Credit – Robin-Angelo
Back in high school, some notebook companies used to feature world-famous monuments on their cover pages, and I remember one of them consisted of the Colosseum. I completely had no idea about it before; however, I read about it on the back page of the same notebook, and this is how I was introduced to it.
The Colosseum in Rome stands as a testament to the grandeur and engineering prowess of ancient Italy. After reading about it and watching its pictures on the internet, I was completely awestruck by its architectural beauty and storied history. After reading this article, I feel you will start imagining how beautiful it looked in the old days, and you would like to visit it on your next holiday. Enjoy reading!
The History of the Colosseum in Rome
Under the motto of “Bread and Circuses,” the Roman Colosseum was known as the Flavian Amphitheatre in ancient days, which allowed more than 50,000 people to enjoy its finest spectacles. The exhibitions of exotic and international animals, executions of prisoners, recreations of battles, and gladiator fights took place there, keeping the Roman people entertained for long years.
The Colosseum in Rome enthralled people for over 500 years. The last recorded games in the history of the Colosseum were celebrated in the 6th century. Later, the Colosseum started facing lootings, earthquakes, and even bombings during World War Two. During a crisis, the Colosseum was used as a storehouse, church, cemetery, etc., demonstrating a survival instinct. With the help of studying the chronological order, you can study the history of the Colosseum in Rome in detail:
- 72 AD: King Vespasian gifted the amphitheater to the people and laid the foundation stones of the Colosseum.
- 80 AD: Titus, King Vespasian’s successor, officially opened the Colosseum in Rome to the public, and spectators enjoyed 100 days of gladiator combats.
- 83 AD: Titus’s younger brother and successor Domitian completed the construction of the Colosseum.
- 110 AD: A memorial to St. Ignatius of Antioch’s martyrdom was established on the arena floor, transforming it into a cemetery.
- 422 AD: Significant damage to parts of the Colosseum caused due to the Earthquake during the reigns of Theodosius II and Valentinian III.
- 730 AD: Saint Bede, a prominent teacher, and writer of the Early Middle Ages, started referring to the amphitheater as the Colosseum.
- 12th Century: The Frangipani family, a Roman clan, transformed the Colosseum into a castle.
- 1349: A massive earthquake struck the Colosseum, damaging its outer side and causing a partial collapse. The stone from the damaged parts was reused in the construction of various palaces, hospitals, and other architectural structures.
- 19th Century: The Roman Church started numerous restoration projects in the city when the government aimed at preserving this historic monument.
- 2013: Over the course of three years, the government’s restoration project successfully removed the accumulated grime and dirt and restored the Colosseum to its former glory.
Facts about the Colosseum in Rome
Having a thousand years of history, the Colosseum in Rome has interesting facts that may blow your mind. Before visiting the monument, you can go through them:
- The Colosseum was originally named Flavian Amphitheatre as it was built during the reign of King Vespasian and belonged to the Flavian Dynasty. Today, it is acclaimed as one of the most well-known and iconic symbols of ancient Roman architecture.
- The Colosseum is considered an enormous structure due to its elliptical shape measuring 189 meters (615 feet) long, 156 meters (510 feet) wide, and standing approximately 50 meters (160 feet) tall.
- The intention behind the Colosseum was to manage the flow of people efficiently. It had 80 entrances and exit points, allowing large crowds to enter and exit swiftly. According to the records, it could hold between 50,000 to 80,000 spectators simultaneously. The gladiatorial contests, mock sea battles, animal hunts, and other public spectacles used to take place at the Colosseum.
- The seating arrangement of spectators was based on their social status where the emperor and senators had the best seats in the front, closest to the action. The arena and floor enabled the grand entry of animals and gladiators to surprise the audience during the show.
- It is said that the name “Colosseum” is derived from the colossal statue of Emperor Nero that once stood nearby, known as the Colossus of Nero. Moreover, beneath the monument, there is an underground tunnel and chambers known as the hypogeum.
Architecture of Colosseum
Its magnificent architecture makes the Colosseum stand out as the largest amphitheater with a splendid vision of the creator. It stood strong when Rome was facing disasters and reigns that terrorized the people. As a way to give back to the people, King Vespasian started constructing this monumental structure in 70 AD. Unlike most buildings in Rome that were built on hillsides, King Vespasian built the monument as a free-standing structure. The monument is standing 4 stories tall with a central oval arena.
Emperor Domitian built underground tunnels in the central arena to provide shelter for animals and slaves. To make the exit and entry as early as possible, there are eighty entrances to the structure from the ground level, and the northern entrance was reserved for the Roman Emperor. The other three entrances were reserved for the elite, and common people used the remaining 76 entrances.
Places to Visit near the Colosseum in Rome
While visiting the Colosseum in Rome, there are several fascinating places that you can consider exploring. Here is a list of a few of them:
- Palatine Hill:
Being one of the ancient parts of Rome, Palatine Hill is situated near the Roman Forum, and you can have stunning views of the city from the hill. According to the records, it is said that Palatine Hill is the place where Romulus founded the city. Here, you can explore the ruins of imperial palaces and lush gardens.
- Roman Forum:
After taking a short walk from the Colosseum, you can visit the Roman Forum, an ancient marketplace and the heart of ancient Rome. It includes the remains of various important buildings and structures from Roman times, for example, temples, basilicas, and government buildings.
- Mouth of Truth (Bocca della Verità):
Mouth of Truth is a large marble face with an open mouth, located in the nearby Santa Maria in Cosmedin church. It is said that the mouth of Truth bites the hand of anyone who tells a lie when they place their hand inside.
- Baths of Caracalla:
Built in the 3rd century, the Baths of Caracalla are an ancient public bath, situated in the southwest of the Colosseum. Despite being in ruins, the monument provides a glimpse into the grandeur of Roman bathhouses.
- Capitoline Hill and Capitoline Museums:
Capitoline Hill is located a short distance from the Colosseum. Being one of the seven hills of Rome, it is home to the Capitoline Museums. These museums consist of a remarkable collection of ancient art and artifacts.
- Arch of Constantine:
The Arch of Constantine commemorates the victory of Emperor Constantine I in the Battle of Milvian Bridge in AD 312. It is located right next to the Colosseum, and you can visit the place to explore the history of the Roman Empire.
Hotels to Stay near the Colosseum
After receiving the Colosseum tickets, you might be looking for the best hotel to stay near. Here we have listed a few hotels where you can have a lavish stay and enjoy a beautiful view of the monument from your room.
- Palazzo Manfredi – Small Luxury Hotels of the World:
It is a luxury boutique hotel located a few steps away from the Colosseum and offers stunning views of the ancient monument. Here you will get elegant rooms, a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views, and impeccable service. You can make an advanced booking to get the best room.
- The Fifteen Keys Hotel:
The hotel is situated in the Monti neighborhood, which is close to the Colosseum. This hotel is the best choice for enjoying a stylish and contemporary stay that provides a cozy and welcoming ambiance. You can enjoy well-designed rooms and a lovely garden courtyard. Its staff is pet-friendly and offers separate services to them.
- Colosseo Panoramic Rooms:
This is the best hotel for exploring all the historical sites in Rome. As the name suggests, this hotel offers you fantastic panoramic views of the Colosseum and well-appointed rooms.
- Hotel Palazzo Montemartini:
It is situated near the Baths of Diocletian, which is not far from the Colosseum. The hotel provides you with elegant rooms and its staff can speak multiple languages. It combines modern luxury with historic architecture. Furthermore, it offers a spa, fitness center, minibar, and a beautiful garden.
- The Fifteen Keys Hotel:
The /is located in the Monti neighborhood, close to the Colosseum. The hotel has beautiful decor and spacious rooms. Its ambiance is cozy and welcoming, so that you can enjoy well-designed rooms and a lovely garden courtyard. There is free Wi-Fi and complimentary breakfast for guests that includes intercontinental food.
The Concluding Note
The Colosseum in Rome has witnessed various heart-breaking moments in history. Despite such disasters, it stands as a captivating symbol of ancient Roman history that speaks about resilience and human achievements. The monument inspires the whole world to cherish its heritage and embrace the struggle every nation goes through and continue to build a future worthy of remembrance. I hope you enjoyed reading the article and received useful insights regarding the Colosseum in Rome.