PJ and I had a great trip to Italy. We spent five days in Rome, so there’s a lot for me to write about! One of the first things we did was visit the Colosseum, the Forum, and Palatine Hill.

After we checked into our hotel and showered, we decided to take the metro over to the Colosseum. We initially thought that we would eat lunch somewhere in the vicinity and then visit the Colosseum. After leaving the metro station and as we walked toward the Colosseum, we were approached by the agents for a tour of the Colosseum. They mentioned that the tour would begin in about five minutes, so we decided to go ahead and join the tour.

The wait was definitely more than five minutes, and we soon started to wonder whether we had made the right choice. Just about the time we were getting a little more than irritated about it, the tour guide showed up and the tour began. Once he started telling us about the history and architecture, we forgot all about our frustration and started to enjoy the tour. Our tour guide was named Max. Although the agents called him an “authentic archeologist,” we were skeptical of his credentials but didn’t really care after the first few minutes — he was much more informative than just having our guide book. This is Max in the blue baseball cap:

The Colosseum is a first century amphitheater used for gladiator contests. Max emphasized how expensive these contests were. For example, bringing the millions of exotic animals from around the known world to be slaughtered in the Colosseum alone was staggeringly expensive. Of course, lots of men died in the Colosseum as well, though, as Max explained, contrary to popular assumptions only two of these were Christians — executions of Christians for entertainment purposes took place at the Circus Maximus rather than at the Colosseum.

(more…)