The Colliseum took 30 000 slaves to build, the project starting between 70 and 72 AD and being completed in 80 AD, initiated by the emperor Vespasian and completed under Titus. With a seating capacity of 50 000 on three tiers – bottom seats of marble, middle seats of limestone and top seats of wood – it is the biggest Roman Colliseum built, albeit not the best preserved.
The main use was for gladiator contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. Spectators were given tickets in the form of numbered pottery shards, which directed them to their section and row. The Colliseum could be vacated within 20 minutes! There were shops that sold food and memorabilia such as small statues and free flowing water fountains for all.
This view shows the hypogeum or underground area which was connected by tunnels and here the gladiators, animals etc were held. The arena itself was 83 meters by 48 meters and was made of wood, with the surface covered in sand – or “Arena” which is Latin for sand, which could soak up the blood.
We took an English Guide for our visit, and I do recommend this not only to enhance the experience but also to avoid the queues.
One of the arched walkaways to the seats …