This week, we’re looking at W for World Famous locations.
(It was going to be W for Winter – but we actually don’t have many winter images because we tend to travel in autumn or spring ..)
Today’s image is, of course, of the ruins of the Amphitheatrum Flavium – better known to us as The Colosseum.
But here’s the thing – The Colossus that the Colosseum was named for no longer exists. It was a giant statue of Nero – later remodelled to feature the faces of other emperors, or Apollo, or Helios.
But there’s no trace of that statue any more, apart from the plinth on which it stood. (Ozymandias, anyone? 🙂 )
The Colosseum, on the other hand, still stands – bloodied, but unbowed as it were.
if you travel to the Eternal City, you just have to go to the Colosseum at least once – it is amazing in its decaying grandeur.
Built during the era of the Flavian emperors (hence its alternate name, the Flavian Ampitheatre), the Colosseum is the largest structure of its type and regularly housed 65,000 spectators to its games – Gladiatorial battles, animal hunts, executions .. even mock sea battles at one stage, when the entire ground space was flooded.
But its below the surface that we see how amazing the Colosseum was.
Today, the surface is missing and we can see the ‘hypogeum’ (literally “underground”) … a series of passages, rooms, cages, storage facilities and more.
Above this was a wooden floor covered with sand … in fact, the Latin for sand is harena – and that’s where our word for Arena comes from.
Tens of thousands of people visit the Colosseum each year – and many go either as part of guided tours, or with recorded audio guides – well worth the (small) cost, because otherwise it’s just a confusing jumble of rocks 🙂