"As long as the Coliseum lasts, so, too, will Rome. When the Coliseum falls, Rome will fall with it", augurs an eighth-century prediction. Rome has not fallen, and more than 1,900 years after its construction, the amphitheatre still stands at the full height, an enormous structure of cut stones, a continuation of the Roman Forum.
The colossal Coliseum was reserved for the barbaric and cruel pleasures of the circus games; you will feel small in the presence of its enclosure of four floors with three levels of arcades. It will make you imagine the rows, arches, and the vomitoria (corridors) leading to its summit, where the views of the arena are stunning. Imagine it reddened with the blood of the gladiators and condemned martyrs who perished there, or filled to the brim with water during reconstructions of naval battles.
It is difficult today to imagine the Coliseum as a theatre of violence and when, at dusk, the low sun pierces through the uniform arcades and golden light envelopes the blocks of travertine rock.
Piazza del Colosseo, 1
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