Colosseo di Roma

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Piazza del Colosseo 1, Roma , Italy

Colosseo di Roma Roma Reviews

spocklogic spocklog…
325 reviews
The Flavian Amphitheatre of Roma Aug 13, 2016
Colosseo di Roma (Coliseum of Rome) is the largest amphitheater of Roma, erected by the Emperor Vespasian during his reign (c. 69-79 AD). The area on which it was built was previously occupied by the artificial lake of the the Domus Aurea palace built by Nero after the great fire in Roma (c. 64 AD). The construction work continued with the Emperor Titus (c. 79-81), but was fully completed in 82 AD under the reign of Emperor Domitian (c. 81-96 AD). Although still incomplete, Colosseo was officially dedicated in 80 AD by Emperor Titus with extended celebration and ceremony and 100 days of spectacle and games.

For a structure with a diameter of 188 meters on the main ellipse, 156 meters for the minor ellipse and a height of the outer ring at 50 meters, the quantity of materials used was enormous: 100,000 cubic meters of travertine and 300 metric tons of iron for linking the blocks. There are 4 levels to the outer wall, the first 3 composed of arches interspersed with half columns in the Ionic, Doric and Corithian orders from 1st to 3rd level, respectively. The top level has no arches and just some square windows, though it is the largest level in height at 45 meters. The inner walls are made of volcanic tufa, while the inner bowl and arcade are concrete.

One may notice that Colloseo looks rather pockmarked. The numerous irregular holes, between the joints of the blocks, were dug out in the Middle Ages to recover the iron pins connecting the blocks. The arena inside is missing and what is seen today is the service underground. The reason for this is that the arena floor was made of wood and has long since rotted away. The service underground, called the hypogeum, is an addition under the reign of Domitian. It is estimated that Colosseo could seat 70,000 spectators with 40cm width per spectator and 70cm leg room in 60-80 rows of seats.

The tales of carnage in Colosseo are legendary: 5,000 animals killed in the first 100 days during the celebration of Emperor Titus in 80 AD; 100 bears killed, one after another, by Emperor Commodus in 191 AD; 100 Lions roaring to the death by Emperor Probus in 281 AD, which it is said, made the blood frozen to the silenced spectators. Of course, the gladiatorial battles and naval shows were grand spectacle as well. The last displays of hunting, with reluctant permission of Emperor Theodoric, occurred in 523 AD, although a century before, in 438 AD, the fighting had been mostly abolished. Colosseo then lost its sense of purpose and was abandoned for almost a millennium.

Between the 11th and 13th century, it was converted into a fortress by the Frangipani family, then by the Annibaldi family. In 1244, it was claimed as the property of the Church by Pope Innocent IV, and served to accommodate modest dwellings, small shops and some monasteries. Following some earthquake collapses, especially a major one in 1349, Colloseo became an inexhaustible quarry of building materials, particularly for the travertine, which were used in other structures such as the Basilica of St. Peter, the Palace of Venice, the port of Ripetta, the chancellery building, and various bridges. In 1744, Pope Benedict XIV put an end to the recycling by consecrating it as a sacred site where early Christians were martyred.

In later years it was used as a garbage dump and degrading at an alarming rate. Beginning with Pope Pius VII, it was cleaned out and even restored in several parts. Repairs continued through Pontiffs Leo II and Pius VIII. We have these Popes to thank for saving this grand structure for posterity. Sadly, nearly 2/3 of the original structure is gone, but it is still standing. A complete restoration effort was begun in 1995 for repairing the structure and making it more accessible to visitors. A complete cleaning was begun in 2013 and while it will never look pristine again, it looks mighty good!

There is a famous epigram by Medieval monk Venerable Beda in the 8th century AD:

"As long as Colossus will exist Rome will exist, when Colossus falls so will Roma; when Roma falls so will the world"

Beda was referring to the Colossus of Nero, but may as well refer to the Colosseo as well. Colloseo (Colosseum) comes from Colossus and is the origin of its modern name. The original name was Amphitheatrum Flavium (Flavian Amphitheater). The reason is kind of simple, and it is because it was commissioned and built by the Flavian dynasty of emperors.
Colloseo 2016
Colloseo 2016
Colloseo 2016
Colloseo 2016
12 / 12 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Paulovic says:
Congrats on your featured review, Brian! Well done!
Posted on: Aug 07, 2017
aloneinthecrowd says:
Congrats on your featured review, Brian :) Very informative as always.
Posted on: Aug 06, 2017
spocklogic says:
Since I've seen it on 4 visits over the years, figured I was due for a review and show my shots over time.
Posted on: Aug 06, 2017
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