We ended up walking past the Roman Forum first but kept on heading to the Colosseum. We had to pick up our tickets that were, once again, reserved ahead of time. We were a bit confused when we arrived, however. Mike checked with a guard and they pointed out the line, which was very long. We stood in the line for a while but it just didn't seem like the right line to be in to pick up tickets. It was such a long line I felt it had to be the entrance line. I jumped out of the line and walked over to some booths, sure enough those booths were where we had to pick up our will-call tickets. I got our tickets and added on the audio tour again. After I had our tickets in hand I now had to make my way through a very long line to meet up with my family! I annoyed a lot of people trying to make my way through, even if in my defense it's because we were initially told that this was the correct line. I finally met up with my family and we could now officially enter the Colosseum!
Once we presented our tickets and collected our audio guides I was a bit frazzled after that whole escapade. It wasn't easy maneuvering through a line of people who were unhappy that you appeared to be "cutting" in front of them. Then the kids were not on their best behavior when I was passing out the guides - it was just one of those moments during family travel when things were not all rainbows and unicorns!
We finally were ready to set off and explore the Colosseum. It was really quite amazing to think back to all that happened here. We learned that the sort of "maze" that was on the very bottom floor of the Colosseum was where gladiators and animals were held before their fate of fighting ensued one floor above. We also learned that the floor of the Colosseum was hard packed dirt - it soaked up the blood better during battles! The name "Colosseum" also comes from a statue of Nero that used to sit near the Colosseum. It was so huge that it was called "colossal" - it was misinterpreted that the reference to "colossal" was meant for the Flavian Amphitheatre, not the Nero statue. However, the name "Colosseum" has stuck ever since.
There is a shop inside the Colosseum where we got some souvenirs. Our audio guide was interesting and informative. Overall, the tour didn't take terribly long. I knew I wanted some good shots from the outside so we headed out to get some photos.
Next, we were off to explore the Roman Forum!