A trip to Rome is overwhelming with the amount of ruins; it is hard to know what is what, what is from when, and who is depicted in statues. Unless you come with a huge knowledge of Roman architecture and history, you will probably not fully understand any of the monuments. In class just the other day, I was able to apply some history to monuments that I saw two year ago.
The Arch of Titus that sits just outside of the Colosseum represents a victory over Jerusalem in 70 AD. On this arch (pictured above) there are depictions of treasures beings stolen from the temple during that time (I now wish I would have gotten better photos of the arch!). There is even a depiction of a Menorah being taken from the temple. It is also said that the treasures and funds stolen from the temple was enough to pay for the complete construction of the Colosseum.
Today, the Colosseum is well worth a tour. Tickets are 12 Euros for adults, discounted to 7.50 Euros for EU members 18-24, and free for those under 18 or over 65. We did not reserve tickets, but we did go early in the morning to avoid the line. We had no problem getting in despite the websites warnings of long lines.
Pictured below is the reconstruction of the sand layer that would have existed between the underground part of the colosseum and where the games took place. Underneath this sand layer is where the animals and people would have been held before going up onto the main stage to (more than likely) fight to the death.
I highly recommend Rick Steves’ Audio Tour for the Colosseum. It was helpful to better understand what would have been going on inside the Colosseum when it was fully alive (plus the audio guide is free!). From tours such as these I have learned a tremendous amount of world history from traveling!