Colosseum

roma colosseo

The Colosseum is definitely the most famous monument of the ancient world, and it has been watching over the city of Rome for nearly two thousand years. Its bricks and travertine slabs are the symbol of the city but also of the entire Roman civilization.

Tour guidato con ingresso prioritario Colosseo, Foro romano e Palatino su Get Your guide

HISTORY OF THE FLAVIAN AMPHITHEATER

The Flavian Amphitheater is a building with extraordinary history and proportions. It was constructed under Vespasian and then under his son Titus between 72 and 80 AD in a valley between the Palatine Hill, the Oppian Hill, and the Caelian Hill, at that time crossed by a stream that flowed towards the Tiber. Domitian later transformed it. The three emperors are known as the Flavian dynasty, hence the association of the amphitheater’s name with their family. The name more commonly used, “Colosseum”, was given during the Middle Ages and derives from a massive bronze statue of Nero erected nearby, which, due to its size, was known as the Colossus of Nero.

il colosseo di roma

It is the largest amphitheater in the ancient world: the plan is an ellipse of 527 meters in circumference, while the arena measures 86 meters by 54. Originally, it reached a height of 52 meters. It could hold up to 50,000 spectators and was used for hunting shows, gladiator battles, and staging of dramas concerning classical mythology.

Damaged by an earthquake in 440, it was abandoned in the 6th century. Used for a brief period as a fortress, it began the period in which it was literally stripped of its coverings. In the 1600s, it was venerated by the Church as a site of Christian martyrdom, although there is no historical evidence of this use. In the nineteenth century, significant restorations of the building began, and in the 1930s, the underground areas were brought to light.

If you want to visit this exceptional monument in the evening, with Get Your Guide, you can book a Colosseum night tour that will take you on an evening tour of the amphitheater and the underground.

Il parco archeologico del Colosseo

The Colosseum Archaeological Park includes not only the Flavian Amphitheater, but also other important monuments of ancient Rome such as the Arch of Constantine, the Domus Aurea, the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill, and the Meta Sudans.

Download the map of the Colosseum Archaeological Park.

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The Arch of Constantine

Near the Colosseum, you can also admire the Arch of Constantine, built in 315 to celebrate the emperor’s victory over Maxentius. Marble slabs taken from earlier buildings were used in its construction, and the reliefs and statues that decorate it tell of the deeds of Constantine, but also of the victories of Marcus Aurelius and Hadrian.

The Roman Forum

The valley of the Forum among the seven hills of Rome was originally a swamp. Toward the end of the 7th century BC, after the drainage of the swamp, the Roman Forum was created, becoming the center of Roman public life for over a millennium. Over the centuries, it was enriched with various monuments: buildings for political, religious, and commercial activities. During the 2nd century BC, basilicas were built where judicial activities took place. By the end of the Republican era, the ancient Forum was already insufficient to manage the city’s administrative life best.

The Domus Aurea

Following the fire of 64 AD, which destroyed much of Rome’s center, Emperor Nero began constructing a new residence, known in history for its splendor and grandiosity as the Domus Aurea. The villa consisted of a series of buildings separated by gardens, woods, and even an artificial lake located in the valley where the Colosseum now stands. The main complexes were located on the Palatine and the Oppian. After Nero’s death, his successors wanted to erase every trace of his reign, stripping the halls of their coatings and sculptures and filling them with earth.

The pavilions that can be visited today are those on the Oppian Hill, probably intended for parties and banquets, which after Nero’s death were covered by the great Baths of Trajan, remaining unknown until the Renaissance.

The Domus Aurea, as of June 2023, is open for visits every day of the week, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, with guided tours of the ongoing exhibition.

The Palatine

The Palatine preserves the remains of Iron Age settlements referring to the oldest nucleus of the city of Rome. It was the site of important city cults, including that of the Magna Mater (Cybele), and between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, the hill became the residential district of the Roman aristocracy, with refined homes characterized by exceptional pictorial and floor decorations, such as those preserved in the House of the Griffins. It then became the site of the great imperial palaces.

The Meta Sudans

It was a monumental fountain that 4th-century sources call Meta Sudans for its conical shape. It was in use until the 5th century AD when the water outflow channels began to be obstructed. The ruins were demolished in 1933 for the construction of Via dei Trionfi, and today only the foundations are visible. We can reconstruct its original appearance thanks to coin depictions and drawings made at the time of demolition: it consisted of a marble-clad cylindrical base, perhaps articulated in niches, with a conical upper element decorated on top by a flower or a sphere.

Also check out the other beautiful archaeological areas of Rome to visit and the other archaeological sites and parks in Lazio. You might also be interested in the guided tours of Rome and its surroundings that we have selected for you.

Colosserum Hours

The Colosseum is open every day with the following hours:

08:30 AM – 4:30 PM: from the last Sunday in October to February 15th

08:30 AM – 5:00 PM: from February 16th to March 15th

08:30 AM – 5:30 PM: from March 16th to the last Saturday in March.

08:30 AM – 7:15 PM: from the last Sunday in March until August 31st

09:00 AM – 7:00 PM: from September 1st to September 30th

09:00 AM – 6:30 PM: from October 1st to the last Saturday in October Last admission one hour before closing The Colosseum is closed on January 1st and December 25th

Tickets

Colosseum tickets can be purchased online (recommended) and on-site.

24H Ticket Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine: valid only on the day of booking; full price €16. Available online only.

Full Experience Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine: valid for two consecutive days; full price €22. Available online only.

The ticket is valid for two consecutive days.

Domus Aurea: Full price €18 – reduced €14.

Free admission on the first Sunday of the month.

Guided Tours

Here are some guided tour options published by the top industry players.


Where to Stay in Rome

Booking.com

Contacts

Piazza S. Maria Nova, 53 – 00186 Roma

email: pa-colosseo@cultura.gov.it

How to Reach the Colosseum

The Colosseum is located in the heart of Rome’s historic center. You can get there with a spectacular walk through the Imperial Forums that connect Piazza Venezia to the amphitheater. This way, you can see both the Colosseum and the Imperial Forums in a single spectacular route.

There are also many options for using public transport:

Metro: Line B, Colosseo stop

Bus: Bus lines 60, 75, 85, 87, 271, 571, 175, 186, 810, 850, C3.

Electric minibus 117