9 AMAZING FACTS ABOUT THE COLOSSEUM

9 Amazing Facts About The Colosseum

The Colosseum is no doubt one of the most recognisable monuments on the planet. It has also been named one of the Seven Wonders of the modern world and is UNESCO protected. Today, millions of visitors set foot on its grounds and explore the ruins of Ancient Rome. The Colosseum, also referred to as the Flavian Amphitheatre represents not only historical significance having stood for over two millennia but also an archaeological treasure which reminds us all of the glory of the Roman Empire.

Below are 9 amazing facts about the Colosseum

1. Rome Colosseum was built in less than ten years

The Colosseum was built on the former site of the Domus Aurea which was the name of the palace Emperor Nero built. He had built a giant man-made lake, and after his suicide, Emperor Vespasian decided to remove Nero’s lake and build an arena to entertain to the citizens of Rome and show to them, that the land equally belonged to them to unlike the previous cruel rule of Nero. Emperor Vespasian was able to build the momentous structure in under ten years through Jewish slaves, who were brought in the hundreds of thousands after the defeat of Judea (Jerusalem). Vespasian died before the completion of the Colosseum and his son Emperor Titus witnessed its completion.

2. 100 days of celebration to mark the completion of the Colosseum

The Colosseum was built on the former site of the Domus Aurea which was the name of the palace Emperor Nero built. He had built a giant man-made lake, and after his suicide, Emperor Vespasian decided to remove Nero’s lake and build an arena to entertain to the citizens of Rome and show to them, that the land equally belonged to them to unlike the previous cruel rule of Nero. Emperor Vespasian was able to build the momentous structure in under ten years through Jewish slaves, who were brought in the hundreds of thousands after the defeat of Judea (Jerusalem). Vespasian died before the completion of the Colosseum and his son Emperor Titus witnessed its completion.

3. Colosseum materials used for other buildings

There was a period in history when the Colosseum was left to decay. As such, raw materials were unashamedly taken from the site to be reused to build other buildings being constructed such as Barberini Palace and Peter’s Basilica. It is believed some of the marble comes from the abandoned Colosseum. Historians believe that a third of the Colosseum has disappeared and its original site is different than what we see today – bare walls among ruins stripped off its beauty.

4. Hundreds of species of plants

In the 1850s, botanist Richard Deakin researched the plants in the Colosseum and discovered about 400 species of plants. Due to the unique atmosphere inside and untouched by the surroundings outside, a variety of plants and flowers have been discovered growing in the unique environment. At the last count, there are still about 200 species of plants today.

5. Rare performances by musicians

With the backdrop like the Colosseum, it would be a once-in-a-lifetime feat for any musician to perform there. 2011 was the year that the Flavian Amphitheater came alive with the performance of Biagio Antonacci, one of the most successful of Italian pop singers. It was soon followed up by performances from Andrea Bocelli, a world-renowned Italian tenor famous for blending pop and opera music and Nicola Piovani a musician who won the Oscar in 1998 for the Best Original Dramatic Score for the movie, Life is beautiful. Paul McCartney and Elton John have also been very fortunate to perform in these surroundings.

6. Advocacy for life

In 1948, capital punishment was abolished in Italy. In 2000, the Colosseum took centerstage as several protests were held to abolish capital punishment at the front entrance. Since then, the Colosseum which is customarily lit up each evening in white light changes colour to gold when anywhere on the planet, a prisoner is released, their sentence commuted, or the death penalty has been abolished.

7. Hell, Hath No Fury – Door to Hell

Due to the gladiatorial blood sport, it was believed that the souls of the gladiators could not rest in peace. As such, it was considered to be one of the seven gates of hell. Also, it was believed that with the practice of witchcraft, plants and herbs were collected for black magic. Despite this belief, the Colosseum has stood the test of time and shown the world its might glory and triumphant feats of engineering and technology in its construction.

8. The Colosseum is the most popular attraction in Rome

According to the latest report by the Ministero dei Beni e della Attivita’ Culturali e del Turismo (MIBACT) in 2019, the top attraction is the Colosseum with more than 7.5 million visitors! It was followed by the second most popular attraction being the Uffizi Galleries attracting about 4.4 million visitors. With plenty of tour operators, online bookings, and special days where the Colosseum is free entry, there is no doubt; the Colosseum will remain one of the top attractions of Rome for many years to come.

9. Free Entrance

With a seating capacity of 50,000-80,000 spectators, it was FREE ENTRY! Spectators were given tickets, not paper tickets, but shards of pottery which was numbered. They then took their seats depending on their social standing in society. The poorer you were, the higher floor you were assigned to. There were 76 numbered entrances for spectators to enter through, and due to the ingenious construction, the amphitheatre could fill up and empty in 15 minutes.

10. The Importance Of The Hypogeum

Ever wondered where the animals and gladiators appeared from to perform on the arena? They were not brought from side doors, but there was an underground world, call the Hypogeum which was built by the young son of Emperor Vespasian, Emperor Domitian. It was underground and had a maze of tunnels and passages. This was to house the animals and gladiators and was like a modern-day backstage, except this was underground. There were special trap doors that when released, would lift animals and gladiators much to the delight and surprise of the spectators.

To discover more about the Colosseum and learn more about the secrets which lie within, book your Rome Guided Tour today and see why 7.5 million visitors have made this the top attraction in Rome.