10 Colosseum Facts

If we talk about the Colosseum, it comes immediately into your mind the indisputable symbol of Rome and one of the most representative monuments in Italy and also one of the most admired all over the world. Famous for its majesty and for its important historic and archaeological value, everyone wants to see it and experience a journey back in time.

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

But do you know everything about this impressive monument?

Here are 10 Colosseum facts you might not know:

  1. There was a very long ceremony:

The construction of the great Colosseum didn’t take a long time, it started in 72AD and finished only 2 years and 9 months later. In 80AD it was inaugurated by the roman emperor Tito. But what is the interesting thing? Well, the ceremony of inauguration lasted 100 days and during the opening ceremony about 5000 wild beast were killed. What a start!

  1. One of the 7 wonders of the modern world:

Since 1980, the Colosseum became part of the Unesco heritage site but you might not know that in July 7th 2007 it was also nominated as part of the 7 wonders of the modern world. The 4th most voted monument, it took part of the list with the Great Wall of China, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, the Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, the Ruins of Machu Picchu in Perù, the Pyramids in Chichén Itzà Mexico and the Taj Mahal in India.

  1. The Colosseum as a swimming pool?:

Yes! The Colosseum had been used also as a swimming pool where representations of battleships (called Naumachie) were held. The arena was entirely filled with water and it took at least 7 hours to do it. It was possible to fill the arena with water because there weren’t cages and cells in the undergrounds yet that’s why the representations of Naumachie were not many but the few represented left the spectators astounded that historians wrote a lot of documents about them.

  1. The Velarium:

To repair people from the sun and light rain, it was created a giant tent composed of 80 big triangular canvas. It was sustained by more than 300 supporting ropes. In this way a draft refreshed the spectators and let them enjoy better the games. Still today you can admire some of the restant parts used for the supports. Just imagine how genious the Romans were!

  1. Like a jungle:

Inside the Colosseum there are about 350 different plant species among which there are some with an exotic origin. The plants were born spontaneously, maybe transported by the people or the animals coming from foreign countries or because of the microclimate present inside the monument. All its incredible history told by these plants!

Inside the Colosseum

Inside the Colosseum

  1. 1st elevator of the history:

The arena and undergrounds were connected with a system of freight elevator. It was used to conduct the animals to the arena (sometimes more than 10 at a time) or to change rapidly the sand and the scenography. There were 80 systems of freight elevator and each was activated by 4 slaves. The mechanism was based on the load applied by the slaves on the pole which, with its rotation, activated the system of ropes and weights.

  1. Seats arrangement:

With its enormous dimensions, the Colosseum can host more than 50.000 people. The ticket entrance was free for everyone but how were they arranged once inside? All the seats were divided based on the social class. This division was already regulated at the time of the emperor Augusto and it was guaranteed by inscriptions on the steps indicating the different social classes. Starting from the senators (the nearest to the arena), knights, public guests and so street up to the most distant places destined to the plebs.

  1. A day at the Colosseum:

The day of the games used to start the evening before when the “editor” (who organized the games) offered to the gladiators a dinner, open also to the public. The morning the fighters inaugurated the day unthreading in the amphitheater with weapons rich and decorated. Then some fights between animals or animals and humans. At lunch, those condemned to death were executed and in the afternoon, the main attraction of the day:  duels between gladiators.

  1. The 7th door to hell:

    During the tour

    During the tour

Probably called like this because of the innumerable people dead during the games. There are also some legends that increase the sinister side of the monument. For example that the amphitheatre was used as a place for the sacrificial rites during which the blood of the killed gladiators was used or that wizards used the picked herbs inside the Colosseum for their potions.

  1. To live inside the Colosseum?

Have you ever thought about living inside the Colosseum? Well, it happened in the past, exactly in the XIII century inside the amphitheatre was built the residence of the Roman family of Frangipane. Later on, the monument kept on being inhabited up to its rediscovery as an artistic good in the XIX century. During the fascism, instead, many proposed to the Duce to use the ample space to build a luxury hotel. Fortunately, it was refused and the Colosseum remained the symbol of the Roman Empire.

Join our Easy Entrance Colosseum and Vittoriano Tour and experience the rich history of the Colosseum!