Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Colosseum - Rome, Italy

The Colosseum - Rome, Italy
The Colosseum - Rome, Italy 

The famous Flavian amphitheatre is one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering. Situated in the centre of Rome, it is a "must see" for most tourists. We visited the Colosseum on a walking tour which also included the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. The tour itself was not very good but we did get an opportunity to walk around the Colosseum on our own at the end.

Read on for more info.

The Colosseum photographed from the Forum - Rome, Italy
The Colosseum photographed from the Forum - Rome, Italy

The building was started by Vespasian, inaugurated by Titus in 80 A.D. and completed by Domitian. The Colosseum was used to hold gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, executions and re-enactments of battles. It was later used for housing, workshops and even a christian shrine. The tiers of the Colosseum were able to seat 50,000 spectators around the arena.

Inside the Colosseum - Rome, Italy
Inside the Colosseum - Rome, Italy

Below the wooden floor of the arena was a complex network of rooms, passageways and lifts used to move wild animals from their cages into the arena. The walls which support tiers of seats, passageways and stairways radiate out from the arena. Three tiers of arcades ring the outer edge of the building linking numerous stairways and facilitating the efficient movement of a large number of people. A canopy was suspended form the roof to provide shade. 

Exterior of the Colosseum - Rome, Italy
Exterior of the Colosseum - Rome, Italy

The arches on the ground floor were numbered to allow easy access to seats (some of the number are still visible). Boxes were provided on the North and South sides of the arena for the Emperor and the Vestal Virgins (these were the best seats). Flanking these boxes was reserved seating for the Senators. Some of their names can still be seen carved into the stone. The level above this was occupied by the non senatorial noble class. Ordinary Roman citizens occupied next level up. This level was further divided into two sections for the wealthy and the poor. Gravediggers, actors and former gladiators were banned from the Colosseum.

The Colosseum - Rome, Italy
The Colosseum - Rome, Italy

Outside the amphitheatre stood the Colossus of Nero, a giant bronze statue measuring 30m in height. After the death of Nero the statue was modified to depict the sun god. The statue was last mentioned in the 4th century and only the foundations of the pedestal exist today. It may have been destroyed during the sack of Rome in 410 or in one of the earthquakes that occurred during the 5th century.  

The Colosseum - Rome, Italy
The Colosseum - Rome, Italy

These images were captured with a Canon 7D and the 24-105mm lens. A tripod was used for all the night shots and a circular polariser was used for the others. It was a bit difficult to get a clear shot of the building in the night with cars driving past so I decided to include them in the frame.
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