The challenge this week is to show curves. The Colosseum in Rome certainly has plenty.
For many years it was supposed that the Colosseum is elliptical in shape, but the curve of the arena and the remaining facade have now been measured to a high degree of accuracy and findings show that it does not coincide exactly with a perfect ellipse and is in fact a polycentric curve (an ovoid). When you are standing on the ground outside looking up at the magnificent structure, or viewing it from a distance, it gives the impression of being circular.
There are plenty of curves to be seen on the inside too.
We were almost the first people into the Colosseum on the morning that we visited, and immediately made our way up the steep stairs to the perfect vantage point overlooking the entire arena for our first view, unspoiled by the crowds who continue to arrive all day. It was well worth making the effort to be there early.
It is a fascinating place and the history of it is almost palpable. We did not realise that access to the hypogeum, the underground labyrinth of dens and passageways where the animals and other participants in the gory games awaited their fates, is by special pre-booked tour, so we had to content ourselves with viewing it from above.
On display near the Colosseum, where building works are being carried out to create a new line for the city’s subway, was a picture of Gismondi’s fascinating model of how Rome would have looked at the time of Constantine (AD 306 – 337) when the city was at its largest.