The Colosseum, Rome – The most famous building of the Roman Empire

The Colosseum, Rome – The most famous building of the Roman Empire

Renowned for its fascinating history, Rome is a city which is bursting with truly incredible, ancient structures, one of which is the magnificent Colosseum.  Attracting visitors from every corner of the globe, this breath-taking building is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions and is a sight definitely not to be missed.  

Towering above the city streets is the monumental Colosseum, one of Rome’s most iconic, ancient structures, a building which is steeped in a wealth of history and one which attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world every single day.  Dating back to the 1st century AD, the enormous amphitheatre is said to be one of the finest examples of Roman architecture and engineering and is an attraction not to be missed whilst visiting this wonderful city.

Construction of the Colosseum began in 72 AD under the orders of Rome’s Emperor Vespasion and was completed in 80 AD by his son Titus, following Vespasion’s death.  The Colosseum was originally named the Flavian Amphitheatre and was the largest of its kind in the entire world.  Forming a huge oval shape, the structure stood at 188 metres long and 156 metres wide and could accommodate over 55,000 spectators.  Travertine stone from the nearby Tivoli quarry was brought in to create the Colosseum, which was later clad in marble and enhanced by an array of striking statues.

The main purpose of the building was to host entertaining events, showcase exotic animals and become a battle ground for the Roman Gladiators, many of whom would fight until the death.  These bloody encounters would take place whatever the weather, thanks to the Colosseum’s gigantic awning, known as the Velarium, which would shield onlookers from the elements.  Its four levels were designed to seat spectators in order of class and wealth.  Beneath the ground were machine rooms and cages in which to house the wild animals.  

Nowadays, the building has fallen into a state of ruin with much of its south side destroyed by an earthquake in 847.  However, the Colosseum is still one of the city’s most renowned landmarks and allows visitors the opportunity to explore its extensive remains and marvel at its impressive architecture.  Many of the 80 entrances are still visible, as are the magnificent archways which are gently illuminated of an evening.  Once you have entered this fascinating structure, it is quite easy to imagine the energetic atmosphere that it once radiated – the roar of the excited crowd and the severity of the battles seems to live on from within the ruins.        

The Colosseum is ideally located at the very heart of the city, making it easily accessible either on foot or by taking public transport from many of the surrounding neighbourhoods.  Tickets can be purchased onsite or online, the latter of which is recommended to avoid the queues.  They can also be bought as part of a day pass to several of Rome’s well-known attractions which can also be found close by.

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