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The Roman Colosseum, One of the New 7 Wonders of the Modern World

By Paulina Sánchez |

From exotic beasts that devoured men to gladiators that fought each other to death, the history of the Roman Colosseum has been written in blood. Its impressive past has made it one of the New 7 Wonders of the Modern World. 

Roman Colosseum History

In the year 80 A.D., people coming from every corner of the Roman Empire such as Sarmatians, Arabs, and Egyptians gathered for the inauguration of the Roman Colosseum, the most important amphitheater in the Roman world. That day, they witnessed exotic beasts devouring men and brave gladiators fighting each other. The spectacle lasted one hundred days, and it was so striking that historians have acknowledged its magnificence and originality.

This inaugural event and the ones that followed made the Roman Colosseum an important tourist attraction in Rome and Italy. It is so famous that today it is one of the new 7 Wonders of the Modern World. Continue reading and discover more stories that give life to the Roman Colosseum.

The Original Name of the Roman Colosseum

In the beginning, the Roman Colosseum was known as the Flavian Amphitheatre because it was built during the Flavian dynasty. It was until the Middle Ages that the name of Colosseum became popular due to its location near a bronze sculpture of Nero, which was so big that it was deemed colossal. Its name’s origin is also due to its location at the Domus Aurea palace area, which also belonged to Nero. However, the Romans never knew it as the Colosseum.

Roman Colosseum, One of the New 7 Wonders of the Modern World and World Heritage

The Roman Colosseum is undoubtedly one of the most important attractions of Rome and perhaps of Italy. In 1980, UNESCO declared the center of Rome as a World Heritage Site, together with the Roman Colosseum and the Roman Pantheon. In 2007, the Flavian Amphitheater was declared one of the new 7 Wonders of the Modern World due to its amazing architecture and the impressive battles that took place in it.

Gladiator Fights at the Roman Colosseum

In later years, magistrates organized similar events in the Flavian Amphitheater  to promote their electoral campaigns, while the imperial family used it to celebrate the most important festivities of the State. By then, the combat series held at the Roman Colosseum lasted only between three and six days. However,  the crowds remained excited. The enthusiasm to see the gladiators was evident even days before the event. This was not surprising since it was announced with paintings on façades,  walls of public buildings and even on graves. Everyone was so excited that the surrounding areas of  the Roman Colosseum were full of people the night before.

The day of the show, all 50,000 seats in the Roman Colosseum  were occupied from very early in the morning.  The event’s program started with an exhibition of animals coming from faraway lands, such as crocodiles, giraffes, and rhinoceros. But the climax occurred when a horn announced the gladiator combats. Then, the audience would holler filling the Flavian Amphitheater with deafening noise. They cheered enthusiastically whenever their favorite fighters defeated their opponents, killing them. It was until the rule of Augustus that this fatal ending was forbidden.

The uncontrolled violence that occurred behind the walls of the Roman Colosseum did not lose its popularity. The last combat was registered in 523 A.D. Another shocking fact about its history is that no other building surpassed its capacity until the twentieth century.

Wild Animals at the Roman Colosseum

Apart from the animal exhibitions, the Roman Colosseum hosted  another event called damnatio ad bestias; dramatic events in which animals fought to death.

This event in the Flavian Amphitheater could feature the fight of elephants against bulls or bears, or tigers against lions. These battles drove the audience crazy. It’s said that the wildest show was one with 100 lions, 100 African leopards and 300 bears in the arena. Naturally, nowadays this kind of violence would be unnaceptable, but in that time, the crowds really enjoyed it.

The Flavian Amphitheater Underground and Dungeons

Below the Roman Colosseum you could find another world. There were hallways and cages where they kept the beasts, as well as rooms where gladiators waited for battle.

Other remarkable features of the Flavian Amphitheater were the ramps and lifts that allowed direct access to the arena so that participants could make a grand entrance. Nowadays, the underground can be visited as well as seen from the stands and, together with the imposing architecture of the Roman Colosseum, we’re sure it will be one of your favorite things to see.

Walking through the underground and dungeons of the Flavian Amphitheater you’ll witness the magnificence of this colossal structure and you will  understand why it is one of the new 7 Wonders of the Modern World.

When to Visit the Roman Colosseum

Its past and its impressive architecture make it one of the main attractions of Rome and that’s why DINKtravelers, your world travel guide, recommends you to visit it. We advise you to go between May and November when there are night tours of the site. You’ll have access to the arena, the underground tunnels, the galleries and the grandstands. You´ll also have access to the vantage point. From there, you’ll enjoy a great view of The Arch of Constantine and the Palatine.

Souvenirs with History

Undoubtedly the Roman Colosseum is the most popular souvenir of Italy. You can find more than 1,000 different objects related with the Flavio Amphitheater. However, Rome offers you different options of souvenirs that you can take home at the end of your trip. Some famous souvenirs are the Spritz Campari, the traditional pasta or even the limoncello, an Italian liquor.

If you want to buy souvenirs with history, we recommend you to visit the shops  in the center of Rome. Many of them are part of the “Associazione Negozi Sotrici di Eccellenza di Roma“. These shops have a history and tradition of more than 100 years. You can find unique and original souvenirs there, from clothing and accessories to jewelry and pens.

We also recommend you to take time to eat in one of the cafes, restaurants or tea houses, which are very popular for their desserts and ice cream.

You already know everything about the Roman Colosseum, so when you visit the Flavian Amphitheater stand on the grandstands and let your imagination fly. Picture thousands of spectators around you crying out for a bloody spectacle as a battle takes place under your feet. At the end of the show, relax your body and mind by walking the streets of central Rome and  tasting the traditional dishes of  Italian gastronomy.