5 Facts about the Colosseum You Didn’t Know

For sure you already know a lot about the Colosseum in Rome. Yes, we all know there were gladiators. Yes, its original name was Flavian Amphitheater and yes! … it was used for mass spectacles. But we bet there are still some facts you didn’t know and probably won’t believe. But they are all true! So keep reading through these 5 Facts about the Colosseum in Rome we put together for you!

The Colosseum in Rome, view from the Palatine Hill
Credits: image by @ The Double_A

1The Colosseum is a Small Jungle

For several years botanists have been studying the plant life spontaneously grown around the Colosseum. A study conducted by the University of Rome “Roma Tre” surprisingly pointed out that more than 600 species of plants have grown among the ruins of the Colosseum, which seems to have its own microclimate.

Researchers, who have analyzed the greenery of the last 350 years, also discovered some exotic species. Even more interesting, the evolution of the plant life shows the transformation of Rome into a metropolitan area and the climate change of the city. For instance, we know that 300 years ago Rome was definitely colder and more humid than today.

2The Colosseum could be turned into a giant Pool!

The Colosseum was also used as a giant pool for water battles. Yes, a pool! The naumachiaewere a staging of mock naval battles, which were largely documented by Ancient Roman writers. The poet Martial says that the amphitheater could change from dry land to the sea very quickly. Indeed, it is known that it took nearly 7 hours to fill the entire arena with water. The water flowed through a very complex system of inner wells and pipes located under the seatings.

3The Backstage was located underground

As every modern theater, the Colosseum had a backstage too. However, this was located under the monument, where there are two underground floors. The backstage was the place where the magic happened and special effects were created. One of the most appreciated by the audience was the sudden appearance on the arena of gladiators and wild animals. This trick was achieved using trapdoors and elevators which were lifted up quickly thanks to the use of heavy counterweights.

4Restoration Works Worth €25 million

Restoration works have been completed in 2016. The bill for the multi-million project to clean off the dreary patina caused by pollution from the Colosseum was footed by Diego Della Valle, founder of the luxury brand Tod’s. Today Rome’s Colosseum sparkles again!

5The Colosseum has been protagonist in many movies, but…

Rome’s Colosseum has been the protagonist of many great movies such as Roman Holidays by William Wyler, La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini and J.J. Abrams’ Mission Impossible.
However, no other movie celebrated its glorious past as Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, but not everyone knows that due to some difficulties the movie was never shot at the Colosseum. Ridley Scott recreated the Roman Empire in Morocco and most of the scenes of the Colosseum were computer-generated.