Unless you’re a history buff or a passionate planner, you probably don’t dwell on the details of every tourist attraction in your itinerary; you may even leave it up to your guide to make the tour package you booked worth every centavo. But if a place—like Italy—has been on your mind for years, and you’re slowly saving up to visit, the last thing you want is to not get everything you can from the experience.
Next to Vatican City, the Colosseum is Italy’s most visited spot (yes, we know that, technically, the Vatican is its own territory). Every year, 6 million people make their way to the Colosseum. But we don’t want you to see it as just another tourist attraction, so here are a few ~secrets~ about the world’s largest amphitheater:
1. The Colosseum used to be *really* colorful.
Apparently, the hallways were painted red, light blue, green, and black. Right now, there are barely any painted surfaces there, but archaeologists have been slowly cleaning and restoring the Colosseum, so we’re curious about whether or not they’ll choose to paint it again.
2. Graffiti was normal.
Yup, gladiators and their fans were allowed to scribble all over the walls.
3. Tickets were free.
The creation of the Colosseum was a PR move by the Emperor; the gladiator matches, though brutal and bloody, were meant to be seen as entertainment. Additionally, free food supposedly fell from the sky.
4. Thousands of animals died.
During the Colosseum’s opening ceremonies, 9,000 animals were killed. And that was just the beginning. But if there were technical difficulties…
5. People were forced to fight.
Yeah, sometimes, spectators were thrown into the arena and the stage help were sent in for battle.
6. But fighters weren’t always killed.
Some gladiators didn’t want to kill their opponents; and crowd favorite fighters were also spared.
7. The Colosseum hosted a lot of parties.
During the opening ceremonies, the Emperor held games that lasted for 100 days and threw a giant party. The longest party, however, lasted for 123 days with 9,000+ gladiators and 11,000 animals.
8. There were ~a lot~ of giveaways.
Aside from getting free food, spectators were given money and apartments to keep them interested in the games.
Source: Travel + Leisure
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