the Frangipani family, with whose palace it was connected by a series of constructions. In the 14th c. the Coliseum belonged to the municipality of Rome; a third of the building was used as hospital. Very bad for the Coliseum was the earthquake of 1349 by which the western and southern portion of the shell collapsed. The enormous mass of stone mainly travertine of this part of the structure served as a quarry for the Romans. Four churches were erected in the vicinity from this material. Many thousands of cartloads of travertine from the Coliseum were carried off by contractors.
    It should be noted that in the Middle Ages the Coliseum was not considered as a sanctuary of the martyrs. This idea developed only in the 17th c. where an end was put to the plunder.

    The growing vegetation in the wall cracks increased the damage to the structure.
    Since 1643 botanists are studying the plants and their variation over the centuries at the Coliseum (684 species have been identified). A well-documented history of flora shows the monument's progress from slum to tourist attraction!

    Open all days from 08.30 h.
    Closing times: 16.30 h in winter, increasing to 19.00 h in summer
    Attention: closed on 1/01 and 25/12 !

    NEW: Diego Della Valle, owner of Tod's shoe company, will invest 25 million euros in the RENOVATION of the Coliseum. The amphitheater looks black from the pollution and the vibrations of the nearby subway make bricks fall down. The renovation would start late this year and will last for 2,5 years. The monument will remain open to the public.

    Coliseum - Flora Coliseum at night
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