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The Colosseum


One of the highlights for me personally on this visit to Rome was going to the Colosseum. It is definitely an item off my bucket list.  To me places like this are not just old buildings, they are much more than just old dusty real estate that is built for the convenience of tourists.

Just inside the main entrance 

On the day that we ventured out into the beauty of Rome, the sun was out and it was hot. The concierge at our hotel told us that the Colosseum was only a short walk from the hotel, wo my daughter and I took him at his word and set off for the grand old wonder. We walked for about a half an hour, this included a stop to purchase some cigars, and we arrived at our destination.

To say that it was busy would be an understatement. The area around the Colosseum was packed with tourists, tour sellers, trinket sellers and tour operators.  We stopped for a moment and surveyed the scene and noticed that the line up outside the Colosseum was about 3 hours long. this was confirmed when I asked some of the folks standing in line. So Jenna and I had a little conference. I asked her if she wanted to wait in the line, and not surprisingly she said that was not something that she was interested in doing. So we agreed to see if one of the tour operators could get us in faster.

Jenna waiting for the tour to start

I found and operator that looked honest enough as far as possible scammers go and entered into a bit of a discussion to arrange the price. I asked him how fast we would get in if I purchased a tour, he replied about  minutes. To Jenna this was way more acceptable than the 3 hours.

True to his word the tour operator had us inside the old building within 20 minutes. we also passed the hour long line inside the Colosseum that streamed from the ticket window. So altogether it would have been a four hour wait to enter this attraction. In my book it was  euros well spent.

In the foot steps of  Emperors

Upon getting past the lineup and the ticket booth we entered what would have been the main entrance that was used by the emperors of the Roman Empire. For me it was truly an awe inspiring moment to walk in the same places that echoed through time. If you have ever have the good fortune of traveling with me you will find that I need to come into physical contact with the things and place that I see. It makes them more real, and in my mind connects me to history itself, no matter how small a part I play. There are two gift shops on site and wide range of items to purchase from the very cheap to the very expensive.

My daughter and I stood where the ruling elite of the roman empire decided the life and death of literally hundreds of thousands of souls that were caught up this industrialized mechanism of death. When you see the floor of the Colosseum or rather the lack of a floor you can see the rows of pens and cells that housed man and beast. The Colosseum or the Flavian Amphitheater as it is also known was the largest amphitheater of the Roman Empire. Construction was begun in the year 70 AD under the direction of Emperor Vespasian and completed in 80 AD by Emperor Titus. It is estimated that it could hold between 50000 and 80000 spectators and was used for everything from plays to mach sea battles.

This old structur was in use all the way up to the early Middle Ages and later re-purposed as housing, work shops and a fortress just to name a few. In its current form the Colosseum still bares the scares from devastating earthquake, stone robbers and wreck-less tourists that like to carve their graffiti into the ancient stone.
I f you are a lover of history as I am I recommend a visit to this grand old wonder. It is worth the price of admission even on the free days. 

P.s. A small bit of travel intell. The tour operators make more money on the free days than they do on the regular admission days, simply because of the sheer volume of tourists that flock to the most popular attraction in Rome next to the Vatican.

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