Arguably one of the world’s most recognisable structures, and one upon which modern stadiums are based, this is The Coliseum, in Rome. The scale of the building is quite extraordinary, considering it was built two millennia ago, as is the fact it is still standing after all this time. Much of the damage is due to man, rather than time, the Coliseum being used as a source for building materials once it had fallen out of use.
I visited Rome over twenty years ago now, just a blink of an eye in the life of this building. From outside you can see the different arched levels, as well as get an idea of the scale – it’s not hard to imagine how it would have been in its heyday, when gladiators battled and lives were lost on the turn of an emperor’s thumb.
This is a shot across what would have been the floor of the arena. The wooden floor is now long gone, and the walls are the remains of the rooms where gladiators, animals and prisoners would have waited, before being sent out to the mercy of the crowds. In the top right hand corner of the photograph, a cross is just visible – this is a memorial to the Christians martyred in the arena. When we were there, a small crowd of people gathered in front of this cross and started to sing. Everyone else fell silent, listening as the ancient stones echoed with a lament for the dead, the acoustics carrying it up and out of the arena. It was a beautiful moment in a remarkable place.
Thank you for coming on another Wednesday Wander with me – see you next time!