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11 Flavian Amphitheater facts that you should know

About Rome


The magnificent worldwide famous Flavian amphitheater, best known as Colosseum, is the biggest amphitheater in the world, the most important roman one and the most impressive monument survived from Ancient Rome.

It was inaugurated in AD 80 by emperor Titus with 100 days of plays and after almost 2000 years it is still the undisputed emblem of the city of Rome.

As you learned from book schools or from the movie ‘The Gladiator’ the great amphitheater was used for gladiator fights and public spectacles, animal hunts, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.

Do you want to know a bit more about it? Are you sure you know everything? Discover 11 facts that all of us should know.

  1. The story of its name

    We cannot say exactly why it is called Colosseum. But there are three different thoughts. 

    It has been believed that the name is related to a colossal bronze statue of Nero that was nearby.

    Another thought is that the name is due to its huge dimension. In fact in Italian the word ‘colossal’ means very big.

    Other people linked the name of the amphitheater to some pagan ceremonies. It was recounted that the Colosseum was the main pagan place of the known world. Home to sects of wizards and devil worshipers, it is believed that the ministers after each ceremony used to ask to the public: “Colis Eum?” that means “Do you venerate him?” meaning the devil.

    And you, where do you think its name comes from?

    Colosseum Rome

  2. Record dimension

    Colosseum is an elliptical building measuring 189 meters long and 156 meters wide with a base area of 24,000 m² with a height of more than 48 meters; has over 80 entrances and can accommodate about 50,000 spectators.

  3. No Colosseum no buildings around

    This is because fallen in abandonment, it became a source of building materials and its marble has been used to construct many buildings like St. Peter’s Basilica and Barberini Palace. What is left of Colosseum now it is approximately one-third of the original one.  

  4. The riddle of the jungle

    Would you ever imagined you can find about 350 species of different plants, also plants of exotic origin, growing spontaneously between the ruins of this beautiful piece of history? Experts are studying on it for centuries. 

  5. A kind of a swimming pool

    Some historians recount that thanks to a complex canalization system, the Colosseum had been transformed into a huge outdoor pool to host the “Nauromachie” shows or naval battles. This was possible thanks to the particular position of the monument, where the rainwater and water from Labicano River converged. It seems that it took about seven hours to fill the Arena of the Colosseum. 

    Colosseo Roma

  6. A little party for its launch

    It was built in just 8 years and 9 months and inaugurated with a hundred days of shows. During the opening ceremony over 5000 beasts were killed in one day.

  7. One of the 7 wonders of the modern world

    In addition to being the undisputed symbol of Rome and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Colosseum was added in 2007 to the new 7 wonders of the world. 

  8. A sign against the death penalty

    For the past 15 years its lighting changes from white to golden, every time a death sentence is commuted or canceled anywhere in the world. 

  9. Record of sacrifices

    During the shows, there were fights between animals and between people and animals. Estimations tell that about 500 thousand men and at least one million animals died in it.

  10. The first lifts of history

    To lead the animals from the basement to the Arena, the Romans devised an ingenious system of hoists, capable of transferring even more than ten animals at a time. The same machines were used to change quickly the sand and the scenery.

  11. The Roman engine

    The Colosseum is – like all amphitheater – an open-air theater. How did the people when it was hot to go there to see the battles? Well, Romans were very clever. There was a Velarium that was opened to cover the Colosseum if it was needed.

    And you, how many things of the above didn’t know? Come to discover and experience the Colosseum like a real Gladiator with our Colosseum Tour with Arena entrance!

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