I know that there are many colosseums around the world, but when someone mentions the Colosseum, thoughts of the one in Rome is the one that is instantly thought of. It may not be the oldest one ever created, but it definitely is the one that brought about the height of the sports as a form of entertainment to ease the passions of those living in Rome. It does not live up to the glory that it once had when it was first built, but it is still the one whose structure and history has caught the imagination of the world.
It is obviously one of the greatest tourist sights in Rome, and now is a great time to visit. Even if you have seen this sight before, they have been able to excavate more of the basement level and discover what it was used for due to the fact that there were no tourists able to visit the sight during Covid. Because of this, we can now take tours through the same tunnels that set the stages for the battles and fights that were staged on the massive arena floor. It is not part of every tour, but there are a few that will take you down there. We were able to combine a tour of the Forum with the underground tour of the Colosseum through a company called the Tour Guy and it was a great experience, and a perfect way to get down to this part of the location.
The underground part of the Colosseum was a series of tunnels that housed the various animals and gladiators, so they could be prepped before they were brought up to the stage for the entertainment of the masses. Many other workers navigated through the hallways to get these fighters ready for their battle, and there were even a couple of longer hallways that led to the training grounds of the gladiators, so the spectators would never see them before a match.
Right before one of these battles, they would bring the gladiator and his opponent to an intricate elevator that would raise them to the arena floor. They would hear the crowds cheering as they rose, not knowing who or what they would face in the battle they were about to have. A trap door would open right before they hit to roof of the underground section and the would be splashed from the sun that could not find its way down these dark tunnels. When their eyes would finally adjust to the the bright light, they would eventually see their opponent for the first time. It could be one of the wild animals that were brought from exotic places, or another gladiator, or even their best friend that they trained with in the training grounds not far away. Whatever they saw, it would be accompanied by the screaming crowd looking for blood.
It was fun imagining the lives of these long ago stars of the Roman era, and it is a great edition that they have opening up the lower parts of the Colosseum so we can go down there and see all that there is to offer. What used to be a must see when visiting Rome has upped its game even more, making it one of the greatest archeological sights that anyone can visit in the world. If you do go though, make sure that you are adding the lower levels of the Colosseum to your agenda because it is not one of the things that you will regret that you have done.