The Colosseum, Rome

The Colosseum is easily one of the most recognisable landmarks in Italy. Outlined against blue skies, it looms over Piazza del Colossel, imposing and inviting in equal measures. Home to gladiatorial games, the Colosseum’s history is steeped in blood.

The amphitheater is a huge structure, capable of holding around 50,000 – 87,000 people and widely known for displays of public combat and slaughter of gladiators and animals for public entertainment. It’s one of those places that you absolutely have to visit if you are in Rome and Wandering Beeb’s love of all things resembling Roman ruins meant that it was one of the first places on our hit list when we arrived in Italy.

We had booked on to the evening tour in advance and paid the extra fee to take a trip down to the bottom floors, which aren’t always included on the standard visit. It’s well worth booking ahead as you get to skip some of the line (which can be fairly long) and are guaranteed a place on the limited evening tour.

One of the lower floors of the Colosseum

Inside, the structure feels bigger than its outside appearance and it’s much easier to make comparisons to more modern arenas, imagining crowds of people gathered to watch the latest entertainment.

From the bottom of the arena floor, looking up created a feeling of dizziness as each layer of the structure twisted away towards the sky. The layers underneath the main performance area were a warren of corridors, lined by the ruins of the cages where fighters and animals were held until their time on the arena floor. It was a very different view from the top of the arena, with huge arches creating a stunning silhouette.

The underground section for fighters and animals at the Colosseum

We learned on the tour that they flooded the arena on occasion to stage boat shows and battles – something I wasn’t aware of. It must have been an incredible site to watch – imagine that happening in an arena in today’s time – it would take huge mechanics to make that happen!

The tour was well organised and gave us plenty of time to wander round the ruins. Standing on the top floor, we could see over to the ruins of the Roman fort, giving a helicopter view of the site.

Inside the Colosseum

Today, the arena is sometimes used for concerts and opera performances. Unfortunately, on the day we went, there were no performances taking place, although it’s something that we’d definitely go back to see.

Tickets into the Colosseum can be booked here. An entrance ticket and the underground tour usually cost around £25 per person.