The Colosseum - Flavian Amphitheatre
Constructed between 70 and 80 AD, this is the largest amphitheatre ever built.
The Colosseum is undoubtedly one of the most iconic monuments of the ancient world. At 48 m high, and 545 m in circumference, this was by far the largest of all the Roman amphitheatres. While the basic style and design was used in cities throughout the Roman World, the size and attention to detail was never matched anywhere else. The highly sophisticated construction techniques employed here allowed the amphitheatre to be used for a wide range of events. Besides the usual gladiatorial contests and animal hunts and executions, other public spectacles and dramas such as the re-enactment of famous battles, mock sea battles and dramas based on Classical mythology were also performed here. And it is estimated anywhere between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators could be accommodated.
Construction work on the amphitheatre started in 70 AD, and it was inaugurated ten years later. Work begun under Vespasian, and was completed by his son Titus, with substantive modifications during he reign of Emperor Domitian (81 – 96 AD). These three emperors make up the Flavian Dynasty, and why the Colosseum is also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre.
Planning Your Visit
Last Sunday of October to 15 February,
08h30 to 16h30
16 February to 15 March,
08h30 to 17h00
16 March to last Saturday of March,
08h30 to 17h30
Last Sunday of March to 31 August,
08h30 to 19h15
1 September to 30 September,
08h30 to 19h00
1 October to last Sunday of October,
08h30 to 18h30
Last admission is 1 hour before closing time.
Closed on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December each year.
Official Website with a good brochure available in Italian, English, French and Spanish
Facilities & Visiting the Colosseum:
What not to miss during your visit:
There are a number of interesting Roman era landmarks right next to the Colosseum that really should not be overlooked. There is, for example, the Base of Colossus (base of large guilded bronze statue of the sun god), Meta Sudans (circular foundations of a monumental foundations) the Arch of Constantine, the Baths of Titus and the Baths Trajan (both of which are in the park to north of the Colosseum) and the Boundary Stones (five bollard like stones to the east of the amphitheatre, the function of which is not certain). But perhaps one of the most overlooked set of remains is that of the Ludus Magnus, the main gladiators’ barracks and practice arena.
Archaeology Travel’s Tip for visiting the Colosseum:
The Colosseum is one of many sites and museums in Rome included on the Roma Pass scheme. With the Roma Pass, the first two sites you visit are free, the third and subsequent sites/museums are discounted. So if the Colosseum is the most expensive attraction on your list – use your Roma Pass there first. Note: entrance to the Colosseum also includes entrance to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Read my article on getting the most out of your Roma Pass.
And do not overlook all the archaeology to be seen from the streets – for free. Using the Colosseum as a starting point, follow my two hour archaeological walk on the streets of Rome.
Where is the Colosseum?
The Colosseum is just over the road from the Colosseo station on the Metro B line. As indicated on the map, there are a number of other archaeological sites nearby, and within easy walking distance.
- The historic centre of Rome on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites
- Archaeology Travel article: Photographs of the Colosseum made out of Lego
- Archaeology Travel article: From Rome to London: Amphitheatres of the Roman World
- Archaeology Travel article: Going Behind, Beneath & Beyond Rome’s Top Attractions
The Colosseum in the News
- The Australian (July 2017): Q&A: Dr Rossella Rea, 63, director of the Colosseum, Rome
- The Express (January 2017): NO GO zone: Rome’s Colosseum could be sealed OFF after break in and vandalism
- Reuters (August 2013): Cars banned on Colosseum street by Rome’s cycling mayor