Colosseum Guide: Expert Tips for Rome’s Gem

From Entertainment to Icon: The Legacy of the Colosseum
From Entertainment to Icon: The Legacy of the Colosseum

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The Colosseum is one of the most iconic and recognizable landmarks in Rome, and is undoubtedly one of the city’s top tourist attractions. But what is the history behind this incredible structure, and how has it survived for nearly two thousand years?

Who built Colosseum and why?

Construction on the Colosseum began in 72 AD under the rule of Emperor Vespasian, and was completed in 80 AD by his son Titus. The Colosseum was originally called the Flavian Amphitheatre, in honor of the Flavian dynasty who built it. At the time, Rome was a major world power, and the Colosseum was built as a symbol of that power, intended to showcase the wealth and might of the Roman Empire.

It was designed to hold up to 80,000 spectators, making it one of the largest amphitheaters in the world.

The structure was built using stone, brick, and concrete, and featured an intricate system of ramps, corridors, and elevators to allow for the efficient movement of people and animals in and out of the arena.

What was the Colosseum famous for?

The monument was primarily used for gladiatorial games, which were violent and brutal displays of combat between men, animals, and sometimes even women.

These games were a way for the emperors to entertain and appease the masses, and were also used as a means of controlling the population by distracting them from political and social issues.

The gladiatorial games were incredibly popular, and were attended by people from all walks of life, from the wealthy and powerful to the poor and disenfranchised.

The Colosseum was also used for other types of public entertainment, such as animal hunts and mock sea battles.

Despite its popularity, the Colosseum was not immune to damage and destruction. In 217 AD, it was struck by lightning, causing a fire that damaged a large portion of the building.

In the centuries that followed, the Colosseum was repeatedly looted and damaged, with much of its original marble and decorative features stolen for use in other buildings.

Despite these challenges, the Colosseum remained a beloved and important landmark in Rome. It continued to be used for various events and performances throughout the centuries, and was even used as a shelter during times of war and political upheaval.

Today, the monument remains an impressive and awe-inspiring sight, attracting millions of visitors each year.

In recent years, extensive restoration and preservation efforts have been undertaken to ensure that the Colosseum remains standing for generations to come.

Visiting the Colosseum is a truly unforgettable experience, offering a glimpse into the rich history of ancient Rome and the incredible engineering and architectural achievements of the time. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply love to explore new places, the Colosseum is a must-see destination that should be at the top of every traveler’s list.

What are 5 facts about the Colosseum?

Here are 5 curiosities about the Colosseum that you surely did not know:

  1. Was the largest amphitheater ever built, with a capacity of up to 80,000 spectators.
  2. Was used for a variety of events, including gladiatorial games, animal hunts, and mock sea battles.
  3. The Colosseum’s hypogeum, or underground area, was a complex system of tunnels and elevators used to transport animals, gladiators, and scenery in and out of the arena.
  4. Was damaged by fire and earthquakes over the centuries, leading to extensive restoration efforts in recent years.
  5. Was built using advanced engineering techniques for the time, including concrete and brick construction and an innovative system of arches and vaults to support the massive structure.

When to visit and how much it costs to visit the Colosseum

Visiting hours may vary according to the season and current events. In general, the Colosseum is open every day except December 25th and January 1st. Opening hours usually vary between 8:30 and 16:30.

However, it is always best to check the opening and closing times in advance, as they can vary depending on the weather conditions and local holidays.

Furthermore, it is always advisable to book in advance to avoid long waits and to guarantee access to the Colosseum in the preferred time slots.

How much does it cost to visit the colosseum?

The cost to visit the Colosseum may vary according to the type of ticket purchased and the age of the visitor.

  • The basic ticket for the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill costs €16.00 for adults and €2.00 for citizens of the European Union aged 18 to 25.
  • Children under the age of 18, as well as people with disabilities and their companions, are entitled to free admission.

Combined tickets are also available that include access to other tourist attractions, such as the Pantheon, Sant’Angelo Castle and the National Roman Museum. These tickets cost more than the basic Colosseum ticket.

Additionally, there are also special guided tours that offer insider access to the Colosseum and surrounding areas, along with expert guides who provide in-depth information about the monument’s history and architecture. These tours may cost more than standard tickets, but offer a more complete and in-depth experience of visiting the Colosseum.

The archaeological park of the Colosseum

The Parco Archeologico del Colosseo is an archaeological area located in the center of Rome, Italy, which encompasses the Colosseum and its surroundings. This park houses a wide range of ancient monuments, including the Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill.

The Parco Archeologico del Colosseo was established in 2014 to protect and enhance these important historical monuments. Through guided tours, exhibitions, and other cultural activities, the park offers visitors the opportunity to explore Rome’s ancient history and culture.

Click here to check times and prices.

Museum of Colosseum

The construction of the Colosseum Museum on the second level of the amphitheater is the first step in rethinking the visitor experience of this iconic monument. The plan is to offer a guided, thematic route through the various spaces, highlighting key points of interest with effective signage that identifies and enhances significant itineraries. Recent archaeological excavations, studies, and research have led to an increase in knowledge and understanding of the Colosseum throughout its long history, including its various reuses and ideological significance, which will now be more fully communicated to visitors.

The Museum’s exhibition path naturally showcases the most notable works from the building and excavations, organized to help visitors understand the salient aspects of the monument. The displays incorporate interactive and multimedia elements to communicate the Colosseum’s significance in the history of culture.

The exhibition begins with a section on the architecture of the monument, featuring parts of the whole, including capitals and fragments of railings, and a fascinating reconstruction of the vomitoria. At the same time, visitors are reminded of the monument’s enduring influence as a model of architecture over the centuries.

Palatine Museum

The Palatine Museum is located in the former convent of the Visitation Nuns, built in 1868 on the remains of Domitian’s palace. In the 1930s, the archaeologist Alfonso Bartoli established the new Palatine Antiquarian here. To allow for the expansion of ongoing archaeological excavations on the hill, Bartoli had the neo-Gothic building that the Scottish architect Carlo Mills had built on its summit demolished.

In 1882 and then during World War II, many of the materials found in the numerous excavations that had taken place on the Palatine Hill since the second half of the 19th century were transferred to the Museum of the Baths (of Diocletian). At the end of the conflict, only a small part of the collection returned definitively to the Palatine Hill.

In the 1990s, the museum was reorganized and, on the occasion of the Augustan Bimillennium, it was rearranged to improve its accessibility, also thanks to multimedia installations.

The exhibition path is divided into two floors.

On the ground floor, in rooms that preserve the original structures of the pre-existing domus, the history of the hill is narrated, from the origins of Rome up to the advent of the Principate (1st century BC).

On the first floor, among the many works on display, it is worth noting the artifacts from the Augustan era in room VI, which belonged to the emperor who first transformed the appearance of the Palatine Hill, and the mosaics and precious paintings from Nero’s Domus Transitoria in room VII.

The new museum of the Roman forum

The Museum of the Forum is located on the ground floor of the Santa Maria Nova Cloister, with an exhibition path that unifies and enhances the contexts of the Roman Forum excavated by archaeologist/architect Giacomo Boni in the early 20th century.

Boni established the first Antiquarium of the Forum in 1908, consisting of nine exhibition rooms, in the Santa Francesca Romana/Santa Maria Nova Convent, which was built by Alessandro VI between 1492 and 1503 with the aim of presenting the results of the research conducted in the Forum area to the public.

Over time, the collection of the Antiquarium was expanded with the exhibition of materials recovered from the investigations of Dante Vaglieri, Alfonso Bartoli, Pietro Romanelli, and Gian Filippo Carettoni.

The new Museum of the Forum exhibit follows a path that starts with two rooms dedicated to the cemetery investigated by Giacomo Boni in the area of the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. The exhibition includes a series of graves, which have been arranged in new display cases specially designed to evoke the moment of discovery.

There is also a large plaster model created by Boni that reproduces the area where the graves were found. The exhibition then continues to the rooms overlooking the cella of the Temple of Venus and Roma, dedicated to the origins of Rome, and the sacred areas of the Roman Forum, with large display cases that showcase important discoveries mainly from Boni’s investigations.

The exhibition concludes with important artifacts from the so-called votive deposit of the Capitol Hill, excavated by the Archaeological Superintendence of Rome in the 1980s and 1990s.

The exhibition was designed and directed by COR arquitectos (Cremascoli, Okumura, Rodrigues) with Flavia Chiavaroli.

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