La monografia raccoglie una nutrita serie di contributi scientifici affidati ai più autorevoli specialisti volti a comporre un quadro aggiornato e definitivo della lunga e stratificata storia post-antica dell'Anfiteatro Flavio, un monumento divenuto nei secoli icona senza eguali.
The reasoned interpretation of the unpublished records of recent excavations and archival research has shed new light on the Colosseum in the Middle Ages, between everyday life and devotion, with a scholarly reconstruction of the historical role played by confraternities. Ample space is devoted to the Christian Colosseum, from the cult of the martyrs to the Via Crucis and the invention of magical and fantastic ruins in the works of Flemish painters, just as Renaissance artists were devoting close study to the architecture, which was soon being seen as exemplary. One focus is on the international image of the amphitheatre as it appeared with its leafy arches in the moonlight to travellers on the Grand Tour, inspiring the most romantic pages of writers and poets, before excavations and the papal and Napoleonic studies restored its appearance as an archaeological monument that it still retains.
The book brings out the central role the Colosseum has always played in Rome as it changed, not only in its urban form but also socially. It has become a prominent element in contemporary culture in all its visual expressions, even of mass culture, as confirmed by an anthropological survey of the building that still remains the goal of their first trip to Italy for millions of tourists.
The volume accompanies the exhibition “Colosseum. An Icon” (Rome, Colosseum, until January 7, 2018)