Colosseum Rome poster print
Once used as the site of gladiator fights, dramas based on Roman myth and even mock battles, today the Colosseum is one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions (as well as the backdrop to many a travel photo). It was constructed in 80 AD and originally named the Flavian Amphitheatre after the Flavian Dynasty (Vespasian, Titus and Domitian) who reigned as emperors during its construction.
Holder of the title ‘largest amphitheatre ever built’ (as well as it being the largest still standing in the world to this day), the Colosseum remains so iconic that it was also named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007, alongside the likes of Christ the Redeemer and Machu Picchu.
In more recent times, the Colosseum has been utilised for a number of different purposes. The most long-standing of these are its links with the Roman Catholic Church, which is marked each Good Friday when the Pope leads a ‘Way of the Cross’ procession that begins near the Colosseum. In the early 2000s the structure became a sort of figurehead against capital punishment (even though Italy abolished it in the 1940s) and now changes the colour of its night time illuminations from white to gold each time a person condemned to the death penalty has their sentence commuted or is released. On a more light-hearted note; the building has also provided a dramatic backdrop for large music concerts starring the likes of Elon John and Paul McCartney (although the interior of the Colosseum would be the perfect size to host such an event, the ruins mean that only a few hundred temporary seats can be installed).