Series – When In Rome
Around every corner, from the city center to its outskirts, Rome is a juxtaposition of ancient architecture and modern conveniences. Poised at the very cross-roads of this divergence in time is the Roman Colosseum. These ancient ruins are surrounded by a pulsating, dynamic city, as vibrant and culturally significant today as it was when the Colosseum was the epi-center of ancient Roman life.
Today’s adventure takes us inside the Roman Colosseum for an up-close, first-hand experience with this incredible, iconic ancient site. Come see for yourself the views you’ll have and the tidbits of information you’ll learn on this oh-so-incredible tour.
First Glimpses of An Ancient Icon
Did you know that the colosseum was originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater, and not the Roman Colosseum? That name came decades later. The initial name originated from the three emperors of the Flavian Dynasty who were responsible for building the colosseum.
Once the site of games fought to the bitter end, gladiator combat, and ruthless animal events, today’s colosseum is a ghost of its former gory, glory days. Yet, the strength, the power that once roared to life on the amphitheater’s floor, still emanate from within these ancient walls.
Once the center of prominent political and social forces in the Roman Empire, today’s Colosseum represents an ancient empire that played a pivotal role in the shaping of the modern world. One can almost feel the dominant energy, the pulse of a preeminent force, when standing at the edge of this imposing structure.
Inside The Flavian Amphitheatre
Built between 72 – 80 A.D., the Flavian Amphitheater is sure to impress all who enter within. Constructed of ancient concrete and sand, this is the largest free standing amphitheater ever built. As impressive as the exterior of the Roman Colosseum is, equally impressive is what’s found inside this former grand and glorious amphitheater.
Walk beneath the very archways Rome’s ancient elite also once walked enroute to their seats for the day’s events. Stop beneath an ancient archway. Ponder how this massive structure was built so many centuries ago, yet still holds the weight of the years upon it’s archways. Listen as your guide discusses why it was built, and by whom.
Continue into the depths of the colosseum’s spectator levels. Imagine the roar of the crowds as combatants were poised to battle on the colosseum floor, or when politicians and theater groups took center stage. The colosseum could hold more than 50,000 people, rivaling the size of today’s modern football stadiums!
Gaze down to the levels beneath the main performance floor. See the spaces where cages of wild animals were once housed as they awaited their fate up above. Imagine gladiators pacing about, waiting their turns to be lifted up to the main arena, preparing for the fight to come.
Today’s crowds may not roar nearly as loud as the crowds of thousands of years ago, theatrical dramas no longer play out on stage, and gladiators no longer battle to the death. Yet, there is an ancient energy that remains within these colosseum walls.
Up Close With Ancient Architecture
Oh what a feat it must have taken those ancient Roman engineers and artisans to build the colosseum without the tools of modern times. Though many of its glorious architectural designs and details have been lost, destroyed, or diminished due to the ravages of time, enough remains today to tell the story of ancient times here at the colosseum.
Nearly two thirds of the original colosseum has been destroyed over the centuries. Materials were taken to build new structures elsewhere in Rome. Architectural features and statutes were removed or broken, and others were simply crushed with the passing of time.
Yet today, there remains original evidence of a grand and glorious colosseum in its prime. Look up to see remnants of a once opulent ceiling frieze, still in place in the arches above. Though the colors have since faded, finely carved details remain, testifying to the significance of this ancient elitist entry way.
Look around each corner, where grand sculptures and columns stand in place just as they have for thousands of years. The degree of decorative opulence varied based upon the social status of spectators who entered beneath particular archways. Entryways and seating at the colosseum were arranged by social rank, with the most elite entrances being quite decorative!
Stand next to the remains of sculptures which once adorned the colosseum. Examine the workings of an ancient elevator system, complete with ropes and pulleys to raise and lower stage equipment and caged animals. Today’s modern day elevators operate along much the same principle as these ancient Roman elevators once did!
Touring The Colosseum with Walks of Italy
We chose Walks of Italy’s VIP Caesar’s Palace Tour with Colosseum and Roman Forum for our Roman Colosseum experience. It was the best decision for our family! The tour’s small group size, skip-the-line entry access, and the VIP limited access entrance into Caesar’s palace made this tour worth the splurge over other tour options for our family of four.
Our Walks of Italy tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable, and perhaps one of the best tour guides we’ve experienced in years! He was patient, answering all our questions, and paced our group at just the right speed. Best of all, he was a treasure trove of historical facts and tidbits, which he shared throughout our tour.
Having a tour guide who is more than willing to converse one-to-one about ancient Roman history with our twelve year old history buff was hands down worth every penny!
Traveler’s Tip: The Colosseum is one of the most visited sites in Rome, and it can get very crowded! You’ll want to schedule an early tour to leave plenty of time to explore on your own afterward. Or do as we did! Book a VIP Colosseum Tour with Walks of Italy.
Have You Been Inside Rome’s Colosseum?
Our Roman Colosseum tour was just one component of an incredible day exploring several of Rome’s most iconic ancient sites with Walks of Italy. It is also one we will long remember!
Stay tuned for more on the rest of this incredible tour when I take a closer look around Palatine Hill as well as a special tour inside Caesar’s Palace. Learn more about why we love Walks of Italy in another post in progress, 5 Reasons to Tour Rome with Walks of Italy.
How about you? Have you been to Rome? Did you go inside the Roman Colosseum? Were you as impressed as we were? Do share!
Note: I received complimentary admissions to the VIP Caesar’s Palace Tour with Colosseum and Roman Forum tour from Walks of Italy. All opinions are my own. Read more about Walks of Italy at 5 Favorite Reasons to Explore Rome with Walks of Italy.
Want to learn more about our adventures around Rome? Check out my other posts here!
- 5 Fabulous Days in Rome – Family Adventures in the Eternal City
- A Rare Glimpse Inside Emperor Augustus Caesar’s Private Residence
- A Photographic Exploration of Rome’s Ancient Forum & Palatine Hill
- Biking The Ancient Appian Way – A Family Adventure
- Vatican City in One Day – 7 Top Tips to Maximize Your Time
Images by C.Biederman