Monday, August 27, 2012

Three Sites at the Coliseum Most People Don't Know About

Overall, Rome was more disappointing than I wanted it to be (it was very touristy, had lots of gypsies and good food was hard to find).  But, I am an ancient world history teacher and was enthralled to see landmarks from thousands of years ago.

The Coliseum, originally called Flavian Amphitheatre, was
finished in 80 A.D.  Frank loved hearing all these random
facts.  And by "love," I mean, "was annoyed by."
Specifically, the Coliseum could not possibly have impressed me more – mainly because we made the best decision to pay extra money for a tour and see three things most people do not.  In my opinion, this was an economical move because we got way more bang for our buck!

You know we're on a tour because of these little intercoms
around our necks.
Frank would never have given me to okay to purchase tickets for a tour, so I did it very quickly so he wouldn’t be the wiser. 

He didn't even know what hit him!
 I had read in some tour guides that you have to book a tour underground online or at least a day in advance – that is not true.  You should have cash though.  I did not and we had to wait a longer line to pay with credit card.  Regular admission to the Coliseum is €12, and that includes entrance to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum as well.  For an extra €8 per person, we went to three spots the average visitor does not, including the hypogeum.

FIRST... People in our tour group were the only ones allowed on this huge platform.


In the distance, you can see all the rest of the tourists crowded onto a little tiny platform on the other side.

See everyone else in the distance?  Haha, suckers!
Our tour company, Pierreci, had an excellent guide.  She was informative, but she also gave us plenty of time to explore on our own.

The only seats left in the Coliseum.  Actually, these were reconstructed,
but all of the seats were taken out after the Coliseum was not in use
anymore.  The seats, along with many other parts of the Coliseum,
were used to build churches else in the Roman Empire.

SECOND – Then it was downstairs to the hypogeum.  

That’s the underground part of the Coliseum where the animals were kept in cages and then raised to the floor to fight with the gladiators.

This may look like nothing, but it was part of the elevator system
used to bring the animals up.  I was incredibly impressed because
it's more than 1,900 years old!
 On the down side, you have to stay in one little roped off area of the hypogeum.  On the up side, it smelled old as well.

THIRD – Our little tour group got to make its way up to the third level.  

You can see everyone else on only the first and
second levels.
 From here, you could not only the entire Coliseum, but most of ancient Rome.

That's the Arch of Constantine in the foreground with Palatine
Hill and the Roman Forum in the background.
Even though the allure of this tour was supposed to be the underground, I was most impressed with being up here, high above the other visitors who didn’t even know we were looking down at one of the most incredible structures in the world.

Another part of the Coliseum where people had
started to dismantle it for materials.

Total Cost: €20/person, about $25

Best Deal: The price also includes admission to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum

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