What secrets did the underworld of the Colosseum hold, and how to feel like a gladiator these days
The Colosseum of Rome is Italy’s most famous attraction. It’s a timeless symbol of the power and authority of one of the greatest empires in the history of humankind. Here the gladiators had deadly duels; the first Christians were thrown to the wild beasts for the public’s amusement. The bloody spectacles witnessed in this beautiful amphitheater are familiar to many people from films such as Gladiator. Until recently, the underground zone of the Colosseum was completely closed. Now it has been opened to the public.
The Colosseum, or Amphitheatrum Flavium, has been entirely restored by the authorities. It was a long project, costing tens of millions of dollars.
So what was going on under the infamous Roman Colosseum?
Some people compare the amphitheater to a beehive. The hypogeum, or underground dwelling, consisted of many underground passages which connected the various rooms. In them, the fighters waited to be summoned to the arena, where they often met death. It was a dramatic wait that could rival any rock concert in terms of emotionality. The audience roared in anticipation.
The moment came when the gladiators entered the special lifts that took them to the stage. This was hydraulic equipment that was designed to transport both humans and animals to a terrible death.
The amphitheater arena hosted not only gladiatorial fights and bloody encounters between unarmed people and wild animals, but also staged naval battles and theatrical entertainments. These performances were staged by those condemned to death. These were usually skits with a tragic ending. The audience was especially fascinated by such shows.
The underground world of the famous amphitheater was opened to the public for the first time
What did the underground of the infamous Roman attraction reveal to the public? Tourists can walk in the footsteps of those doomed to death. Special wooden platforms help one reach the dimly lit, gloomy corridors. They are lit by candles to enhance the effect.
Now everyone can feel the chill of awaiting a terrible fate, feel like a gladiator for a moment. One can exclaim, “Ave Caesar!, Morituri te salutant”( “Hail, Caesar!, those who are about to die to salute you” ). Claustrophobes should not try it!
Restoration of the Colosseum – it’s fashionable
The archaeological heritage department has been working on the restoration. Financing for this expensive project came from a rather unusual source. This came from the fashion house Tod’s, represented by its CEO Diego Della Valle. So business and cultural heritage came together in perfect harmony.
It took a long ten years to rebuild the amphitheater. It is now ready to present itself to the public in all its former glory. This is thanks to the coordinated efforts of a team of archaeologists, engineers, architects, and many other experts. A small part of the dungeon was opened to the public back in 2016, but now you can see everything.
The underground world of the bloody arena has been closed off from human eyes for almost two thousand years. Before that, for four and a half centuries, the most perverted of human senses had been satisfied here.
It was opened in 80 AD. The amphitheater was the brainchild of Emperor Vespasian. It was named the Flavius Amphitheatre in honor of the ruling dynasty. It was a magnificent architectural structure. There were many elaborate mechanisms, including hydraulic lifts. It was the scene of the crazy show business of the ancient world. In the 6th century, the Colosseum fell into decline. Until the 18th century, it was used as a source of building materials, dismantling its priceless cultural heritage.
The Colosseum has been restored and rebuilt about a dozen times. The current project has allowed many to touch hitherto hidden secrets of this eerie world, combining artistry and inhuman cruelty.