These first two pictures aren't of the ruins. On the way to see the ruins of the Colosseum, I passed by a small, non-descript church with a lovely courtyard so I wandered in to take a peak. The courtyard was simple and pretty...but the inside was surprisingly ornate for such a small sanctuary.
The church courtyard with a little fountain in the center.
The ornate altar in marble with a ceiling and wall motif done using mosaic tiles.
These are the ruins of the Temple of Peace, one of the few ancient Roman temples dedicated to something other than one of the gods.
Along the top of this hill you can see a portion of the old Roman aqueducts. This one was used to supply a common well for the homes that once occupied the area below.
The Colosseum. Construction on this gigantic structure began in 70AD and it was completed by 80AD. In only 10 years, the Romans built this arena that could hold 50,000 spectators. Roman culture from that time period boggles my mind a bit. In many ways, they were so enlightened and advanced, as exemplified in this structure. Yet, the Colosseum was the site of horrifically barbaric entertainment. The masses turned out in droves to see gladiators fight to the death and slaves torn to pieces by wild animals. It's hard to understand how a culture could be so sophisticated and civilized, while at the same time being so primitive and savage.
Another view of the Colosseum.
The citizens of Rome passed through these gates to enter the exterior grounds of the Colosseum.
These lovely gates led to the Palantine Hill. It was where the Emperors and Imperial court of Rome lived.