“Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?” This might be the most recognizable quote from the movie Gladiator which one the Academy Award for best picture 20 years ago. Even though it may be considered a bit dated when you are standing in the middle of the Colosseum it was the first thing that came to mind. Speaking of old tough, forget about two decades – the Colosseum was built nearly 2,000 years ago and for the part that still stands – having withstood a number of earthquakes – it is an engineering marvel.
Not only famed because it is still standing but also because of how quickly it was able to be built. Duomo in Florence took more than 100 years to build and this was erected from stone and concrete in only eight years but when you have tens of thousands of slaves on a project, it cane work faster. The massive structure was used for a variety of events but the most famous were the games put on by the emperors and free or all ancient Romans.
With masks on, on our visit we maintained social distancing as we toured the 12-story amphitheatre with our private guide. As I mentioned in our Florence post, we were supposed to be on a group tour but due to the limited number of tourists in Italy due to COVID, it ended up being a private tour. I have not seen any of the stats but I would imagine there were only a fraction of the usual four million visitors last year but it was truly unique to see the vastness without too many other tourists. I had been before but our guide on this trip paid special attention to explain the inter-workings of the games, especially the entertainment elements. I was surprised to learn there were 36 trap doors for special effects, the floor is partially uncovered now so you an see these passage ways. They were used not only for gladiators but for big animals all from all over the Roman empire (think lions tigers, rhinos, crocodiles, and bears) Take a look:
Have you ever been to the Colosseum?