The Coliseum is perhaps Rome’s most famous landmark. Despite changing rulers, falling empires, and world wars, it has stood for millennia as a symbol of Italian history, culture, and achievement. Once the epicenter for sport and entertainment in ancient Rome, the Coliseum has seen millions of people walk through its walls, connecting modern visitors to those ancient spectators who came to see the first gladiators risk their lives in the arena.
The Coliseum also represents some of the greatest technological and cultural achievements of its time. Not only was it home to gladiator battles, races, and wild animal exhibitions, but it even hosted battles between warships. Visible from the stands are the chambers below the arena where gladiators (usually prisoners of war) were kept until they were summoned to fight. The intensity of those spectacles is palpable still as one looks out over the arena and imagines the incredible events and the vast crowds of people that once gathered to see them.