Ancient Rome: Colosseum

The Colosseum is actually the first site we saw in Rome. We were walking down there streets, trying to read the map, thinking we needed to go another block and then turn left, when we looked up and there it was right in front of us. The Colosseum is literally right in the middle of the city. One block is tall, modern (or as modern as Italy gets...) buildings and the next block, you are transported back thousands of years. It's nuts.

The Colosseum is one of those places that you have to stop yourself and think about where you are. You are standing where emperors walked. You are looking down where gladiators fought. It is unbelievable. And hard to describe. It's surreal.
These are the entrances to the Colosseum. They are massive. We learned that the hallways were called the 'vomitorium' and that the stadium would 'vomit' out 50,000 fans in 15 minutes. Whoa.
Here, you see where the floor would have been. Underneath is an intricate maze of hallways where animals and prisoners were kept and then raised up through elevators onto the floor (next picture shows these underground hallways better).
This is the floor of the Colosseum. Can you believe the detail? Why not just keep it dirt? Or throw huge slabs of stone down?
This cross was added at the '50 yard line' by 16th century popes who 'saved' the Colosseum as a tribute to all the Christians who were murdered there. Interesting though, most of the prisoners and gladiators actually weren't Christians. Wimp womp.
The Colosseum is just awesome. The walls aren't even as high today as they once were. AND there was a retractable roof. Can you believe that?

Games took place in the Colosseum for nearly 500 years.  That is longer that the U.S. has existed! Years of neglect, earthquakes and stealing has almost ruined the structure (yes, stealing- people took the stone to build other buildings around Rome, maybe even St. Peter's! It's just like the brick stealing in North St. Louis!) but hopefully it will stand as it is now for many more years. I don't want my kids to only know the Colosseum from Gladiator...

Click here for links to all my Rome and Morocco travels!

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