Get 15% Off Stocking Stuffers with code STOCKING15

The Flavius amphitheatre is the biggest and most imposing in the Roman world, but is also the most famous monument in Rome and is known as the “Colosseum” or “Coliseum”. Started by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavia family, it was opened by his son Titus in 80 A.D.

The highly ostentatious opening ceremony, lasted one hundred days during which people saw great fights, shows and hunts involving the killing of thousands of animals (5000 according to the historian Suetonius). For the opening, the arena space was filled with water for one of the most fantastic events held in Roman times, naumachias – real sea battles reproducing great battles of the past.

The Coliseum is one of the most imposing ancient structures. Imagine it all white, completely covered in splendid travertine stone slabs. It is elliptic in shape in order to hold more spectators. It had four floors; the first three had eighty arches each; the arches on the second and third floors were decorated with huge statues.

What we see nowadays is just the skeleton of what was the greatest arena in the ancient world. Three-fifths of the outer surrounding brick wall are missing. In the Middle Ages, when no longer in use, the Colosseum was transformed into an enormous marble, lead and iron quarry used by Popes to build Barberini Palace, Piazza Venezia and even St. Peter’s.

The amphitheatre could hold up to seventy thousand spectators. The tiers of seats were inclined in such a way as to enable people to get a perfect view from wherever they sat. Entry was free for all Roman citizens, but places were divided according to social status, the seats at the top were for the people, the nearer you got to the arena the higher your social status.

After the VI century, with the Empire’s decline, the Coliseum fell into disuse and its walls housed confraternities, hospitals, hermits and even a cemetery. From the Middle Ages onwards, the Coliseum has been one of Rome’s and the world’s greatest marvels, attracting hoards of visitors.

Threatened with demolition by Sixtus V for town-planning reasons, it was declared a sacred monument dedicated to the Passion of Christ by Benedict XIV, placing a cross on a pedestal, as a symbol of the sufferings of all Christian martyrs. This cross is still the starting point for the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday. Since then, it has become an object of worship for Christians and was protected from further destruction and ruin; in fact, Popes after that restored and consolidated it.


Related shots can be found at: Rome or Italy.

All images shown in this redbubble portfolio are owned by the artist, Tom Gomez and are protected under UK and International copyright laws. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any part of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. All rights reserved. My images are NOT part of the public domain.

View Full Profile


  • Robin Brown
    Robin Brownover 5 years ago

    They’re behind you Tom; run like hell. Fabulous photography as always Tom!!

  • Jadon
    Jadonover 5 years ago

    LOL, I like the above comments, very good, yep keep running Tom..
    Great shot BTW mate..

  • TFFDavid
    TFFDavidover 5 years ago

    My son Paul was here not long ago. He never got any photos in your league though Tom.

    Great stuff, ohhhh, and thanks for the info. :-)

  • cherylc1
    cherylc1over 5 years ago

    incredible capture!! ther behind you run Tom Run!!!!!

  • Sean Farragher
    Sean Farragherover 5 years ago

    great catch

  • Mayina
    Mayinaover 5 years ago

    Fabulous work Tom—you are certainly an expert in History……….and photography of course………….

  • shadyuk
    shadyukover 5 years ago

    Stunning shot !

  • handprintz
    handprintzover 5 years ago

    What it must have been like for those poor people being fed to the lions, such a barbaric thing to do, but l think what made it worse was people were cheering it on ! Still history is history l suppose and they certainly played a huge part, wonderful capture Tom, and as always your narrative fabulous, well done

  • JacquiK
    JacquiKover 5 years ago

    Great picture.

  • Barry Norton
    Barry Nortonover 5 years ago

    Great capture Tom

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10%off for joining

the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.