The Colosseum in Rome has long been a place of myth and legend and has heavily featured in many movies and television shows most notably Spartacus, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Roman Holiday as well as in the computer game Assains Creed: Brotherhood just to name a few. The first thing that comes to mind for most tourists when visiting Rome, Italy is a visit to the Colosseum and it was certainly on my bucket list to see the 7 wonders of the world.
Fascinating Facts About the Colosseum
Fact 1: The tunnels you can see in the photo below, held Gladiators and animals on event days, which were covered over with wood to make the arena floor and had 36 trap doors to create special effects and entrances much like what we see in the WWE wrestling on television today.
Fact 2: The Colosseum hosted many events, most notable were the Gladiator events as depicted in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator and the television show Spartacus, other events included Gladiator Vs Beast (it’s estimated over 500,000 people lost their lives and over a million wild animals lost their lives during these games. A less known event held at the Colosseum was the Navel reenactments in which the Colosseum was flooded so epic mock naval battles could be reenacted.
Fact 3: The Colosseum has over 80 entrances and held approximately 50,000 spectators who all had free entry. But not all seating was equal as you can see from the shape of the Colosseum there are four tiers and were arranged according to ranking. The best seat was the Imperial Box/cubiculum on the north side, which was reserved for the Emperor and those close to him. Around either side of the Imperial box were the Imperial seats marked for the most elite of the Romans which included members of the Royal family, senators, nobles and priests. The next tier up was the Knights and the wealthy, the third was the ordinary Roman citizens not of nobility or wealth and the fourth tier was for the poor and the slaves.
Fact 4: As you can see from the picture below there is a taller side of the Colosseum, I always thought that was part of the design but it’s actually not. The white marble from which it was made, was so highly sought after by Architects back in the day that it was robbed. It has even been known to have turned up at St. Peter Basilica and other later monuments.
Fact 5: The Colosseum took 10 years to be built by 60,000 slaves which started in 70AD and finished in 80AD and was commissioned by Emperor Vespasian founder of the Flavian Dynasty of Emperors and the first games were held under Emperor Titus (son of Vespasian).
Fact 6: The final fact although not in it’s original state the Colosseum has stood tall through earthquakes, fires, war and vandalism. This magnificent area is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome.
Tips for Visiting The Colosseum
Tip 1: Avoid the queues by pre-booking your tickets online or getting the Rome Pass or even joining a small tour group. This way the only line you will be in is the bag search one, which moves pretty fast.
Tip 2: If you want to get into some of the restricted area’s not open to the general public, go on a small tour.
Tip 3: Your ticket to the Colosseum also covers the Roman Forum and Palatine hill which will take the whole day to really get the most from your experience.
Tip 4: Bring some water and some snacks, as the shop is quite pricey.
Tip 5: Wear comfortable shoes you will do a lot of walking and the steps are very steep.
Tip 6: Keep your valuables close to you as this is a busy tourist attraction and pickpockets like to distract tourists.
Where is the Colosseum and How to Get There
Address: Piazza del Colosseo
- Bus: Line 75, 81, 673, 175, 204
- Tram Line 3
- Metro B – “Colosseo”