The Colosseum in Rome is one of the most recognisable ancient structures in the western world. Located to the east of the Roman Forum, it was built to house 55,000 spectators who would flock to see Roman gladiators fiercely competing for survival. The Colosseum is the most visited attraction in Rome, as its well-preserved architecture, gruesome history and fascinating stories attract visitors from all over the world.
The Roman Colosseum was completed in 80 AD and was the largest amphitheatre ever created. In the same year of its inauguration, the games lasted 100 days, and 5,000 animals were slaughtered in the arena. During the spectacles, seats were allocated by hierarchy, with the Roman elite in the lower levels closest to the action. Women, the poor, and slaves were allowed to sit at the top levels as long as they had a ticket, but certain professions such as actors, former gladiators and gravediggers were not allowed into the Colosseum. As visitors stand in the main arena, they are able to imagine the events which unfolded and the heckling of the crowds. To get a real understanding of what was going through the minds of the Roman gladiator’s minutes before they were led into the arena, explore the recently opened labyrinth of passageways and chambers below the floor with a guided tour. Discover the trap doors from which lions and tigers would magically appear, and walk to the centre of the open-air arena to gain a real sense of the enormity of this incredible structure.
Reaching many of the attractions in Rome is easy and stress-free. The local bus service stops directly outside the Colosseum at the Colosseo bus stop. There is a tram stop nearby and Cavour Metro station is a short walk away. The Colosseum is located close to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, all from the same era and can be viewed on the same day as they are easily accessible, around 10 minutes’ walk from the Colosseum.
Roman emperors built the Colosseum originally to showcase the hunting of wild animals which then progressed to the famous gladiator shows. The gladiators were men who had been convicted criminals, prisoners of war or slaves, and were trained at special schools to fight to the death. The Colosseum became a symbol to the rest of the world as a show of Rome’s strength, might, and brutality. During the rise of Christianity, the games were stopped as the religion saw the actions undertaken as brutal and barbaric. Today, a visit to the Colosseum is an experience which is interesting, moving and gives a real sense into the life and times of Ancient Rome.