Our next stop while in Rome, Italy, was the Colosseum. This was a big deal, particularly for my husband, because he is a die-hard fan of the Russell Crowe film, Gladiator (I think he likes to pretend to be Maximus Decimus Meridius when I’m not looking). Plus, anything involving battles, blood, and swords is a surefire treat for our two boys. I actually ended up really loving the Colosseum and found the whole thing truly fascinating. Our tour guide, Michael, was also great and provided tons of interesting tidbits and facts about the Colosseum and Roman life in general. Our oldest son soaked it all in like a sponge and gave the tour guide a run for his money in his knowledge of Roman and Greek Mythology. Apparently our son has been reading lots of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, so this was the perfect trip to take him on.
The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, was built from 72 A.D. to 80 A.D. and is considered one of the greatest works in Roman architecture and engineering. This four-story marvel, made of stone and concrete, can seat approximately 50,000 spectators and has 80 entrances, four of which were reserved for the emperor and his family. Interestingly, part of the Colosseum was destroyed in an earthquake in 847 A.D. and some of the fallen marble facade was used in the building of St. Peter’s Basilica, which we visited here.
The upper story of the Colosseum was reserved for seating the lower class of men and women and the first story was for more prominent citizens.
The coolest part of the Colosseum was what took place underground, where exotic animals shipped from Africa were caged and then hoisted up with mechanical devices to appear on the battle floor out of trap doors. The gladiators would then fight against the animals, as well as each other, to the death.
I think it’s hard to really imagine what was taking place here because all that is left of the Colosseum is its shell, so I found these visuals to be especially intriguing. For some reason, I was totally captivated by this replica of the trap doors and mechanisms underground — must be the girl in me and my fascination with dollhouses and miniature things. Of course, this is some sort of cruel ancient death dollhouse, but cool nonetheless.
It was a Sunday when we visited, so the streets were clear for pedestrians. It was so fun to literally be roaming the streets of Rome.
We ended our tour with a visit to Palatine Hill. I still don’t understand what it is exactly. Something about some ancient something or another that is no longer there. Good thing a picture is worth a thousand words – ha!
Check back next post for Trevi Fountain and the food of Rome — yum!