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has travelled all around 5 continents, sumtimes can be shopaholic, loud, fashionista, detailed person, thinker, artistic, dare to dream, love challenges, confident.
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Colosseum, Home for Gladiators


Dear friends, so as i've promised...i'm gonna finish my italian journey here :) After Vatican city, we continued our trip to Colosseum the next day. Early in the morning we went to Colosseum and hoped that the queue going into the Colosseum wasn't that long. We were so grateful coz we bought 3-days Roma pass. One can use Roma pass to ride the metro, bus with unlimited free fare for 3 days. It was so useful that it gave free entrances to Colosseum, Roman Forum and some of the museums too, so it's highly recommended for all travelers who stay for 3 days in Rome. Thank God when we went to Colosseum, the queue wasn't that long :)

Colosseum is one of the most grandiose amphitheater in the whole world and we have to thank Vespasian (one of the Caesar) who built it. It used to be the small lake of Caesar Nero's flamboyant residence, the Domus Aurea. It was inaugurated by Vespasian's son, Titus in 80 A.D., with a hundred days of festivities. When we went inside, we were so fascinated of its structure. We realized that almost 2000 years ago, the Roman architects were highly skilled and reputable. Inside the Colosseum lay the arena, whose surface consisted of wooden floor, which could be dismantled, strewn with sand. There are 3 entrances plus 1 exit of Colosseum; entrance for the gladiators and the musicians, entrance for the emperor and his family, entrance for the authorities and exit for the gladiators (alive or dead).

We rented the audio guide and it told us about the different types of games held in Colosseum. The first is the contest between the gladiators, the second is the fight between the gladiator and wild beasts,and the third one is the naval battles. In naval battles, the prisoners of war of various nationality were forced to wear the arms of their country and confront one another on ships moving around the arena, which was flooded with water. In addition, other "kinds" of spectacle and "minor" shows were staged during the intervals (these were performed by jugglers, acrobats and conjurors to entertaining parodies), which often ended with the actors being massacred. Other than that, Colosseum was also used as the place of punishment for criminals, who naked and unarmed would inevitably end up being torn to pieces by the beast. It is believed that many Christians had died martyr in Colosseum due to their faith. The blood thirsty games finally ended under Constantine reign in 325 A.D., but the public executions continued to delight the crowds for centuries.

The arena is partially exposed to show the structure of the basement. There were labyrinth of tunnels rooms inside the basement, which used to hold the cage for beasts. The central underground corridor extended outside the Colosseum and linked it to the "Ludus Magnus", the nearby barracks for the gladiators. By means of this secret passage, the combatants could reach the arena without being seen by anyone along the way.

We were so thrilled that we were there and be the part of the great Roman history and it was such an eye opener! Next after Colosseum, we went to the Roman Forum. There were ruins after ruins everywhere and it was very hard to detect which historical building is which. The Roman Forum is the city center of the old Roman civilization. It was divided 2 sectors; the Comitium for politics and the Forum for commerce. Different place of sanctuaries and temples also built in Roman Forum. There were so many great and grand buildings built in Roman Forum, but is left with ruins only nowadays. I bought a book explaining each building with computerized reconstruction of sites, and the book has been a great help coz it provided us with the picture of the intact buildings :) After Roman Forum, we went to the Palatine. Palatine is one of the most ancient parts of the city. The name Palatine which means the palace, was used to be residents for many Romans high officers e.g. Augustus, Tiberius, etc. The weather were scorching hot on that day, so we didn't cover all of them.

After all of the tiredness, we went to Piazza Navona to have our lunch. The weather was grazy on that day. It was very hot during day time, but after 4pm...it rained so heavily....hahaha becoz of raining, we ended up watching world cup at the restaurant :P, but it was great refreshing time for both of us....we've gotten our legs rest and enjoyed world cup at last! :)

Our last stop of the day was the Pantheon. This was where Raphael the great artist buried and the building itself is so magnificent. The Pantheon has the concrete dome with central opening to the sky, which is called Oculus. It is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome....amazing! There isn't any columns at all to support the dome for almost 2000 years and yet the building still intact! We went there after the rain, the result is wet Pantheon, coz the rain went through the Oculus :P. Anyway, in the olden days Pantheon was used as the temple for Pagan god, but it is converted to a church now and it is known as "St Mary" church.

That's all folks! we flew back the next day from Leonardo Da Vinci airport to Singapore and that's the end of our italian jouney :) Anyway...i'll continue with more of my adventurous trips! Don't go anywhere soon and stay tune :)

inside the Arena

The Colosseum's "basement" is exposed for us to see

Another angle of Colosseum

The Colosseum

The Roman Forum

The view from Palatine Hill

@ Piazza Navona

The Pantheon

inside the Pantheon

The Oculus