Today, people from around the world visit the ruins of the Colosseum. The drawing on the right shows the stadium as it looked long ago.
BOB CHARLTON—GETTY IMAGES; INSET: DEA PICTURE LIBRARY/GETTY IMAGES
Rome is an ancient city in Italy. For more than 500 years, it was the center of a great empire. The city’s wealth and power can be seen in monuments that are still standing.
One of the grandest is the Colosseum. This stadium was built about 2,000 years ago. It held 50,000 people. Romans went there to watch battles between trained fighters, called gladiators. These warriors wore armor and fought with swords. They were heroes to their fans.
Beneath the arena were passages. Wild animals were kept there. Sometimes, a lion, wolf, or bear was brought into the arena. Could a gladiator survive a fight with the ferocious beast? The crowd would cheer as their hero fought a bloody battle.
The Stadio Olimpico is where Romans go to watch the city’s soccer teams compete. The stadium has also hosted World Cup games and the Olympics.
GRAZIA NERI—ALLSPORT; INSET: GARETH CATTERMOLE—GETTY IMAGES.
Sports are still important to Romans. But today, their favorite game is soccer. In Rome, soccer is known as football. The game is played in the Stadio Olimpico. The arena can hold 74,000 people.
Rome has two teams. They are fierce rivals. Players charge up and down the field. They shoot for a goal. There’s action off the field, too. Fans wave flags and sing songs. When a goal is scored, the stadium erupts in cheers.
Soccer games take place on Sundays. But for Romans, soccer is a part of everyday life. All week long, fans talk and argue about soccer. They are loyal to their teams. To them, soccer players are heroes.