The Colosseum is the symbol of Rome. This almost 2000 year old building represents the glorious past of the ancient city and still surprises us today with the beauty and majesty of its structure and the centuries of history it brings with it. Discover if you know everything about it.

The Flavian Amphitheatre, better known as the Colosseum, is the most visited monument in Italy and a symbol of the city of Rome.

Are you sure you know everything about it?

If you plan a trip to the Eternal City, remember to visit the Colosseum in Rome. It is not only a must-see, but also and above all an important opportunity to really get to know this extraordinary city that for centuries was caput mundi (the centre of the world).

It is impossible, however, to know everything about one of the most famous buildings in the world with a history that goes back some 2000 years.

Read the whole article because we have reserved something special for you so that you can enjoy your next stay in Rome to the fullest, perhaps even before the Ryder Cup in 2023.

Colosseum in Rome. The origin of its name

Let’s start with the origin of the name of what is the largest amphitheatre in the world. The name Colosseum comes from the presence of a colossal bronze statue of Nero, which stood not far from where the amphitheatre was erected in the first century AD by the architect Gaudentius.

Another tradition has medieval origins and says that the word Colosseum derives from the adjective “colosseum”, i.e. colossal, as the way this huge structure appeared to the inhabitants of the small surrounding houses.

The original name, however, is “Anfiteatro Flavio” (Flavian Amphitheatre) because it was built during the Flavian dynasty in 70 AD, when Vespasian was Emperor.The huge building, located on an area on the eastern edge of the Roman Forum, was however inaugurated by Titus in 80 AD and modifications were made in 90 AD during the reign of Domitian.

What was there before the Colosseum?

A curiosity has arisen, hasn’t it? What was there before the Colosseum in the same area?

The first and the largest stable masonry amphitheatre in the world was erected six years after the famous fire of Rome (64 AD) by Nero, and which, as history tells us, destroyed most of the centre of Rome in just six days and seven nights.

In the area where today stands a true icon for the city of Rome was the Domus Aurea, Nero’s residence.

The emperor had wanted to build a villa that was sumptuous inside and out, but following his suicide in 68 AD, work was interrupted. The residence, which stood on the Oppian Hill, was not only not completed, but was even covered over and a thermal bath was built on top.

In the valley between the Palatine Hill and the Oppian Hill an artificial lake had been created and it was here that the Colosseum was erected.

Three curiosities you might not know about the Colosseum

Here are some curiosities about the Colosseum in Rome that you probably don’t know: 

1)The naumachiae. The Colosseum in Rome is known for the contests that took place between gladiators, but maybe you don’t know that in addition to the fights between men (and sometimes with the presence of animals) also the naumachiae took place inside. On these occasions the Flavian Amphitheatre was transformed into an enormous open-air swimming pool. In order to host the naval battles, it was necessary to fill the oval where the shows took place with water, making the rainwater and the waters of the Labican River converge.

2)Awnings at the Colosseum. Yes, during the hottest days of summer the “velario” opened in the amphitheatre. What was it? A system of 80 triangular awnings able to defend the public from the heat during the performances.

3)The Colosseum was used as a quarry after the glories of the Roman Empire. The immense arena of fights, victories and bloodshed was used in the VI century as a burial ground and then as a castle.  For a long time the Colosseum was used as a quarry for building material, just think that blocks of travertine were systematically removed between the fifteenth and sixteenth century to be used in the construction of new houses and buildings, even prestigious ones. A couple of names? St Peter’s Basilica and Palazzo Barberini.

Discover Rome with a Segway tour

An original and fun way to discover not only the Colosseum, but also the centre of Rome, is to take a Segway Tour. You will be able to see some of the most beautiful and interesting parts of the city, using a special means of transport that will make you experience the city in a different way. This way you can move around quickly, always in the open air, without getting stuck in traffic.

After a brief training session on how to use the Segway, you will set off with a guide for a tour of the centre of Rome.

The itinerary includes:

  • Circus Maximus
  • Colosseum
  • Roman Forum
  • Via dei Fori Imperiali
  • Altar of the Fatherland
  • Aventine Hill, to peek through the famous keyhole of the Knights of Malta’s Palace from where you can see St. Peter’s dome
  • Theatre of Marcellus
  • Mouth of Truth

Book your place in complete safety.

An alternative way to visit the city of Rome, to keep in mind also when the Ryder Cup will be held in the Italian capital in 2023.

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