Built near the Roman Forum by Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD, the largest amphitheater every built in the world has almost 2,000 years of stories to tell.
Originally named the Flavian Amphitheater, the Colosseum could hold up to 50,000 spectators. It was the stage for the famous gladiators fights in Ancient Rome and other shows, executions and battle simulations so the Roman people could learn about the feats of the heroes that defended and expanded the Roman Empire.
In total, the monument has 4 floors and reaches a height of 50m. Its elliptical shape, with a total diameter varying between 187m and 155m, is completely iconic.
On its exterior, the Colosseum once was composed of 80 arches that covered its circular perimeter. Each arch was individually embellished with marble statues – but these statues were eventually stolen in the various invasions that Ancient and Modern Rome suffered. The walls and arches have also suffered with the passing of time – earthquakes caused some of them to crumble and you can definitely see some places where the structure suffered more. Still, with almost 2,000 years, the Colosseum is extremely well preserved. The Romans really did construct buildings to last!
Inside, the Colosseum is even more incredible. It’s as you walk in that you can admire the great arena, try to see where the emperor would sit and where the people would cheer for the famous gladiator fights.
As soon as we walked in, we felt like we were on the set of Gladiator! Admiring the traces of this ancient construction, imagining the fights held here, being able to see with our own eyes where the animals would come out of… It felt like we had traveled centuries back in time!
The Colosseum of Rome is the eternal building in the Eternal City. It was recently considered one of the 7 New Wonders of the World and being able to admire this site is a privilege we should all enjoy at least once in life. But visiting the Colosseum isn’t always easy – after all, more than 4 million people visit every year! Here are our tips to enjoy your visit to the fullest:
ESCAPE THE LINES
Since the Colosseum is one of the most visited monuments in the world, be prepared for waiting in lines to get in and moving around crowds inside. But it’s not all bad news! There are many ways to avoid these waiting lines and one of them is as simple as purchasing your ticket in advance. There are many ways to do this! First, you can choose to purchase a guided tour through a travel agency. If you don’t want to pay more for a guided tour, you can just get your ticket online or on Palatine Hill (some 200m from the Colosseum) where the lines are much smaller. If you’re going to be in Rome for a few days, it might even make sense to buy the Roma Pass that gives you access to a bunch of monuments in the city and some discounts – all without having to ever wait in line!
Even with your pre-purchased ticket, the lines to get in can become inevitable if you arrive at the Colosseum on its most popular visiting hours. Those of you who don’t like to wake up early won’t like this tip, but this is just the truth: the earlier you arrive, the less people you’ll find (in line and inside!). The Colosseum opens at 8:30am so we advise you to arrive a few minutes earlier (8:15am is a good time) to be one of the first to get in and take photos of the Colosseum inside without any tourists around.
VISIT AT NIGHT
The Colosseum should, of course, be visited during the day. But it’s undeniable that the monument looks completely enchanting when it’s all lit up at night. Even if you just go to take some photos or to enjoy a gelato on a summer night, there is no better nightscape in Rome that the Colosseum with its lights.
For €12, you can purchase a ticket that is valid for two days and will give you access to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. EU residents aged between 18 and 25 years old pay €7 and children under 17 can visit for free. Opening hours change throughout the year so visit this website for up-to-date information.
honeymooners, Rome 09/2014