Welcome to my second episode of Italy Virtual Tours. Today our destination will be Colosseum. I think the majority of us are aware of its grandeur. One of the seven wonders of the world, Colosseum is a spectacular example of architecture and sheer brilliance. It is an iconic landmark in Rome, Italy.
Colosseum is essentially an amphitheater, one of the oldest and most ancient monuments of the country. It is amazing to think about the concept that aroused for accommodating thousands and thousands of spectators in one arena. I would like to discuss today this awesome architecture, the history behind its establishment, and its intrinsic beauty.
The name Colosseum is a Latin word. The reason is its relation with the rulers of the Flavian dynasty. In 72 AD, Emperor Vespasian flagged its construction between the three hills of Rome. Rome is popular for its prominent seven hills. The site of its establishment was selected in the midst of Palatine, Esquiline, and Caelian Hills. Emperor Titus completed the amazing monument in 80 AD. He belonged to the same ruling dynasty.
The structure underwent several renovations and reconstructions under the flagship of Emperor Domitian. The 5 Euro cent coin of Italy carries the image of the Colosseum, significant respect to its existence.
The Architectural Glamour
The structure is oval-shaped, deriving the style and design from the Roman theatres. The exterior wall was constructed using Travertine, a stone formed from limestone deposits. They are supported with each other by strong iron clamps.
There are three stories in the theatre which holds a podium where the performances were held. It had a seating capacity of about 50,000 to 80,000 audiences, unimaginable size of gathering. The fact that years ago in ancient times, the rulers had the farsightedness to accommodate such a huge crowd for entertainment.
The arcades in each of the stories and their arches contain elaborate and exquisite carvings. Some portray images and some depict artistic carvings. The architects and the designers had to invest their thoughts for building sufficient entrances and exits. The design was essential to accommodate the enormous capacity of crowds, preventing stampedes.
In total there were 80 entrances for the spectators of which 4 were reserved for the royal families and the rest were for the commoners. Sculptured images and decors beautifully adorned each entrance. The seats, entrances, and exits were all numbered; people could sit as per their grades.
The podium or the arena is huge, made of wood. The performances were enacted here. Beneath the arena, you can find a curated designed structure. It earned its name the hypogeum, utilized to the cage and hoist animals into the podium. It had a pulley and lift system to alter sceneries and views in between the acts.
I sometimes wonder that with no technological advancements at those times, they could come up with such a breathtaking technique. The only reason I selected to be in my virtual tour series, is to share with my readers the intellect behind the design.
The Shows and Events
Well, if you think that the shows and events were similar to the modern day theatres, you will be a bit wrong. Colosseum is a witness to animal fights, gladiator fights and many executions. It is contrary to the performances held in the modern world. In yesteryears, these were the passionate games and activities promoted by the rulers. Unbelievable yet it’s true, you can recollect the movie “Gladiator” and can strike a similarity.
You need to ponder upon one aspect that its history and the lives of people were not similar to what we lead now. There has been advancement in education, mindset and thoughts of human beings. In yesteryears, the minds of the people revolved around wars, empowerment and showcasing valour. It was a sign of dignity to win against the odds. It was quite a normal event for such shows and performances.
People often used to crowd at the Colosseum to catch a glimpse of their Emperors who visited the arena to greet the crowd. Sometimes they even attended shows and cheered the actors. Women performed in the comic shows using weapons made of wood.
Entry timing and Fees
It is open to the public approximately every day from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM. The timings vary on certain days; you must check out the exact time for purchasing the tickets. It has started a new event in the evening called “the moon over the Colosseum”. The entry starts from 8 PM and closes at around 10:50 PM. It is amazing to watch the massive structure under the moonlight.
The tickets cost EURO 12; free for children under 18 years of age. It is good to book the tickets online, its validity stays for 2 days and you can avoid the queue. If you book at the premises, it’s valid for that day only. For your information, the authorities allow entry of maximum 3000 visitors in a day. There are elevators inside to reach each of the storeys. They have provisions for wheelchairs too.
How to reach?
Buses, cars, metro, trams are easily accessible from anywhere in Rome to reach the theatre area. Pay parking facilities are available nearby. The commutation is easy and convenient, without any kind of hassles.
Hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of Colosseum. Real tours are always a treasure, yet in these trying pandemic times, virtual tours are a solace. I am solely trying to keep my travel friends rejuvenated and hopeful of visiting the world again. Will come up with more virtual tours in the next episodes.
A travel enthusiast craving to explore the exotic destinations in the world, deciphering the mysteries and the thrill concealed in them.