Colosseum, Rome

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The Colosseum, also spelled Roman Coliseum and known to Italians as Il Colosseo, is considered by many to be the symbol of Rome. It was built by Vespasian and completed by Titus in 80 AD. While only the skeleton of this Flavius amphitheater remains, it was the biggest and most imposing in the Roman Empire. As you tour the Roman Colosseum imagine what it looked like then. The first three floors had 80 arches each. The arches on the second and third floors were decorated with enormous statues. The Colosseum in Rome was once completely covered in travertine stone. It seated more than 50,000 people. The Colosseum's elliptical shape ensured there wasn't a bad view in the house. To celebrate it's opening, Titus held a ceremony lasting 100 days. The performances included gladiator games and wild animal hunts known as venationes. For the naumachia, the Colosseum was filled with water and naval battles were staged. What happened to all the missing pieces? The Popes who ruled Rome in the Middle Ages used the Colosseum as a quarry. They removed the marble, iron and lead and used it to build edifices around the city.
 
Venationes
Gladiator games weren't the only events held at Roman coliseums. Venationes, wild animal hunts, were also staged. Exotic animals, such as elephants, lions and crocs, were hunted by one another and hunted by man. To make the hunt look real, the Romans built deserts, hills and waterways inside the arena. To ensure a good fight, the animals were starved for days before the show. Animals and hunters were maimed and killed while the audience watched. Trajan staged the largest Venationes. His spectacles included more than 10,000 gladiators and more than 11,000 animals.
 
 
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Submitted on 26 July 2008 by snowedunder from Monza, Italy
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The Colosseum is my daughter's favorite attraction in Rome. It was her favorite at age 6 and it's her favorite at age 11. We walk by it on every trip. Why? It's enormous. It's ancient. It's accessible. - Enough of the Colosseum is standing to evoke understanding; enough is missing to spark imagination. - And most importantly, it's fascinating. Gladiator games, wild animal hunts and even naval battles were once held here! What child doesn't find those events intriguing? Of note, some exhibits are more child-friendly than others. See what's on before you buy a combined ticket.
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