Entering the Coliseum, you follow arrows directing you along the tour route. I made a decision not to join a tour, preferring to view the site by myself and form my own impressions. Strategically placed bill boards give you basic information which is more than enough to give you an understanding of the place. The tour route presently brings you to a rather steep staircase which brings you to the main floor, that is to say the only other level that is still open to the public, which is about halfway to the top of the Coliseum.
|A depiction of Nero's Domus Aurea with the Colossus of Nero|
|Depiction of the Flavian Ampitheater with the Colossus of the Sun God|
Looking down, one sees what was hidden from the ancient spectators, the labyrinth where animals and men were kept until it was time for them to be, shall we say, “vomited out” (through the “vomitariums”, I kid you not!) onto the arena floor.
|What was under the floor of the arena|
|Plastic model of Ludus Magnus|
The floor over this labyrinth of corridors, cages and waiting areas was wooden and was covered with sand (harena in latin) to absorb the blood and other fluids excreted and left over after every show. And so we have the origins of the word arena! The sitting areas were originally all in marble, but today only a very small portion of that is left.
|Sitting Area in marble|