Colosseum

Italy

The Colosseum is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of RomeItaly, just east of the Roman Forum and is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built, and is still the largest standing amphitheater in the world today, despite its age.

The Colosseum is built of travertine limestone, tuff (volcanic rock), and brick-faced concrete. The Colosseum could hold an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 spectators at various points of its history over the centuries, having an average audience of some 65,000; it was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles (for only a short time as the hypogeum was soon filled in with mechanisms to support the other activities), animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Roman mythology.

The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.

It is one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions and also has links to the Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torchlit “Way of the Cross” procession that starts in the area around the Colosseum.[

The Colosseum is also depicted on the Italian version of the five-cent euro coin.

Probably the most famous monument in the world, the Flavian Amphitheater is known as the Colosseum for the colossal bronze statue of Nero which, in the 2nd century AD, stood a few meters from it.

Wanted by the emperor Vespasian, and finished by his son Titus in 80 AD, the building was intended for fighting, games between gladiators ( munera ) and simulations of hunting wild and exotic animals ( venationes ).

The exterior is made up of four superimposed architectural orders: the first three are made up of eighty arches framed by half-columns, while the fourth order is divided into squares interspersed with windows. In the last order, masonry and wooden supports were inserted to support an immense tarpaulin ( velarium ) which served to shelter the spectators from the sun and rain.

Inside ( cavea ) there were brick tiers covered in marble. The arena was made with a large wooden board covered with sand. In the basement there was a dense series of tunnels in which the beasts were kept and the props and hoists were kept.

In some periods of the year it is possible to descend into the belly of the monument, in the most well-known environments that still retain the conditions in which they were at the end of the 5th century AD, when they were buried. Since then they have not undergone any tampering due to subsequent uses, as happened for the elevated part of the Amphitheater.

Two thousand years of age but the Colosseum always remains the symbol of the eternal city, attracting thousands of visitors every year.

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