Rome re-opens for the discerning traveler no quarantine necessary
The Colosseum, the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens, Saint Peter’s Dome, St Peter’s Tomb, Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, have all reopened to the public seven days a week from Monday 26 April 2021 as Italy relaxes its Covid-19 restrictions with most of the country now classified as low risk “yellow zones”.
As Rome recovers from the downturn in tourism, these times present the discerning traveler to enjoy the very best the city has to offer, without the crowds and queues.
The oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, east of the Roman Forum is the largest ancient amphitheatre ever built. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in 69–79 AD and was completed in 80 AD under his successor and heir, Titus.
The Colosseum could seat approximately 50,000 to 80,000 spectators, with an average audience of 65,000. The amphitheatre was used for gladiatorial contests, including animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of battles, and dramas based on Roman mythology. By the early medieval era, the building was used for housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, later a fortress and then a Christian shrine.
Construction was funded by the opulent spoils taken from the Jewish Temple after the First Jewish–Roman War led to the Siege of Jerusalem. According to a reconstructed inscription found on the site, “the emperor Vespasian ordered this new amphitheatre to be erected from his general’s share of the booty”
The Colosseum hosted gladiatorial shows and a variety of other events. The performances, called munera, were demonstrations of power, wealth and family prestige. Another popular type of show was the animal hunt, or venatio, featuring many wild animals imported by the Romans from Africa and the Middle East, including large animals including rhinoceros, elephants, giraffes, hippopotamuses, lions, panthers, leopards, bears, Caspian tigers, crocodiles and ostriches.
Trajan is said to have celebrated his victories in Dacia in 107 with contests involving 11,000 animals and 10,000 gladiators over the course of 123 days. Those condemned to death would be sent into the arena, naked and unarmed, to face the carnivores, usually resulting in the victims being torn to pieces. Other performances would also take place by acrobats and magicians, typically during lunch intervals.
The great Italian earthquake of 1349 caused severe damage to the Colosseum, causing the outer south side to collapse. Much of the tumbled stone was reused to build churches, palaces, hospitals and other building infrastructure in the city of Rome.
By the mid 14th century a religious order moved into the northern third of the Colosseum, they continued to inhabit it until the early 19th century.
In recent years, the Colosseum has become a symbol of the international campaign against capital punishment, which was abolished in Italy in 1948. Several anti–death penalty demonstrations took place in front of the Colosseum in 2000.
After 84 days of lockdown, the massively popular tourist attraction, with over 7.6 million visits in 2019 opened up the Colosseum to visitors from 1st June 2020 with limited numbers. By June, Rome would be bustling with tourists and the queues into and inside the Colosseum were always substantial.
The new normal – Italy opens for tourism
From 16th May 2021 there’s no quarantine requirement for those traveling to Italy from the UK, EU countries and Israel. Roberto Speranza, Italy’s health minister signed a decree that increases Covid tested flights to the airports of Venice and Naples, as well as Milan and Rome.
Whilst the tourism downturn is bad for the economy, there is upside to be enjoyed by those visiting now, with a more relaxed Rome less the people traffic there once was.