The Roman Colosseum, a.k.a. “Amphitheatrum Flavium” (Flavian Amphitheatre), is one of the major tourist attractions in Rome and is the world’s largest amphiteater ever built.
Its construction began under the emperor Vespasian in 72 d.C. and was completed under Titus in 80 d.C.. The Colosseum was used mainly for gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, executions,re-enactments of famous battles and other kinds of spectacles.
The Colosseum could hold up to 75.000 spectators. Each sector was reserved to a specific class of citizens, based on their importance. However, the entrance was free for anybody.
Spectators were shielded from the sun thanks to a huge velarium, which consisted of a canvas-covered, net-like structure made of ropes, with a hole in the center. During the spectacles, a metallic net was disposed around the arena, to prevent animals from getting out.
The arena comprised a wooden floor covered by sand, covering a large underground structure called the hypogeum. Men and animals were lifted from underground to the surface thanks to a complex system of elevators and pulleys.
The spectacles at Colosseum weren’t very frequent, but the could last several days. In 107 d.C, Trajan is said to have celebrated his victories in Dacia in 107 d.C with contests involving 11,000 animals and 10,000 gladiators over the course of 123 days.
Usually the daily program was the following:
- morning: venationes (hunts or fights between men and animals)
- lunch time: executions
- afternoon: gladiators contests
Watch a video with the reconstruction of the Colosseum by Altair 4, and find out the DVD Ancient Rome in 3D:
Would you like to know more about the history of Colosseum, of gladiators and discover how roman monuments were in the ancient times?
Find out our Rome guide book, with detailed history and Past & Present images of the Colosseum, Pantheon, Roman Forum and the most important monuments of the Eternal City.
At the following links you can find the detailed history of the Colosseum, the opening times, ticket prices, the best hotels in the area, and the directions to get there from Termini station:
- Opening times and ticket prices
- Hotels near the Colosseum
- Directions from Termini to Colosseum
Where it is located:
The Colosseum is a few minutes walking from the Roman Forum, Piazza Venezia, Via del Corso and Campidoglio. Watch the map: