Earlier today I posted about a couple who are blogging about their motorcycle adventure around the world – Gene and Neda. Their story is a fantastic read, and one of the bits that particularly stuck out at me was their interest in visiting Roman amphitheaters.
Frankly, and embarrassingly, I had no idea how many amphitheater remains still existed. According to Archaeology Travel there are about 230 Roman amphitheaters spread across the former stretches of the empire. Visiting them all would make for an interesting trip/blog in itself. Hmmmm….
Back to the point of this post. Kathy, over on the Rick Steve’s forums, recently heard tale that authorities at the most famous of Roman amphitheaters – the Colosseum in Rome – were turning away anyone carrying backpacks, daypacks, or even large purses.
And Donna found the following posted on the official website for the Colosseum:
We inform visitors that inside the monument it is strictly forbidden to enter with backpacks, handbags and luggage.
The rule evidently applies to visitors to the Forum and Palatine as well. And as best as anyone can tell at this point, no storage facility has been setup where one could lockup his/her bag while visiting.
Thanks to a link provided by Robert, I understand that a Canadian teenager attempted to pilfer a brick from the site, but that was nearly a year ago and so as much as I would like to blame Canada, it seems something else must have caused this rule change. Perhaps a terrorist threat.
Whatever the reason, this could be quite problematic for thousands upon thousands of travelers. I know when we visited the Colosseum I was carrying a messenger bag (pictured below). As we were staying at the Hilton Cavalieri (on points, of course), which is located somewhat outside of town, a bag was fairly essential for us. If we had been turned away, well, let’s just say the disappointment would have been palpable. And on top of that, we visited Palatine that same day – as I’m sure many tourists do.
What a whammy that would have been had we been turned away from both.
In fact, I’m a bit surprised that there doesn’t seem to be a #ColloseumBagBan hashtag trending on Twitter. Maybe that indicates they aren’t really turning people away unless the bag is unusually large.
Still, it’s an interesting development and one worth keeping an eye one – particularly if you are planning a visit.
Read the thread in its entirety: New rule: no daypacks in the Colosseum?