Describing Italy seemed impossible when so many famous poets and authors have tried and came up at a loss for words. Initially, I was at a loss for words too. Not because I was awe-stricken by the beauty of it, knocked breathless to my knees. No—initially I couldn’t speak because I was downright petrified.
Traveling alone is only glorious in two respects: (1) in the idea of it, raw & new, and (2) in retrospect when you realize just how much freedom you had to explore. The rest is a strange mixture of uneasiness & curiosity.
When I arrived in Rome, I had been traveling alone through Italy for a while now and had “hit my stride” so to speak. I was still a little uneasy about traveling alone, but my curiosity had started to take over.
The day I visited the Colosseum, the quintessential symbol of Roman culture, I let go of all hesitancy. Not to sound like the complete nerd that I am, but there was just so much to learn about what happened here that I didn’t have the brainpower to think about being scared. Here are some of my favorite little factoids (sorry, I’m going for nerd today 🙂 )
1. Entry was free for all Roman citizens, but your social status determined your seat. The nosebleeds were for common people and the closer you got to the arena, the more “important” you were.
2. In the summer of 2010, the government opened up the underground chambers to the public for exploration. Visitors now can take a glass elevator down into the chambers but back then, all sorts of wild animals could take one of 80 elevators that would make them appear (somewhat “magically”) in the arena.
3. There’s a cross inside of the Colosseum. As it turns out, when the Colosseum was in danger of demolition, PopeBenedict XIV ordered that a cross should be put there in honor of the Christian martyrs. This move was not only of holy remembrance, however. It was also a move to stop the demolition of a (now) sacred monument. Actually (ironically??) there were Popes that contributed to restoration efforts.
4. This fact is in honor of Easter, which is coming up. The cross above is the starting point of the Stations of the Cross, which is held in the Colosseum every Good Friday, lead by the pope.
Signing off with one last picture…a classic!