on July 1, 2012
Although there were other things that I wanted to see while I was in Rome, the Colosseum was definitely at the very top of my list. The Colosseum is probably the best known attraction in Rome, next to maybe The Vatican, and I couldn’t wait to see it up close. As this was something that my boyfriend and I was so excited to see, we booked tickets for a tour well in advance with www.tickitaly.com. Our tickets cost around £30 each and they consisted of a three hour tour with added access to lower and upper levels which you cannot see with a regular ticket. Our tour guide met us across the road from the Colosseum and soon began our tour. Deborah, the guide, spoke really good English and was extremely knowledgeable so I couldn’t recommend using this tour service highly enough. == Getting There ==Getting to the Colosseum is incredibly easy. Right across the street from the building itself is the Colosseo Metro stop which is on the blue B line. We had to use the red A line first and swap over at Termini but this wasn’t a problem at all. Using the metro is super simple and easy to follow. From the Termini stop, it will only take about 5 minutes to get to the Colosseum. There are also bus stops outside and taxis will be able to take you there although they will be extremely expensive in comparison to the bus or metro. == Opening Times and Prices == The Colosseum is open from 9am each day apart from Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Closing times vary depending on the time of the year but from March to October, closing times are roughly somewhere between 6 and 7:30pm. If you don’t want to go in the soaring heat then going later in the day is a good choice. General admission will cost €15.50 although this does not grant you access to any of the extra areas. If you have a Roma Pass, this attraction is free and you can skip the queues completely by using a machine at the front of the entrance. Also, if you visit Palatine Hill and The Roman Forum first, paying €12 for a ticket, this will also gain you admission to the Colosseum. == History == Something that I didn’t know before the tour was that before the Colosseum was built, the area used to be an artificial lake which housed sea and naval battles. The original name of the Colosseum is the Flavian Amphitheatre but was changed due to locals associating it with the huge statue placed outside. The actual construction of the Colosseum began in 72AD and was completed in only 8 short years. The Colosseum was originally used for Gladiator games, animal hunts, public executions and for performing dramas. Once the building had been completed with the four different seating levels, it could hold 73,000 spectators. == My Experience == As soon as I got even close to this building, I was completely blown away. The sheer size of the building was extremely impressive, even with large chunks of the walls being missing. From standing outside, I was able to get some really amazing photos which I was so pleased about and it only made me more excited to see the inside. I think that if we hadn’t have gone on a guided tour, I wouldn’t have had a clue about what I was looking at or experiencing. Inside the Colosseum really does look just like a bunch of old ruins. As you enter the building, you first come to the small stage. The original stage has been destroyed and a small one has been put in its place so that you can get a feel for what it would have been like and also so that you can see down into the lower levels. Here, our guide explained all about the four levels of seating and who was allowed to sit where. I would have loved to have been able to see the building when it was whole and to be able to imaging so many people sitting in the seats. Next on our tour was the lower levels. This, for me, was the most impressive part of the Colosseum and the reason why I paid for a tour. This section is off limits for people with regular tickets so another staff member followed us around unlocking gates and doors for us as we went. Down in the lower levels, it was explained that this was where the Gladiators, animals and slaves were kept. We were shown all about how the cages and trap doors were used back in the day and how they were the Roman’s versions of elevators which was extremely impressive. The lower levels were dark, a little damp and quite crowded so I can only imagine what it would have been like with so many people being down there at one time. After the lower levels, we were taken up to the second level, then the third level of the seating areas. The fourth level is nearly non-existent now so it wasn’t possible for us to go up there. However, the third levels give insane views of the Roman Forum, the Arch of Constantine and the interior of the Colosseum itself. From here, you could see so much and really get a feel for what it would have felt like to have been sat up there watching the games. Our tour guide gave us as much history and information as she could along the way, even explaining to us how Gladiators would have been killed if they were granted mercy. Some parts of the tour were a bit gory because of pictures and descriptions but I loved this. == Overall == Although the Colosseum can be expensive if you pay for a tour, the extra money spent is well worth it. With our tour, we also got a small guided tour of the Roman Forum which was a nice extra that I didn’t know about. This is one of the most impressive buildings that I have ever seen and is definitely a must see if you are in Rome. If you don’t visit this, you must be mad!
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