There is one monument in Rome that, more than others, arouses children’s curiosity. That’s the Colosseum. Keep reading to discover the most interesting facts about the Colosseum to engage kids during the trip!
The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, is one of the most famous attractions in the Eternal City and one of kids’ favorites. That’s why I have dedicated a whole tour, The Tapsy Tour of Ancient Rome, to the discovery of this magnificent Roman ruin and the nearby Roman Forum.
THE TOP 8 FACTS ABOUT THE COLOSSEUM FOR KIDS
According to the MiBAC (the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities), with about 7,6 million, in 2018 the Colosseum was the most visited monument in Italy. Considered that it is among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1980 and that in 2007 it was listed among of the 7 Wonders of the World, is not surprising at all that tourists prefer to wait on long queues rather than pass up the opportunity to visit it inside. However, there is no need to wait on long queues if you have a friend like me letting you in through a skip-the-line ticket.
ONE PLACE, ENDLESS FUNCTIONS
The Colosseum was built to entertain ancient Romans with a wide range of activities. From wild animals fights, to gladiators shows, it was the most famous arena of the time. However, as a consequence of the fall of the western Roman empire, from the 6th century on, the Colosseum started to be used for several unusual purposes: a workshop, a shelter for hermits, a cemetery and many others.
ARCHES FOR EVERYBODY
There are many different shapes and geometrical options in nature, but the Romans used just one for the Colosseum: the arch. Is there only an aesthetic reason for that? Absolutely, not! The reasons why only arches where used is linked to the objective to make it last as much as possible. As, by building several aqueducts, they understood that arches were extremely stable structures, they decided to replicate the shape of the arches all around the Colosseum, and make it last forever!
AN ANCIENT HUGE POOL
Next time you are inside the Colosseum and you feel hot, try to imagine how it could be if it was completely filled with water. A dream? Not really, because the Colosseum, used to be filled with water during the “nauromachie”, realistic representations of naval battles. How long did it take to fill the arena? So much as 7 hours!
HOME SWEET HOME
I have always had a dream, turn the Colosseum in my next den. That’s why I have made some researches and I found out that once, exactly in the 13th century, the Colosseum was the place where the Frangipane Roman family used to live and since then other families have build their residences there. Only in the 19th century the Colosseum started to be considered an artistic building and it has been no longer allowed to inhabit it.
WHITE ANCIENT BEAUTY
Not many people know that what we see nowadays is just the skeleton of the Colosseum. In fact, in Roman times, it was fully covered with travertine, that conveyed the Ancient Rome monument a white and elegant aspect. Moreover, in the past, under the arches that compose the structure, there were 80 bronze statues. Keep reading to discover why they are not there anymore.
A SUPERMARKET OF MATERIALS
If you are asking yourself why the Colosseum doesn’t have travertine and bronze statues anymore, that’s not a consequence of time, wars or natural events. The Colosseum was in fact built to last nearly forever, but, from the 15th century on, many popes and noble families started using it as a cave of travertine, bronze, marble and many other materials to build important monuments like St. Peter’s Basilica and Palazzo Barberini. There in fact a famous latin locution that states “Quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini”, which literally means “what the barbarians did not do, the Barberinis did”, meaning that the Barberini noble family stole more from Rome than the Barbarians themselves.
Want to know more curiosities about Rome and engage kids before and during the trip to Italy? Get them the Interactive Travel Guide of Rome and the Talking Map of Rome. Made especially for little adventurers.