The Romans left few more recognisable monuments than their amphitheatres, and perhaps the best known of all is to be found in the heart of Ancient Rome itself; the Flavian Amphitheatre, known to us today as The Colosseum.
Built of a type of rock called travertine, and brick-faced concrete, it was the largest Roman amphitheatre ever constructed. Though it has crumbled somewhat, it is remarkably well-preserved. After all, it has been standing here, not far from the Roman Forum, since 80CE.
Step through the gates into the arena, where you would have seen a crowd of between 50,000 and 80,000 in the Colosseum's heyday. Imagine trying to find your seat amidst the roaring and cheering, the sound of pipes and drums, the smell of street food, and the bustle of crowds.
The arena floor: this is where gladiators battled for supremacy, criminals were executed, dramas played out, and wild beasts brought from the corners of the empire for the entertainment of the Roman citizens. Every emperor knew that a big event would win them public support.
Unless you happen to be an emperor or an eques, this is where you most likely would be sat. As at a modern cricket ground or baseball stadium, the best seats were close to the action. And if you're a gravedigger, actor, or a former gladiator, you're banned from even entering!
Interior of the Colosseum, Rome (c. 1832) by Thomas Cole (1801-1848)Albany Institute of History & Art