The Colosseum is an iconic symbol of Rome. The Emperor Vespasian began building the amphitheatre in 72 AD. It was completed by his son Titus in AD 80 who organised its opening by 100 days of celebrations costing the lives of 2000 gladiators and thousands of wild animals.
The stadium could seat around 50,000 spectators and was usually a free event, a gift from the emperor to the people of Rome.
Tunnels underneath housed gladiators and animal cells with elevators raising wild animals to the arena floor. The arena also could be flooded to stage mock naval battles.
The Colosseum remained in use for 500 years, eventually gladiatorial fighting was prohibited and over the centuries it has been used a cemetery, fortress and quarry and the marble plundered and reused in constructions during the Renaissance.
Restoration works are still in progress to open up more areas of the Colosseum to visitors and to protect it from pollution damage and time.
Via Dei Fori Imperiali/Via Sacra
The ruins of The Forum are situated between the Colosseum and The Palatine Hill and was once the centre of the religious, political and commercial life in the time of the Republic.
When the Empire fell the Forum was forgotten and buried and used during the Middle Ages as a cow pasture.
Most of the site can be visited but some areas are closed off for excavation works even today.
Via di San Gregorio/Via Sacra
On one of the seven hills of Rome and standing 40 metres above the Roman Forum and Circus Maximus are the ruins of villas, baths and temples of wealthy Romans from the Republic Period to the time of the Emperors Augustus, Tiberius and Domitian.
During the Middle Ages churches and convents were built on the site.
In the 16th century the entire hill was owned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, nephew to Pope Paul III who created villas and a botanical garden that once stood on top of the ruins.
It is now a large open air museum and green space with the Palatine Antiquarian Museum holding statues, mosaics, frescoes and ceramics found during the excavation of the Palatine Hill site.