Colossal Colosseum Tour in Rome

“Oh, the hours I’ve spent inside the Coliseum
Dodging lions and wastin’ time”
-Bob Dlyan, When I Paint My Masterpiece

rome colosseum
I got more views of scaffolding at the Colosseum

On the last full day in Rome, my parents and I set out fairly early to tour the Colosseum. We had purchased our tickets the day before at the Roman Forum — the tickets are valid for 48 hours to enter each site once. Despite not having to wait in the excruciatingly long line in the summer sun to buy tickets, it still took a bit of time to get into the Colosseum. Had we known, we might have tried to get there an hour earlier to avoid such a crowd.

Welcome to the Colosseum, please wait in line to be fed to the lions and hippos
Welcome to the Colosseum, please wait in line to be fed to the lions and hippos

We had walked past the Colosseum numerous times because it wasn’t far from the hotel. I took plenty of photos of it at different times of day, usually when we were most exhausted from walking around Rome. It’s an impressive structure from the outside, but it elicits more of a sense of awe upon entering.

rome colosseum
The Colosseum is pretty big

The Colosseum is enormous, thus the Latin root. It is the inspiration for modern stadiums — the similarities in the design are everywhere, from the the seating to the entrances and exits. Contemporary stadium architects are still utilizing the design of a building that’s almost 2,000 years old.

rome colosseum
How many gladiators died in that basement before fighting for their lives?

If it weren’t for the blazing sun, I would’ve enjoyed just staring at the ruins within the walls. I could’ve watched the throngs of tourists gaze upon the history that epitomizes Rome as a tourist destination

Bas-relief at the Colosseum
Bas-relief at the Colosseum

My mom convinced me to download some of the free mp3s from Rick Steves to add some guidance to our self-guided tour of Rome (I also used some of the mp3s for Florence). I read through the text, which only half downloaded for some reason, and then handed the audio portion to my mom. She was shocked by the commentary about the depravity of Roman society — the numbers of people and animals killed during the entertainment. I was just surprised they didn’t fill in the time between killings with orgies, but I assume that came at night after witnessing all the gore and feasting upon the dead animals. I suppose the concession stands had an endless supply of meat to roast and serve throughout the events.colosseum-entrance

If we could have entered the lower level of the Colosseum, we would have stayed longer. Unfortunately, that area is only accessible on a guided tour — a fact we did not know before arriving. The basement area would have been interesting (and more shaded) — I could have seen the cells in which the gladiators were held before they entered the arena.colosseum-b&w

Have you been to the Colosseum? Did you get a cheesy photo with the plastic armor-clad gladiators?

1 thought on “Colossal Colosseum Tour in Rome”

  1. I have been to the colloseum 3 times and am still in awe from it each time I see it! That area of Rome reminds me of Times Square in NYC. Just so many people gawking and tourist shops! I do love Rick Steves podcasts for self guided tours, I learned a lot of stuff just walking around by myself. I don’t have the patience for guided tours, so doing it on my own was perfect!

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