Having been to ~50 cities, towns and villages in Italy, I was wondering – “What should my first blog post be about?”… and then I thought, “What better than writing about the very reason I first visited this lovely country for – The Colosseum!”
Or, as you may call it in Italian – Colosseo!
As a 15 year old teenager who was fascinated about the Colosseum ever since she’d studied about the Roman civilasation, and fantasised about visiting it at least once in her lifetime, what can I tell you about it that does it justice?!
I’d just say, magnificence and grandeur are understatements to describe the Colosseum. Just imagine the largest amphitheatre in the world hosting the fights between gladiators, wherein you’re one of the 80000 spectators cheering and hooting! Awesome, isn’t it?!
Cut to today, when you’re visiting Rome for the first time and as every history or architecture lover or being a plain tourist – you’re visiting The Colosseum – one of the 7 wonders of the world. What do you see? In spite of having 80 entrances to the Colosseum, you see yourself waiting outside in the queue for 1.5 hours, just to get in. through one of the handful of the entrances now open for entry with tickets. When you eventually do get in with the little remnants of your energy, you see yourself in this magnificent structure immersed in the crowdsyou see yourself in this magnificent structure immersed in the crowds, where everybody is trying to take the perfect instagram shot. In the midst of all that, when you blink your eyes you can feel 80000 spectators around you and hear them cheering.
Now now, if you’re neither a noble in the Roman era nor a Kardashian of today with special entry privileges then here’s a hack to save your energy for the perfect gram without drilling a hole in your pocket with those expensive tours. Buy a combination ticket from the Roman Forum close to the Colosseum; this ticket for about €20 at the Roman Forum entrance allows you free entrance to three remarkable Roman sites – the Colosseum, the Roman Forum & the Palantine Hill. The queues for this at the forum are usually less than 10 minutes long and the queues to the Colosseum for these ticket holders are also usually 20 min long at max.! When I’d bought this ticket, I was wondering if it will be worth my money – and it was. If the Colosseum is the showstopper, then the Roman Forum and the Palantine Hill make the show complete. Due to the cobbled stone floors at many places in these sites and their vast coverage areas, I’d recommend you to best utilise this 2 day validity ticket by splitting your visit into 2 days if your schedule permits – combine the Forum and the Hill for a day and the Colosseum the other day. As one can only enter each site once, and since the Forum and the Hill share an entrance – make sure to visit these together.
For the love of the perfect #gram, I didn’t wear sports shoes on my visit to these sites; and how my feet hurt by the evening. How I wish I was wearing my sports shoes – then walking through those crowds that pour in after 9 AM, would have been much more comfortable. Also, as a first time tourist in Rome and Italy, I wasn’t aware of the generous Roman sun and the clear skies – thus not carrying a bottle of water. And thirsty, I was – while admiring the Colosseum walking all around the amphitheatre, on a scorching Easter Saturday. Through all of this, I could just soak in the beauty, wonder, magnificence and charm that the Flavian Amphitheatre, a.k.a The Colosseum of today exudes – in spite of the centuries of abandonment and years of plunder that it once endured. And all that came to my mind was – yes, The Colosseum deserves to be a wonder that it is today! Rome wasn’t built in a day – but to build The Colosseum in mere 10 years (72-80 AD) in those times – you Romans were geniuses!
Having visited the Colosseum a couple of times during the day, I wondered how it’d look at night, minus the crowds. And my wish did come true when the amphitheatre finally opened its doors at night for guided tours through the months of April to October. As the crowds are a select few that take the 45 min – 1,5 hours long guided tours, I got ample time to admire the well lit Colosseum at a relaxed pace while learning about it’s fun facts from the guide and even walking through the arena floor and hypogeum. This time around picturing myself as a gladiator ready with his armour whilst he’s just about to go up the arena for a fight and beat down his opponent! Bonus – I got the best possible view of the Arch of Constantine, where the Arc de Triomphe of Paris derived it’s inspiration from. Having seen the Colosseum through the day and the night, I liked it’s view more in the daylight, but enjoyed it more minus the crowds at night.
To sum it up, all I can say is – no matter what time of the day or the season of the year you’re visiting – The Colosseum is spellbinding, mesmerising and timeless just like it’s eternal city – Rome, and well worth a visit.