See Painting and Graffiti… in the Colosseum!

January 14, 2013

Paintings and graffiti in the Colosseum? Sounds great to us!

Paintings and graffiti in the Colosseum? Sounds great to us!

Starting this summer, visitors to the Colosseum will be able to see something really special: Original, painted decorations… and graffiti.

Like other ancient Roman buildings, the Colosseum wasn’t just plain white (or gray). It was painted. Even though archaeologists always knew this, they were only recently able to determine the color. It turns out that the walls of the amphitheatre were covered in red; travertine blocks were in red and white; and some parts were blue, probably showing the sky or a seascape. (Sure makes you picture it differently, doesn’t it?).

Not only that, but some pretty interesting graffiti was discovered. It includes two phalluses—yes, you read that right—probably inscribed after the fire of A.D. 217, since the symbol was believed to ward off bad luck. Other graffiti is written in admiration of the gladiators and their deeds.

The best part? All of this is going to be open to the public! Found during a restoration of the third level, the gallery could be open as early as next summer. But it probably will only be open to those who are booking the third-level access (which isn’t an automatic part of your normal Colosseum ticket, but instead is currently included in a visit of the hypogeum), so stay tuned!

You can book your tour of the Colosseum underground with us here. And don’t miss our fun video of what it’s like to explore the Colosseum underground!

by Walks of Italy

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Show Comments

3 responses to “See Painting and Graffiti… in the Colosseum!”

  1. Samantha Breecher says:

    How exciting! They seemed to really enjoy the color red… Can’t wait to book a couple tours with you guys in a year or two. Stumbled across this site and what a lucky strike of fate that was! ;D

  2. Cheryl says:

    Wow! How could anyone NOT want to see that?! The third tier (part of our Walsk of Italy tour) provides the most spectacular views of the city! And now, to see ancient graffiti? Cool!

  3. Barbara says:

    I just wanted to say a big thank you for all the information on this blog! I just booked a trip to Italy mid-April and will be going to Venice, Florence and Rome. I’m a little panicked about the traveling/lodging but this blog is helping me figure out the best options. I will definitely keep checking it until I leave for my trip.

    Thank you!!

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