The view from in front of the Colosseum's entrance.
The Colosseum, photo by Lucas Finzi
Lucas across from the Colosseum.
Crowds trying to get up close to the edge for a photo op.
A fresco on display in the Colosseum: Pondering who to bet on?
Last remaining stadium seating.
The inner side of the Colosseum wall.
Roman "Gladiators": They'll come on strong if you take a picture of them or with them and don't cough up 20 Euros.
Today, our last full day in Rome, we finally went to see ancient Rome... this morning, the Colosseum. We radio taxied to the Palatine Hill because ticket lines are very short compared to the huge lines at the colosseum. We'd get tickets there (good for the colosseum, forum and Palatine Hill) and go back to Palatine later. I showed my handicapped card and asked about elevators and it turned out that the admission was free... free for Lucas because of his age, free for me because of the handicap and for Lisa because they allow one person accompanying me. This is one thing Italy got right... especially considering it's not the most accessible place in the world.
We walked up to the massive structure and were awestruck by its size and the fact it stood so many centuries. The crowds were getting bigger by the minute, but we skipped long ticket line because we already had tickets. The walk to the disabili elevator was halfway around... it took us up to the second level... good enough for great views of the arena.
Lucas and I loved all the interesting brick patterns. I was fascinated by all the entrances and stairways around the perimeter. All modern sports arenas are based on the Colosseum... designed to efficiently move thousands of people in or out safely and quickly. An interesting fact is that the Popes stripped the Colosseum of its marble and travertine to build many Roman Catholic monuments, including St. Peters Basilica. It was also fun picturing the battles, but we agreed it was pretty horrific to think of up to 70,000 people chanting for someone to be killed, while they were eating, drinking and betting. A walk around took more than an hour taking pics along the way. The small museum inside had some pretty good displays and artifacts. The crowds were sometimes a bit pushy but all in all it was better than most tourist sites in Rome. ZThe exits are no longer like a stadium... they make you walk around the entire circumference to a single exit.
One curious thing: The Colosseum area seemed to have more kitchey hawkers trying to sell all sorts of junk. I'm not really talking about the carts... they hire guys to roam around the crowds to pitch their wares. One of the more popular gizmos: Selfie sticks for smart phones. Who knew.
Afterwards we had tourist pizzas across the street from the Colosseum. It was an affordable lunch with one of the best views in town. The thing I don't like about these tourist restaurants is the way the waiters hawk the people walking by--in English, of course--to entice them into having lunch at their place rather than the similar place next door. They typically hire young pretty girls or handsome guys to engage in flirtatious methods of getting people to take a table. (It was the same in other tourist spots, like Camp di Fiori). After lunch, it was onward to the Palatine Hill.
In the end, the Colosseum was one of the more enjoyable visits in Rome.
An amazing mosaic on display inside the Colosseum. This place must have been incredibly beautiful and frightening at the same time.