Oh how I miss Roma. It is such a gorgeous city with so much to see and do. Of course, high on that list is the Colosseum. My fascination with the Colosseum started young. In my early years of middle school we had to make a model of a famous piece of architecture. My partner and I were assigned the Colosseum. My grandpa and I painstakingly cut little individual “windows” out of a foam board, drew countless details, glued little plastic zoo animals to the base; where was my partner in all of this? No where to be found. Anyhow, we both got an A; it was one of those early life lessons on how life is not fair. I digress.
Ever since working on my little foam board Colosseum for what felt like a century I wondered how such an architectural masterpiece was built so long ago. Built between 70 AD and 80 AD, the Colosseum is still the largest amphitheater in the world. The outside wall of the Colosseum was 100,000 cubic meters of travertine stone which was set without mortar. Over the centuries, due to damage from earthquakes, looters, etc. the outer wall is gone. When you look at the present day Colosseum, you are actually looking at the inner wall.
Over the years, the Colosseum has seen so much bloodshed. Holding up to 80,000 spectators, the Colosseum was home to gladiatorial games, animal hunts, and sea battles. Elaborate displays were built that included moveable buildings and trap doors. For the sea battles the entire floor of the Colosseum was actually filled with water. For the animal hunts, exotic creatures were brought in, often from Africa to face a grisly death. Gladiators fought to the death before cheering crowds. Man truly always has had an eerie interest in the macabre and gruesome.
When you walk around the remnants of the Colosseum and take in the beautiful and skillful architecture it is so easy to forget the horrendous things that took place within its walls. If those walls could talk they would produce the best horror movie this world has ever seen. Pure evil and violence as people slaughtered each other before cheering crowds. Men slashing scared and ferocious animals before the emperor. How fascinating, yet sickening.
When I was there I was surprised by the vegetation that grows around the Colosseum. It is full of greenery and life. We even found a stray cat laying in the sun, soaking up attention from everyone who would lean down to scratch him. The Colosseum is only a shell of what it once was, given a second chance as a beautiful piece of history.
As you walk through the stone passageways that are growing with unexpected life, you forgive the past of this place and embrace its present and its future as a staple in Rome.
If you ever go to Rome, you obviously have to go to the Colosseum. It’s a piece of ancient history that has been well preserved. The architecture is astounding and the stories within the walls are dark and fascinating. You can find information about visiting here.