Your Ultimate Guide To the Colosseum: Everything You Need to Know

Aggiornamento: mag 9

There’s something about holidaying in Rome that’s rather niggling. It really can be a love/hate affair. The tourist crowds are overwhelming, the humidity can be flustering, and the pace of the city can leave you breathless. But nowhere else in the world will you witness so many architectural wonders in one place, all mingled into the modern markings of everyday city life. And nowhere else in the world can you walk the path of ancient Romans and breathe the air of the Flavian dynasty before stepping back out to grab a slice and an Aperol spritz at a bustling café.

Rome is much more than just a holiday or a cultural travel experience. Traveling to Rome is very much a project and when you’re visiting ancient sites such as the grand Colosseum, you need to have a plan. This incredible structure, also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, is one of the most popular attractions in the city and it attracts over 5 million people every single year. Visiting the Colosseum and other nearby sites such as the Pantheon and the Vatican can be as exhausting as it is fascinating – so it pays to be prepared. If you’re planning a visit and you need Colosseum Rome information, here is everything you need to know including history, interesting facts, tickets and pricing, and how to get there.

What is the Colosseum? History of Colosseum

Where is the Colosseum?

Tickets & Entry for the Colosseum What to See at the Colosseum Insider Tips Further Reading

The Flavian Amphitheater (Colosseum)

What is the Colosseum

The Colosseum is an oval shaped amphitheatre in the centre of Rome and it is the largest amphitheatre ever built, making it one of the greatest wonders of the world. Still very much intact, the Colosseum is one of the best-kept ruins of the Roman Empire and this site dates all the way back as far as AD 72 under the rule of emperor Vespasian. Built of concrete and sand, it is estimated that it once held up to 80,000 people at any one time. The average audience for events was around 65,000 heads and the oval theatre was a stage for gladiators and public spectacles. The arena itself measured over 83 metres by 48 metres and just like we’ve seen in the all the fictional films and recreations, this area featured a vast underground structure called the “hypogeum”, a place where historians believe that gladiators, prisoners and animals were held; this underground area is still very much visible now. Situated just east of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, the Colosseum and its sister sites form one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. For those looking to explore this spellbinding and magical part of Rome, be sure to set aside a few days so that you can thoroughly explore your surroundings.

History of the Colosseum

This oval theater is a true representation of the Flavian Dynasty and became a continued project throughout the generations of the famous royal trio; Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. Construction of the Colosseum began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and it was later completed under the rule of his successor and son, the heir to this throne, Titus in AD 80. The amphitheater received several more modifications under the rule of Domitian, the younger brother and successor to Titus between AD 81 and AD 96. By 217, the Colosseum was badly damaged. Historical records tell us that it was struck by lightning, which then caused a huge fire and much of the upper levels and the wooden arena area were completely taken out. Repairs took place between the years of 250 and 252 and as far as historians can tell, gladiator events were still being recorded up to the year AD 435. By Medieval times, the Colosseum had changed drastically and was becoming a site that provided multiple uses to the public; changes included the addition of a chapel, the arena has been transformed into a cemetery, the under seating areas had been used to create housing, and other areas were renovated into workshops and stalls. Around 1200, the amphitheater was even being inhabited as a castle and by the 16th Century, there were talks of turning it into a wool factory under the instruction of Pope Sixtus V. So throughout history, this unique site has provided the world with much purpose but even today through all of its mutations and transformations, visitors can still get a sense of the original Flavian Amphitheatre. And this archaeological wonder is very much a depiction of life in ancient times for the people of Rome.

Facts about the Colosseum

Getting under the skin of the site’s history can really help you make the most out of your visit. Here are 7 interesting facts that you may not know about the Colosseum… • There are 80 entrances to the Colosseum – this Roman amphitheater really is huge. But even when you’re in there, amongst all the tourist crowds, it’s hard to understand the vast size of it all. There are 80 entrances to get into the building, which really brings home the sheer vastness of this space. • It’s the largest amphitheater ever built – it’s the largest amphitheater in the world to have ever been built to our knowledge. It stands 48 metre high (which is only 8 metres shorter than the Leaning Tower of Pisa) and it covers a total area of 6 acres (24,000 m2). • There are 5 million tourists every year – visiting the Colosseum is one of the most popular things to do in the city and it attracts more than 5 million people per year. • There are 36 trap doors – used as an arena for shows, games, tournaments and plenty of public spectacles, it’s no surprise that the Romans built trap doors to assist in their special effects. There are said to be 36 of these doors dotted around the arena and one has been recently rebuilt. * It took less than 10 years to build – started by the emperor Vespasian and completed by his son Titus, this vast oval theater only took 10 years to build (with some further modifications in the years to follow). With such a huge space and so much seating, it seems almost impossible that the Colosseum was completed so quickly. But it was finished in less than a decade due to the 60,000 Jewish slaves who worked on it day in, day out. * The Colosseum survived two earthquakes – there are lots of different events through time which have caused damage to the Colosseum but the two major causes were the earthquakes which occurred in 847 AD and 1231 AD. * The Colosseum was a gift to the Roman people – this amazing monument is a lasting symbol of the Flavian dynasty; the emperors Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. Historians believe that the amphitheater was built as a gift to the people and was used to bring the people closer together through entertainment.

Visiting The Colosseum

Where is the Colosseum?

The Colosseum and the Palatine are located in the central area of Rome. Close to the Roman Forum and also the Piazza Venezia, this site is conveniently placed near other tourist attractions and amenities. Your nearest Metro station is Colosseo (Line B) which is just 1 minutes away from the site itself and although the Metro service in the city isn’t the best for getting around the central districts, all of Rome’s top attractions are actually very well serviced. There are also a number of bus stops in the nearby area, with an option of a Hop-on/Hop-off bus service if you wish to see several sights in one day. Alternatively, you can get a taxi or use the Uber app on your phone to get a price quote before you agree to a taxi fare with the driver. But please bear in mind that on Sundays, motor traffic is forbidden in some limited traffic zones (for example Via dai Fori Imperiali, that is the street connecting Piazza Venezia and the Colosseum, across the Imperial and Roman Forum) so you will have to plan your transport in advance or set aside enough time for walking/cycling.

Colosseum Tickets

When it comes to getting your tickets for the Coloss