Where do I even begin? The Colosseum is one of Rome's most famous buildings and enduring monuments to ancient Roman culture. It is un-freaking-believable.
A few years ago, I went on a road trip to Vancouver, B.C. It took 5 days to get there. And that was rushing through it - Canada is a massive country, to say the least. I drove back home through the U.S. and detoured just so I could see Mount Rushmore.
I was picturing something magnificent. Huge. Incredible. And after watching way too many movies, I imagined one of the mouths to open wide to reveal a secret cave. I finally drove up, parked the car, and hurried out so I could lay my eyes on the wonder that is Mount Rushmore. I felt a rush of disappointment. I thought it would be bigger. More spectacular.
The Colosseum? Nothing like that. Not even a little bit. It's bigger in real life. It's more incredible than you could ever picture it to be. Even after seeing hundreds of photographs.
On our second day in Rome, Sebastian and I took a tour of the Colosseum and The Roman Forum. Our tour guide was a funny Italian archaeologist who joked about his height, his pony tail, and assured us he wasn't gay. Even though there would be nothing wrong with it if he was. (Most Americans think he is because he carries around a messenger bag, but as he said "It's what Italians do.":)
Have a look at our photos if you'd like!
It's also unknown how many people actually died while fighting here. By the time the gladiators made it here, they were already incredibly famous and loved. In which case, people wouldn't want to see them die. Although, I'm sure some did anyway. Some of the Emperors were on a serious power trip.
Before the Colosseum existed, a power-hungry Emperor named Nero burned down Rome so he could steal the land for his own and then build his massive empire. Where you now see the Colosseum, used to be a giant swimming pool that was used for Nero's enjoyment. The swimming pool was then removed and the Colosseum was built for the people of Rome. The pool's removal also explains part of the reason why the Colosseum collapsed; the foundation underneath wasn't as solid.
You can also see small holes on the outside of the Colosseum in this photo. The cause of these holes are actually from the metal clamps that held the marble in place. What you're looking at is actually the "skeleton" of the Colosseum.
All I could keep thinking about while touring around this massive amphitheatre was... if I thought it was this amazing right now, imagine how mind blowing it would have been in its prime. Before the soft ground caused the one side to collapse. Before the metal clamps were stolen and it was stripped of its marble exterior. (Thanks, Middle Ages. Pffft.)
Now, onto the Roman Forum...
It was a day filled with nostalgia and amazement.
...And as soon as we got home, we watched "The Gladiator" to re-live it all over again. (Do yourselves a favour and watch it! It had been years since I did and I forgot just how good it is. Russell Crowe is phenomenal.)
Can't wait to show you more!