Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Amphitheatrum Flavium and the Roman Forum

Colosseum

On my first full day in Rome I'd pre-booked to go to the Colosseum. I was a little nervous going as Pompeii had been so anti-climatic, and I'd been foolish enough to read the negative Nellies on TripAdvisor many of whom said that it's more impressive from the outside and how it's a waste of money to go in. I don't know what they're on because it was absolutely breathtaking!

IMG_5508
Colosseum
Colosseum

My hotel was just a ten minute walk from the Colosseum, and I'd walked by it the previous day when I'd had a little wander round Rome after arriving and visiting the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, so I knew how to get there.

Obviously the Colosseum is such a major landmark that everyone knows what it already looks like, but I'd never realised until I was actually standing in front of it just how much is rebuilt and how little of the original stone is left. After the fall of the Roman Empire it was no longer used as am amphitheater, and was mostly used to house farm animals and turned into a cemetery. Without receiving any care the structure was badly affected by earthquakes, and the locals began pinching the stone from it for other buildings such as churches, hospitals, and palaces. It was actually a Pope who stopped it from being completely demolished in the 1700s, and restoration efforts began. Despite how much of the Colosseum is either completely missing or rebuilt, it's amazing how alive with history the place is. It's so imposing to walk through, and I couldn't help but imagine both how terrified the slaves must have been to see the building and know they were being lead to their deaths, and also how jubilant the spectators would have been and how electric the air would of been with their excitement.

Colosseum
Colosseum
The original floor is gone, but you can see from the reconstruction where it would have been. Underneath lies the underground chambers and corridors.
Colosseum

I'd prebooked online as I wanted the guided tour which is only a few additional euros and I couldn't recommend it highly enough! It was only half an hour or so, but there was so much information packed into it that I would never have otherwise known. The tour guide really separated the fact from the fiction and legend of the place, and it was great having someone to tell us exactly what we were looking at and pointing things out I might otherwise have either missed or not understood their significance. Even if you don't want the tour, I'd still recommend booking in advance as there were massive queues to get in and I was able to walk straight past them.

Colosseum
All of the squares you see in rows used to be lifts. Animals, slaves, or gladiators would be locked into each chamber and would rise to the ground level through a trapdoor.
Colosseum
Colosseum

Our tour guide told us that the film Gladiator is, unusually for Hollywood, actually pretty historically accurate, with the exception of the death of Emperor Commodus (who was otherwise a real Emperor, and accurately portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix). The Colosseum was built by the Emperor Vespasian in 72AD and completed in only 8 years. It could hold up to 80,000 spectators, and the audience was almost entirely the local poor; the Emperor paid for their tickets and used the entertainment to keep the masses in his favour and prevent any revolt. The mornings would show exotic animals imported from Africa and the Middle East being hunted and killed, whilst the afternoons would be gladiator battles; the main event as the gladiators were the celebrities of the day. If a gladiator should beg for mercy during a battle, the final decision fell on the Emperor who would ultimately decide based on whichever option the crowd cheered for loudest (as it was all to keep them sweet anyway!)

Colosseum
Colosseum
IMG_5500
A panoramic photo I took of the whole amphitheater using my phone. I had a lot of fun taking photos like this while I was away, I took several in Pompeii too!

The Colosseum was my absolute favourite part of my entire trip, it was incredible and the place I really felt Ancient Rome come alive.

When you buy your entrance to the Colosseum, it also gains you entry to the Roman Forum which is literally just across the path. I spent a little time outside the Colosseum sketching the view and resting my feet before heading over there. The Roman Forum is the original centre of the city of Rome, and was filled with important buildings of the time for the running of the city, as well as monuments and statues of the important people of the day. It's where the people of Rome could gather for commercial, political, judicial and religious reasons in large numbers.

Arch of Constantine
The Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine.
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
I loved all of the trees. I know it sounds daft as I was literally in Italy, but the landscape really looked exactly how you'd imagine Italy to look.
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum

The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina was built by the Emperor Antoninus Pius and was initially dedicated to his late wife Faustina the Elder. When Antoninus Pius was deified after his death in 161 AD, the temple was re-dedicated jointly to Antoninus and Faustina at the instigation of his successor, Marcus Aurelius. During the Middle Ages the building was turned into the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda.

Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum
Roman Forum

I loved visiting the Colosseum, it was definately my favourite day of my entire trip. I initially visited it purely because I felt I should, so how strongly I felt about the place really took me by surprise. I spent the entire day there, and when I got back to my hotel room naturally I had to watch Gladiator before I went to sleep!

Colosseum

2 comments:

  1. Hi Sydney, I love the photos in this post, they really make me envision what it might have been like in the ancient past. ☺

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! The Colosseum really gives you that feeling!

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