The Colosseum is one of the most recognisable monuments in the world and has stood over the city of Rome for almost 2,000 years. This colossal landmark, once a bustling entertainment venue, was a shining example of ancient Rome's pioneering engineering capabilities, although it was originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre.
The Colosseum was originally built during the 1st century AD but suffered extensive damage during the Great Fire of Rome shortly afterwards. This motivated the emperor Vespasian, inspired by Rome's victory after the Great Jewish Revolt, to order a new design for the site, which was eventually inaugurated by his son, Titus, in 80 AD. The landmark is still the largest amphitheatre in existence, and features dozens of entrances. However, the structure suffered significant destruction during a severe earthquake in the 9th century and another in the 13th century.
After the fall of Rome in the 5th century, the structure became a cemetery and was also used for accommodation, although large amounts of stone were removed and used for the construction of other buildings in the city. Fortunately, the Colosseum benefited from a series of restorations in the 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as a more comprehensive refurbishment from 1993 to 2000. Today, the monument can still accommodate tens of thousands of spectators, although an entrance fee is now charged in order to provide adequate funding for future restoration projects.
Where to visit nearby
Just to the west of the Colosseum is the formidable Roman Forum, where you can observe many preserved ancient structures such as the Arch of Septimius Severus, the Temple of Vesta and the Temple of Vespasian and Titus. As you wander through this vast, striking plaza, you'll feel as if you've been swept back to the 1st century. Like millions of other visitors, you'll be captivated by an ancient wilderness of temples and statues that has inspired countless artists over the years, from J.M.W Turner to Claude Lorrain.
Another intriguing landmark within walking distance of many hotels near the Colosseum is the Altare della Patria, which is an enormous eclectic monument that dates back to the 1880s and is noted for its fountains and large Corinthian columns. If you're interested in heading further afield, don't forget to see the spectacular Vatican, which is overlooked by one of the world's largest churches, St Peter's Basilica, and features the renowned Sistine Chapel with its magnificent Michelangelo paintings.
If you're looking for first-class hospitality, choose the 5-star Palazzo Manfredi, which offers phenomenal views and is one of the most exquisite hotels near the Colosseum. You can also opt for the contemporary and affordable Hotel Artorius, just half a mile from the monument, or consider the charming Hotel Royal House, which also provides superb views of the Colosseum.
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