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THE RUINS OF THE COLOSSEUM

THE RUINS OF THE COLOSSEUM

THE RUINS OF THE COLOSSEUM - VOLENDO VIAGGI

VOLENDO VIAGGI offers an itinerary for your groups, to discover the ruins of the colosseum.

Located in the archaeological heart of the city of Rome, the Flavian Amphitheatre, or, more commonly, the Colosseum, stands for monumentality and receives daily a large number of visitors attracted by the enchantment of its history and its complex architecture.

 

Built in the first century CE at the behest of the emperors of the Flavian dynasty, the Colosseum, named after a colossal statue that stood nearby, until the end of the Ancient Age accommodated games of great popular appeal, such as hunts and gladiatorial fights.

 

The building was, and still is today, a show in itself. In fact,  it is the largest amphitheatre not only in the city of Rome but in the world, able to offer stunning sceneries as well as services for spectators. Symbol of the pageantry of the Empire, over the centuries the Amphitheatre has changed its face and its function, offering itself as a structured space also open to the Roman community. Today, the Colosseum is a monument unto itself and unto the works of human genius, which survive time; yet it is still comfortable and dynamic, accessible on two levels offering a wide overview onto its interiors, but also short and evocative brief glimpses of the city from its outer arches.

 

It also hosts temporary exhibitions related to the timeless theme of the "Ancient" and its relationship with the “Contemporary”, as well as modern performances. This outcome  of events and experiences makes the amphitheatre a new place every day, significant for all and able to tell everybody a story. 

 

The construction of the Flavian Amphitheatre, which is named after the Gens Flavia, began in AD 72 under the emperor Vespasian and was financed with the spoil of the conquest of Jerusalem of AD 70. The amphitheatre, inaugurated by Titus in AD 80 and completed by his brother Domitian in AD 82, is the most imposing building of the antiquity among those destined for gladiatorial fights (munera) and mock hunts (venationes). The building rises in the centre of the valley where the artificial lake of Nero’s Domus Aurea was previously located.

 

Some auxiliary constructions stood around the valley: gymnasiums, store-houses and a hospital. The last spectacle held in the Colosseum dates back to AD 523. Between the end of the fifth and the beginning of the sixth century a process of disassembly of the southern section’s structures started, while the arena began being filled with earth . From the second half of the sixth century the amphitheatre went through a period of neglect and, after losing its original functions, suffered a systematic spoliation of its materials: the travertine of the load-bearing structures, the marble facing, the metal clamps that held the blocks of stone were removed. The holes still visible in the travertine are the consequence of this plunder.

 

In the Middle Ages the reuse of its structures in order to establish dwellings, gardens and shelters for animals and goods changed the area into a residential quarter organized around a central square, the ancient arena, and called Rota Colisei.  The name “Colosseum”, under which the amphitheatre is commonly known, appeared for the first time in the eighth century, might derive from the memory of the colossal statue of Nero which stood in the vicinity of the monument. During the sixteenth century the tradition identifying the Colosseum with the place of the first Christians’ martyrdom became established, though never proved. The sacred nature of the building was sanctioned in occasion of the Jubilee in 1750, when Pope Benedict XIV had a cross raised in the middle of the arena and 14 chapels built for the Via Crucis.

 

After a earthquake in 1803 the first reinforcement works were accomplished carrying out two brick abutments, one on the eastern side (Stern 1805-7) and the other one on the western side (Valadier 1827): it was the first phase of a long action of recovery and archaeological research, that changed the Colosseum from ruins into a monument.