Problems of Access - Recanted!

The Coloseeum At Night

A few years ago I wrote a rant about how Rome was closing access to various monuments, much to my chagrin. I used the Colosseum as an example; when I first came to Rome I remember very clearly going for a midnight stroll in the outer arcade of the Colosseum - the tall archway between the outer and next-to-outer rings. That experience had been prohibited for several years even when I wrote that essay in June, 2001.

With this latest visit, though, almost all is forgiven. The construction that had been going on for several years was finally complete and I could see what they had done. The Archaeology Superintendent's Office had built an elevator in the outer arcade to allow people access to the second level. At the same time they shifted the entire ticket office and entrance to the site about 120 degrees clockwise; it's now very close to Via dei Fori Imperiali and the Colosseo Metro station entrance/exit.

So, once again, you can walk in the arcade and look up 10 meters to the underside of the that-oh-so-very-elusive third level. You can't do it alone, at midnight, because they gate up the archways when the site closes for the day, but it is better than nothing, I will admit.

While we were all inside, I took a few moments to listen to the tour guide talks. Man, oh man. Look, people, take it from me. They never flooded the Colosseum and held mock naval battles in it , OK? Repeat after me; they never did. One guide actually said, "They used very small boats."

Criminy. Seriously, criminy.

Now all they have to do is open the basement to tours and I'll be (temporarily) happy.