Walking off the metro stop, out into daylight, with the Coloseum right there in your face was an unforgettable experience. Pretty unreal. In fact, the whole time I was there I sort of couldn’t believe it. How many movies have I seen and books have a read that focus on the Coloseum…quite a few. So to actually be there was awesome. At the same time, I was overcome with how many people and animals died there. I think our guide said, 4,000 humans, both slaves and gladiators (although only about 9% were gladiators) and 11,000 animals. My mom had booked us on the sub-level tour and the 4th level as well, which you have to do ahead of time, and it was well worth it. However, as we were standing underground and the guide was describing how there were tons of slaves working underneath the arena during a fight, and sand and blood would be falling down on them from above, I got so nauseous and had to excuse myself. I get really affected by that type of thing (plus I had a few drinks the night before, but it was more the story than anything else). I left with a feeling of awe and sadness.
See all the holes on the building, it’s where marble used to be attached, so it was an even more spectacular sight. As I mentioned in my Vatican post, they reused a lot of the Coloseum’s marble in Vatican construction. Ironic, no?
View from the sub-level. Now, imagine there being a wooden floor overhead with sand on top falling through the cracks. And then human or animal blood dripping on you, and you cannot escape it. Intense.
You can see in this photo that they built a little bit of the wooden floor overhead so one can get the feel of what it was like.
View from the 4th level of the Roman Forum and Palentine Hill.
Arch of Constantine from 4th level
The guide said that this one in particular was probably some kid writing the name of his favorite gladiator.
Arch of Constantine from street level
Julius Cesar’s grave at the Roman Forum