Originally named Anfiteatro Flavio after the Roman emperors Vespasian (who commissioned the Coliseum to be built in 72 AD) and Titus’ (who completed the amphitheatre in 80 AD) family name, the Colosseum is the most recognizable landmark in Rome, as it is the largest amphitheatre built during the Roman Empire.
Through the years, and through numerous earthquakes, what’s left of the Colosseum continues to be restored so that tourists can still feel like they are part of the spectators of a play, or a match between gladiators.
More than the public seating, I’m more enthralled by the hypogeum, the underground tunnels where the slaves and animals used to be housed. If you have seen the movie Gladiator and remember the pivotal scene before Russel Crowe’s character was about to go into battle, you can understand that the story happens right underneath our feet.
The Colosseum has the best view of the Arch of Constantine, to commemorate the emperor during a victory back in the days. The detail in the arches show the Via Trumphalis, telling stories of emperors arriving Rome triumphant from their battles.
Many tourists get discouraged by the fake gladiators and souvenir stalls, as well as the long lines, to go inside and prefer to appreciate the Colosseum from the outside, but having a little patience pays off as you get to imagine the Roman Empire era in all its glory in the middle of the action.