the colosseum in rome

The Colosseum in Rome is an extraordinary place that deserves to be visited at least once in a lifetime. Keep reading for useful information about the monument and where to buy tickets.

After receiving over 90 million votes thanks to an initiative undertaken by B. Weber, the Colosseum was included in the list of New Wonders of the World and was declared by former UNESCO Director General, Spaniard Federico Mayor, a masterpiece of unquestionable value, loved by Romans and the world. More than 7 million tourists visit it every year.

Tickets and Guided tours for the Colosseum in Rome

the colosseum’s structure

Rome’s Colossus, the description of city’s Colosseum, the arena, the seats and the exterior, the ancient genius, the architecture of the Flavian Amphitheatre Colosseum of Rome.

Roman buildings are famous throughout the world for their solidity and their genius. The architecture of the Colosseum is the subject of study by various experts. It is a complex and articulated structure, solid and harmonious and some of mechanisms used during the shows, for example, the flooding during the ludi with boats, are still operational today.

The Roman engineers learnt their trade from the Greek theatre. In the past, in fact, the vertical structure of the building was necessary to fit the most spectators and get them as close as possible to the scene.

In the construction of the Greek theatre, the natural slope of the hills was exploited, but the genius of the Roman engineers was that of uniting the supporting structures of two theatres to form an all-round theatre (amphitheatron) that could hold twice as many spectators.

All this was made possible by the evolution of building techniques, experience gained over the years and new and revolutionary building materials.

In fact, it’s genius, the experience and the technology combined that gave birth to the amphitheatrum flavium, an amazing theatre that housed a huge mass of people around a great show.

52 meters high, the equivalent of a 17-storey structure, the Colosseum manages to stand up thanks to the brilliant construction technique of the arch, the architectural element used by the Romans to build aqueducts. As many as 80 arches over four floors create the famous elliptical shape of the Colosseum, which could hold up to 70,000 spectators.

History of Rome's Colosseum

your visit to the Colosseum

how to get here

The Colosseum and the Palatine Hill are located in the centre of Rome. Close to the Roman Forum and Piazza Venezia, this site is in a convenient location close to other tourist attractions and services. The nearest metro station is Colosseo (Line B), which is only 1 minute away from the site.

         when to go

It might seem crazy to spend double the money and double the time, but like many wonders of the world, the Colosseum deserves to be seen both at day and night. We recommend a nighttime visit to the illuminated Colosseum.

    other monuments 

Take your time to visit properly. The Colosseum, the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum cover a great deal of space and with so many crowds of tourists around, it can take quite a few hours to get to everything you want to see.

    the weather

Spring (April to June) and autumn (September and October) are the best times: the weather is nice and there are many festivals and outdoor events. But even a visit in the winter, or in the rain, has its charm.

Colosseum Tickets: Ticket Office and Information about the Colosseum in Rome

When it comes to getting tickets for the Colosseum, there are a number of options you can consider. Booking your ticket online is often the easiest choice for many tourists because it eliminates the long waiting times when buying tickets from the ticket office. For travellers who have not planned ahead, there are the feared ticket offices. But don’t be fooled into thinking the desk outside the Colosseum is the only place where you can buy a ticket. The queues here are long, so if you don’t have time to wait, try one of the other nearby ticket offices. Or you can go on a tour.

buy tickets online

Quotes about the Colosseum

J.W Goethe

“..we came to the Colosseum at twilight. Once one has seen it, everything else seems small. It is so huge that the mind cannot retain its image; one remembers it as smaller than it is, so that every time one returns to it, one is astounded by its size.”

D.H Lawrence

“Behold then Septimus Dodge returning to Dodge-town victorious. Not crowned with laurel, it is true, but wreathed in lists of things he has seen and sucked dry. Seen and sucked dry, you know: Venus de Milo, the Rhine or the Coliseum: swallowed like so many clams, and left the shells.”

Venerable Bede

“While the Coliseum stands, Rome shall stand; when the Coliseum falls, Rome shall fall; when Rome falls, the world shall fall.”

Athenagoras of Athens

“We have rejected such spectacles as the Coliseum. How then, when we do not even look on killing lest we should contract guilt and pollution, can we put people to death?”

Charles Caleb Colton

“Genius, when employed in works whose tendency it is to demoralize and to degrade us, should be contemplated with abhorrence rather than with admiration; such a monument of its power, may indeed be stamped with immortality, but like the Coliseum at Rome, we deplore its magnificence because we detest the purposes for which it was designed.”

Lord Byron

“When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls–the World.”

There are many myths and legends about the Colosseum and we treat them as such. Searching, reading and listening, we have gathered some curiosities that come from the past and some questions that came out of the present. The first thing to be dealt with certainly concerns the name of the Colosseum and since and why it began to be used instead of the Flavian Amphitheatre.

The origin is not certain. Many like the idea that the name “Colosseum” descends from the “Colossus” of Nero, a huge statue (in the likeness of the sun god), 30m high, which stood next to the amphitheatre more or less where the entrance to the underground station is today. Others simply think that the name underlines the (colossal) size of the monument itself and another theory traces it back to the place where the amphitheatre rises, the ancient “collis isei” or the Isis Temple that was on the Mountain Opium and gave its name to the district, called “iseo”.

There is also a curious legend that the colosseum was a temple inhabited by demons. At the end of each ceremony, the priests of this temple turned to the adepts with the question: “colis eum?” (Do you adore him? that is, venerate the head of these demons? referring to the devil); hence the name coliseum.

The history of the demons lasted a long time since Benvenuto Cellini talks about it in one of his stories. One night, he went to the Colosseum to attend demonic demonstrations with his friend Agnolino Gaddi and so frightened they “fece una istrombazzata di coregge con tanta abundanzia di merda, la quale potette molto più che la zaffetica” and all the devils fled in great fury. Starting from the 8th century, the Flavian amphitheatre was called Colyseus, for the first time, in an epigram of the from the Venerable Bede:

quamdiu stabat colyseus stabit et roma; quamdo cadet colyseus cadet et roma; quamdo cadet roma cadet et mundus – As long as the Colosseum resists, Rome will also resist; when the Colosseum falls, Rome will also fall; when Rome falls, the world will also fall.

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1. Colossal… dimensions

The Colosseum is an 189 metre-long and 156 metre-wide elliptical building, covering an area of ​​24,000 square metres with a height of more than 48 metres. It has about 80 entrances and could accommodate about 50,000 spectators.

2. Work in progress

It took just over 5 years to build from 75 to 80 AD. Only 100,000 cubic metres of travertine were used for the outer wall.

3. A name, a mystery

Originally, it was called the Flavian Amphitheatre (it was built by Vespasian and Tito of the Flavian dynasty). The name “Colosseum” appeared only in the Middle Ages. The most widely accepted theory suggests it got the name because it was built near the statue of Nero’s “Colossus”, which stood a few metres from the amphitheatre. Others say the name comes from its position, since it’s located on a hill where the Temple of Isis stood (hence Collis Isei). But there’s also a dark legend that says it was once a pagan temple where the locals worshiped the devil. At the end of each ceremony, the priests would ask “Colis Eum?” (“Do you love him?”).

4. Without the Colosseum, many of Rome’s historic buildings wouldn’t exist.

The marble of the facade and some of the Colosseum’s interior structure were used to build the Basilica of San Pietro and civil buildings like Palazzo Barberini. Fallen into neglect, the amphitheatre was used as a source for building materials throughout Rome. The pilfering ended only in the 18th century, when the locals rediscovered their love for their ancient ruins. It is estimated that only a third of the original construction remains today. The rest was carted off and used elsewhere over the centuries.

more fun facts about the colosseum

photos of the colosseum and colosseum at night

see all our colosseum photos>

@tripadvisor reviews

awe inspiring

The Colosseum is impressive, even from a couple of streets away. Up close and inside. It is awe inspiring. To think that this building was built almost 2000 years ago, left me speechless.

Roberta Esposito

nothing beats it

Visited Rome as part of a cruise holiday. The Colosseum is awe inspiring and is well worth waiting in the long queues to get in. Anyone visiting Rome should put it on their to do list, it is reasonable priced and accessible to all travellers.

Io Viaggio in Famiglia

incredible

There was some calmness and familiarity about being at the colosseum. Absolutely awe inspiring architecture… was amazed with how people centuries ago could make such a marvelous structure that today’s generation with so many gadgets and technology can’t even fathom !

Iaiaontour

holiday 

If you want to save money get there early and queue. Fast track options are available to jump the queues but will cost you a lot more!! If you want to get into places inside the site that is not standard you have to get a guide(pay more). Lots of touts trying to sell you tickets gets very annoying. The Colosseum is BIG. History at its best.
Second time I’ve been and still awe inspiring.

Forest Paolo

wow

Very cool to be amongst ruins from the antiquities and touch and walk the same places the Romans were 2000 years ago. Take a proper guided tour to get the most out of your visit. Get tickets online ahead of time cause the lineups are insane. Most of all, take your time and contemplate everything around you.

Marco673

can’t be missed

To know that you’re viewing the largest amphitheatre ever built, with construction starting in 70AD is awe-inspiring. We took a guided tour throughout the Colusseum, up to the top as well as down below where the gladiators awaited their turns. Quite fascinating and highly recommended.

RLR53

a must see

How can you come to Rome and not take a tour of the Colosseum? A bit of advise, pay for a skip the line tour. We came at the end of the “shoulder” season and it was still very busy! The cue for tickets was out of control. I bet it was at least a few hours long. Yes, hours! We were so glad that we purchases ahead of time and chose “skip the line.” There is still a cue for security, but it’s much faster to go through if you are on a guided tour.

We used The Roman Guy’s Colosseum underground, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum tour. I am a firm believer in “you get what you pay for” when it comes to tours. Our tour was smallish with only around 18 tourists.

Francesco

what a sight

What a sight. This was a highlight of our trip and was made even better by the bright blue sky. We arrived by the underground metro and the colloseo station exits right next to the colosseum. We had pre-booked tickets for 8:30, the first entrance of the day and it was amazing to see with the masses of people. As the morning progressed it for much busier and the large tour groups were difficult to pass. The colosseum gave a great view to the surrounding areas and it was as interesting to look out as in. It was awe inspiring. I’d definitely recommend an early visit, the early start is worth it as we also had a quiet time at the Roman Forum as the crowds did the colosseum and then the Roman Forum and palantine hill.

Osimo

you must visit

No matter what your interests, I think a tour around the Colosseum is a must during your visit. Absolutely amazing, you cannot even begin to fathom what used to happen in this awe inspiring structure all those years ago, but the tour definitely gets your imagination working!!!
Be aware of the sellers and thieves around the area, just keep your wits about you. I highly recommend booking a Skip The Line tour, you really do skip the HUGE lines to get in.

Giuliano C