After the ticket and security lines at the Colosseum, a steep set of stairs leads to this exhibit, which is installed in an exterior corridor one level above the ground floor. Its entrance is marked by a bright yellow freestanding panel with a mirrored oval flanked by the words Colosseo. Un'icona. The mirror at first seems a nod to the narcissism of the modern tourist, but is perhaps also a reference to an idea articulated by the fifteenth-century German traveler, Nikolaus Muffel, who said that the Colosseum was “a mirror, in which they saw all the things in the world” (quoted in Enrico Parlato's catalogue essay [168]). The focus of the exhibit is this—ideas and images that have been projected onto, invented, and imagined about the Colosseum in the centuries between the close of the ancient gladiatorial games and the dawn of the selfie.

The exhibit is divided into...

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