While in Rome, we spent some time exploring the ruins of the Colosseum, which has a sad and fascinating history. Once the site of gladiator battles, and the occasional naval battle when it was flooded, the Colosseum now stands a colossal testament to the former political and societal power the Roman Empire once commanded. It’s difficult to believe that such a beautiful and unique building was where countless people were forced to fight each other, or even wild animals like lions and wolves, to the death.
The interior of the Colosseum was absolutely spectacular. Due to decay from centuries of disuse and reformation, we were able to see where the participants were housed, walk through the hallways, see pillars, and so much more. The gap in the center of the Colosseum was originally covered by a wooden platform, and the participants were housed underneath. When hosting naval battles, the Colosseum was intentionally flooded and ships would fight inside the theater.
There were lots of options for tours such as guided tours (offered in several languages), as well as audio tours, for an extra charge. Robin and I decided we would just wing it and explore on our own. There are lots of signs around the arena that provide lots of information about each area, which was more than enough for us. The total cost to enter was about €12 per person (mine was less expensive because I am a “student” which means anyone under 24 years old. Since we arrived late on our first day in town, we were able to come back the following day for free as well, which was an awesome surprise!
There were several stray cats running around, evidently because there are lots of rats in the Colosseum. We didn’t see any, but we did hear a tour guide telling people not to set their bags down because they could be stolen or become the new home for a rodent. Yuck!
I also recommend being careful when heading towards the Colosseum. We were hassled the entire way by people trying to sell us selfie sticks, “tickets” and other trinkets for a Euro or two, but the people at our hotel warned us not to buy those things because they are usually stolen, and sometimes when people get their wallet out to pay, the “Street seller” will snatch it and run. There were also lots of people who would follow us and try to sell us fake tickets so we could “skip the lines”, and people who followed us asking for money for food, as soon as they heard us speaking English. We felt safe while we were in Rome, but we were very cautious, below are a few tips we used to ensure we were careful and not easy to take advantage of:
-I wore a crossbody bag with a flap, and kept it in front of me, with the flap facing me so someone couldn’t easily reach into if I wasn’t paying attention.
-We used a waistband pouch under our clothing (this one, which is under $15!) so that if we were robbed, we were literally wearing our passports and money and wouldn’t end up stranded.
-Robin carried an old wallet with a few single Euros, a 5 bill, an old hotel key, and a fake credit card (the kind we sometimes receive in our junk mail, without or name on it) so that if we were robbed, we would be able to give them enough to hopefully leave us alone.
-When carrying our larger bags, I walked behind Robin, who carried our suitcases, to ensure that no one could reach into them. Sadly, at a train station in Bologna, someone did try to get in our bags, but we caught them before they could unzip it.
I hope you enjoyed this look into the Colosseum, and I hope my travel safety tips help you feel more confident when traveling abroad!
Thank you so much for reading!