Smithsonian Journeys Dispatches

Video: Architecture of Rome

Rome's Colosseum was built by Emperor Vespasian to host sporting events. The first event at the Colosseum held 55,000 guests. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum fell into ruin, like many ancient structures. In the 14th Century, its materials were used to build another famous Roman structure, St. Peter's Basilica.

Spectators at the Colosseum's many events witnessed gladiator competitions, animal hunts, dramatic plays, and other spectacles. For a bird's eye view of the Colosseum today, check out this video from Smithsonian Channel.

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Packed yet? See the Colosseum and all of Rome's wonders for yourself on these tours.