For the first time in modern history, the below-ground tunnels of Rome's Colosseum, where the gladiators tied up their sandals and prayed to their gods before entering the arena, have been opened to the public. The hallways and holding areas, and even the workings of the wooden elevator platforms that would hoist the wild animals, slaves, soldiers, and prisoners up to the floor of the arena for mortal combat, are on view following a $700,000 restoration.
Also restored and reopened for the first time since the 1970s is the third tier of the Colosseum from which Rome’s middle class watched the monumental pageants and battles. The Guardian reports, “This level boasts heart-stopping views of Rome, from Palatine Hill to the distant Vittorio Emanuele monument. And, at about 115ft in the air, you're still more than 70ft below where the highest seats would have been.”
The guided tours, open to 25 visitors at a time, must be booked in advance. Call Pierreci, the cooperative that handles ticket sales and tours at the Colosseum, at +39 06 3996 7700, to book the €20 tickets.
Ann Shields in an online senior editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo courtesy of the Rome Cavalieri Hilton's Gladiator Training Program, which has nothing to do with the Colosseum tour but was too good not to use.
By most accounts, the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 were a success. Held every four years, the Olympics-style event brings together 71 nations, most of whom are members of the Commonwealth (née the British Commonwealth). This year, India had the honor of hosting in Delhi. And the Games were indeed a success. That is, now that they're finished -- and no one died. The leadup was nothing short of disaster.
The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival kicked off earlier this week, and is now in full swing. Located below the icy desolation of Siberia, in China's Heilongjiang province, this month-long festival features massive snow sculptures and ice structures illuminated by lights frozen inside blocks of ice. Check out images of some of these wintry masterpieces from past festivals below.
Lyndsey Matthews is the online editorial intern for Travel + Leisure.
New York Times | Dubai was set to open the world’s tallest building amid tight security Monday night, celebrating the tower as a bold accomplishment on the world stage despite the city-state’s shaky financial footing.
The Burj Dubai boasts the most stories and highest occupied floor of any building in the world.
But the final height of the Burj Dubai — Arabic for Dubai Tower — remained a closely guarded secret on the eve of its opening. At a reported height of 818 meters, or 2,684 feet, it long ago overtopped its nearest rival, the Taipei 101 in Taiwan.
The Burj’s record-seeking developers did not stop there.
Most people probably couldn’t locate it on a map, but the tiny, verdant, indomitably friendly Oriental Republic of Uruguay is one of the world’s underrated places. I like to consider its long virgin shorelines, burgeoning wine industry, and charming European coffeshops my little secret.
But that may soon change.
In early December a beautiful, dome-like new terminal designed by Uruguay-born, New York-based architect Rafael Viñoly opened, replaced the aging Carrasco International Airport and vastly increasing flight capacity. Here’s to hoping some U.S. airlines will finally begin to offer direct routes to Montevideo (currently passengers must first stop in Buenos Aires). Yes, I’m talking to you, Delta.
Hello, hello! I'm at a place called Vertigo! I stumbled on these outtakes the other day from a shoot we did at the Park Hyatt in Shanghai. Gorgeous shots. Our man in China, Andrew Rowat, had this to say about his shots taken from the observation deck at the top:
For years I wondered about the rusting, abandoned old hulk of a railroad bridge that spans New York’s Hudson River between Poughkeepsie on the east bank and Lloyd on the west, about 70 miles north of Manhattan. Like a stark stretch of fishnet stocking linking the two shores, the underdeck truss bridge, built in 1888, was devastated by fire in 1974. Left to deteriorate for more than 30 years, the bridge symbolized the decline of Poughkeepsie itself.
The most talked-about building in New York City over the last several years doesn’t exist. That would be the Freedom Tower, the centerpiece of the World Trade Center reconstruction project. But If you’re like me and have a short (or even medium-level) attention span, you’ve lost track of what the Freedom Tower’s going to look like, when it’s going to be built, whether it’s going to be 1,776 feet tall…
Happily, lots more of note has been going on (and up) in Manhattan—an island known more for its frantic pace of construction than its design brilliance. That’s why a spot like Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s revamped Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center is most welcome (so welcome, in fact, that extra seating was added in the airy cafe due to overwhelming demand).