You should recognize this since it is the most famous monument in Rome, known as the "Colosseum" or "Coliseum". Its original name was the Flavius amphitheatre because it was started by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavia family and opened by his son Titus in 80 A.D.
Today it is just the skeleton of what was the greatest arena in the ancient world, with three-fifths of the outer surrounding brick wall missing, but it remains the most imposing and recognizable structure of ancient Rome. Read more about the Colosseum on Italy Guides - Closseum.
Enter the Colosseum
It is possible to purchase tickets to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine before arrival, which would allow you to bypass this line. Another way to bypass the line is to purchase a Roma Pass, which could also give you free entry to your first museum or other attraction. The Roma Pass can be purchased in advance or across from the Colosseum (among other locations).
Since we didn't know what time we would be arriving, we decided it was best to purchase tickets onsite. The cost for the combined ticket was 12€.
Two of our group had gone across the street to check out the ticket office which is how we learned that the Roma Pass was sold there. They asked where the restrooms were and were told ...
"The restrooms are to the left of the Colosseum"
When they returned and told us this, we all couldn't stop laughing. Just where exactly is the "left" of an elliptical building? Luckily, when we entered the building to purchase tickets, we did see the sign for the WC. For those that aren't familiar with the term "WC", that is short for water closet, the European notation for restrooms (washrooms, toilets, or whatever you know them as).
These Feet are Made for Walking
The Colosseum has multiple levels with steep staircases you'll need to climb, so please take that into consideration before purchasing your tickets. You'll find that most of Rome isn't designed for accessibility, but for those that can get around with some assistance, it is still possible to explore a good portion of the city.
Imagine yourself sitting in this arena watching the gladiators in one of their combats. No matter where you were seated, you'd have a good view. Of course, if you were of higher status, you had better seats. This was the birth of stadium seating in modern times.
We explored all the levels of the Colosseum starting with the exhibits on the top floor working our way down to the ground level. You'll want to experience the Colosseum from all the levels, so be sure to have good walking shoes.
We've updated our Rome - Colosseum Album with some additional photos, so even if you looked at it previously, be sure to check it out again on our FB fan page. Be sure to sign up as a fan so that you'll be notified of additional updates. We'll continue our Day 1 in Rome in another post.