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During our 90-day stay in Rome which kicked off our one-year journey, we tried to see the Colosseum several times but the lines were just crazy. They were actually around the entire structure and something we were not willing to do. We had actually seen this ruin on a previous trip to Italy several years ago. After all, it was cold and we were going to be in Rome until the end of February, we would try again.
We waited until after the new year and the locals were correct, we had the place to ourselves. In fact, we actually went on the “free Sunday” which is the first Sunday of each month, and practically walked right in! P-E-R-F-E-C-T-O!
The Colosseum is a main symbol of Rome and has almost 2,000 years of history. This Roman ruin was also known as the Flavian Amphitheater and was opened in 80AD.
During our recent visit, we discovered that it was once covered by a huge canvas awning and held over 50,000 people. On display inside the Colosseum was a model of what it once looked like. If you look at the photo below, look at all the statues that were once standing on the top all around the arena; I never knew they were once there!
The outer walls have three levels of arches and the niches on the 2nd and 3rd story were once filled with marble statues. In addition, the upper level had tall masts that held the awning over the arena, consequently shielding the spectators from sun and rain. There were also 80 arches that allowed the spectators to enter and exit in just a matter of minutes. Too bad we don’t have this type of system in our stadiums today; especially after the conclusion of a football or baseball game!
The interior was divided into three parts: the arena, cavea, and podium. The cavea was for spectator seating and was divided into three tiers. The senior officials sat in the lowest tier, the wealthy citizens sat in the middle tier and the peasants and women in the highest tier. A broad terrace called the “podium” was in front of the tiers of seats and was reserved for the emperors and senators.
The Colosseum is one of Rome’s greatest tourist attractions and each year almost 6 million tourists visit the beautiful arena. On July 7, 2007, the Colosseum became one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
Finally, tickets to enter the Colosseum can be purchased from a booth located between it and the Palatine Hill. With the purchase of one ticket, you get to visit both sites. Arrive early to get a jump on the lines or if you are visiting several sights throughout the city, consider purchasing a Roma Pass which is a discount card that offers free entrance without having to wait in line. Another option is to plan your trip during January or February when you will have the place almost to yourselves!