Colosseum, Rome

4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - 491 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Colosseum
    by GentleSpirit
  • Colosseum
    by imeley
  • Colosseum
    by Littlerachelbee
  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Ghosts of Gladiators

    by goodfish Updated Apr 9, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    Originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater, this largest of Roman arenas was constructed between 70 and 80 AD on the former site of Nero's artificial lake. That very naughty emperor claimed as his own a large area of Rome which had been devastated in the great fire of 64 AD, and built the lake, extensive gardens and a lavish palace (Domus Aurea) in the space. He also supposedly had an enormous likeness of his cheeky self cast in bronze and placed near his new house for all to admire. It was this statue, the Colossus of Nero, that is believed to be from which the Colosseum acquired its revised name. Anyway, Nero's evil ways caught up with him and after he rather reluctantly cut his own throat to escape slow death by flogging, his successor, Vespasian, reclaimed the land for the public. The new emperor had most of the palace torn down, gave the colossus a new, non-Nero-like head, filled in the lake and ordered the building of this massive entertainment center for the people of Rome.

    A couple of interesting facts:

    • The design was so efficient for filling and emptying the arena of thousands of people in a hurry that it's still the model for athletic stadiums built two thousand years later

    • Although all events were free, everyone had to have a ticket and were seated according to their social class

    • The exterior walls were once covered with marble which was later looted to make quicklime or reused as building material for other structures

    • While many unfortunates perished here in games of weaponry and spectacles involving wild animals, there is no record that any of them were Christians martyred for religion. Most casualties were gladiators or condemned prisoners.

    • Almost as an apology for its violent history, the Colosseum is now an international symbol of support for abolishment of the death penalty. Whenever a death sentence is commuted anywhere in the world or any country abolishes capital punishment (a requirement for joining the EU) the ruins are illuminated with gold versus the white lighting normally used.

    There's too much to cover here so do some reading before you go. I'm including the URL for the site with entree fees, hours, etc. Tickets include entry to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, and are good for 2 days: buy them at Palatine Hill to avoid the worst of the lines! Audioguides are available as are guided tours:

    http://www.060608.it/en/cultura-e-svago/beni-culturali/beni-archeologici/colosseo-anfiteatro-flavio.html

    You may also pre-order tickets here:
    http://www.coopculture.it/en/the-colosseum.cfm

    And see my tip on Chiosco Bar for a great place to take a breather in Parco Colle Oppio just down the street:

    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/1d0994/#review=page12

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Colosseum

    by Romagirly Written Mar 25, 2014

    We had limited time in this great city so had to suffice with a walk around this magnificent structure!!!. We were in awe of its magnitude and could feel the history that surrounds it, we very much hope to return to Rome and spent more time appreciating the beauty that lies here.

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Roman Building Efficiency.

    by breughel Updated Mar 14, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Colosseum - outside
    2 more images

    What surprised me most with the Flavian amphitheatre is that this huge construction with a circumference of about 540 m and 50 m high was build within a period of only six years (excepting some decorative elements who took more time).
    The construction of the Coliseum is a brilliant example of the efficiency of the Imperial Roman organisation.
    The main material is travertine of which it is estimated that 100 thousand m³ were used, with 6000 tons of concrete (so called "Roman concrete") for the vaults and 300 tons of iron clamps to fasten the stone blocks together. I read that to speed up the construction the building site was divided in four operational sectors - quadrants attributed to four different contractors following a meticulous plan.
    If nothing is known about the architect of the Coliseum, we know from Suetone that Emperor Vespasien puts hands at work and removed and carried a load of rubble on his back.
    VT members who are interested in the technique of this antique building can find full details on
    www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Roman_Colosseum.html.

    The money for the building came according to an inscription whose translation means:
    "Emperor Caesar Vespasian Augustus had this new amphitheatre erected with the spoils of war" probably the Palestinian war and the plundering of the Temple of Jerusalem.

    The spectacle inside the amphitheatre was not as glorious as the construction.
    For the inauguration in 80 AD by the Emperor Titus there were 100 days of "munera" i.e. fights with gladiators and "venationes" fights with wild animals.
    The difference between Greek and Roman mentality was very visible here. Romans liked strong emotions; entertainment showing more dignity like athletic competitions was not in favour with the Roman public as it was with the Greeks.

    Open all days from 08.30 h.
    Closing times: 16.30 h in winter, increasing to 19.00 h in summer
    Attention: closed on 1/01 and 25/12 !

    Tickets available at the Coliseum but also at the "biglietterie" of the Palatino, via di San Gregoriano, 30 or Piazza Santa Maria Nova, 53 at 200m from the Coliseum (also the ticket offices of the Forum as the ticket is a combined one).
    Price (2014): normal 12 €, reduced 7,50 € for EU citizens between 18 and 24 years old. (on line + 1.50 or 2 €). Free for EU citizens less than 18 or 65 years old.

    Renovation: Diego Della Valle, owner of Tod's shoe company, will invest 25 million euros in the renovation of the Coliseum. The amphitheater looks black from the pollution and the vibrations of the nearby subway make bricks fall down. The renovation will last for 3 years. The monument will remain open to the public.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    Fifty years ago and now.

    by breughel Updated Feb 15, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Colosseo at night.
    1 more image

    We started from Brussels and on the third day morning we arrived in Rome; traffic was fluid. We aimed at the Colosseum, turned around the monument and parked our car, a Fiat 600, in front of it without any obstruction by anybody.
    We quietly admired the Colosseum. For me it was the first time, my wife had already visited Rome.
    That was in 1966.

    Things have slightly (euphemism) changed since then. Since August 2013 even the access by the Via dei Fori Imperiale is closed for traffic.

    On our last visit we stayed in a hotel close to the monument so that we could see it from the terrace and walk around in the evening when the crowds are gone and the atmosphere with the illuminations of the monuments changes from touristy in day time to some romantic as we like to imagine antiquity.

    As for the monument itself I think I wrote everything I could in my reviews :

    "Roman Building Efficiency".
    "The Coliseum and the Martyrs."
    "The Coliseum in the Middle Ages."

    Was this review helpful?

  • Littlerachelbee's Profile Photo

    Ancient Wonder

    by Littlerachelbee Written Jan 4, 2014

    Beautiful place, lots of history. Plan to spend at least 3 hours here as the museum takes quite some time. I highly recommend being in a tour if you want to learn in depth about the Colosseum. I went in May and it was slightly crowded, but nothing one can't deal with. Overall I was impressed.

    Was this review helpful?

  • shavy's Profile Photo

    Colosseum

    by shavy Written Jan 3, 2014
    Interior of the Colosseum
    4 more images

    The name of the Colosseum means in Latin titanic, it was chosen this name because in addition to the Colosseum a 32 meter high statue of Nero stood, in which he was portrayed as a sun god

    The Colosseum in Rome has a circumference of more than 500 meters and the height of the facade is almost 50 meters.

    The basis of it is concrete, brick and tuff and were originally the seat of the senior richly decorated with marble and ornaments.
    Is always very crowded place to visit summer or winter

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    The Coliseum in the Middle Ages.

    by breughel Updated Dec 25, 2013

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Coliseum - Flora
    1 more image

    The end of the games occurred in the 5th c. The taste of the public changed, the declining Empire entered in a military and financial crisis. The expenses needed to organize the shows were so enormous that the function of the amphitheatre became obsolete.
    Although damaged by earthquakes in the fifth century, it seems that the Coliseum remained nearly intact till the 8-9th century.

    In the 11th c. it became the property of the Frangipani family, with whose palace it was connected by a series of constructions. In the 14th c. the Coliseum belonged to the municipality of Rome; a third of the building was used as hospital. Very bad for the Coliseum was the earthquake of 1349 by which the western and southern portion of the shell collapsed. The enormous mass of stone mainly travertine of this part of the structure served as a quarry for the Romans. Four churches were erected in the vicinity from this material. Many thousands of cartloads of travertine from the Coliseum were carried off by contractors.
    It should be noted that in the Middle Ages the Coliseum was not considered as a sanctuary of the martyrs. This idea developed only in the 17th c. where an end was put to the plunder.

    The growing vegetation in the wall cracks increased the damage to the structure.
    Since 1643 botanists are studying the plants and their variation over the centuries at the Coliseum (684 species have been identified). A well-documented history of flora shows the monument's progress from slum to tourist attraction!

    Open all days from 08.30 h.
    Closing times: 16.30 h in winter, increasing to 19.00 h in summer
    Attention: closed on 1/01 and 25/12 !

    NEW: Diego Della Valle, owner of Tod's shoe company, will invest 25 million euros in the RENOVATION of the Coliseum. The amphitheater looks black from the pollution and the vibrations of the nearby subway make bricks fall down. The renovation would start late this year and will last for 2,5 years. The monument will remain open to the public.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • solopes's Profile Photo

    As we had seen 3000 times in TV

    by solopes Updated Dec 18, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Rome - Italy

    It's impossible to get surprised in some monuments, so popular that TV frequently delivers them at our homes.

    That happened in Rome with its most famous monuments. The Colosseum is stunning but... we knew! Anyway, its mandatory to get in, and there are always some unknown details.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • breughel's Profile Photo

    The Coliseum and the Martyrs.

    by breughel Updated Sep 3, 2013

    5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Colosseum - the sanctuary.
    2 more images

    No tradition existed in Rome in the Middle Ages which associated the martyrs in any way with the Coliseum. It was only in the 17th c. that this amphitheatre came to be regarded as a scene of early Christian heroism.
    It were pious personages like Carlo Tomassi and several popes (Clement X, Benedict XIV) who first closed the exterior arcades and made the Coliseum become a sanctuary.
    It is a fact that when the Coliseum stood in grave danger of demolition it was saved by the pious belief which placed it in the category of monuments of the early Martyrs.

    But are there real historical grounds for regarding it so?
    In the Catholic Church the specialists of the acts of the Saints and Martyrs are the Bollandists, they are Jesuits and have strong links with Belgium where they started and continue their hagiographical work.
    According to father H. Delehaye, a famous Bollandist, it is probable that some of the Christians were killed by wild beasts in the Coliseum but there is just as much reason to suppose that they met their death in one of the other places dedicated to the cruel amusements of imperial Rome: the Circus Flaminius, the Stadium of Domitian, etc.

    Little attention was paid by the Christians of the first age to the actual place of a martyr's sufferings so that historical evidence is inconclusive.

    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Chiosco Bar: A little Pax Romana near the Colosseo

    by goodfish Updated Aug 29, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    3 more images

    This is my favorite spot to waste time in all of Rome.

    2007: We'd just come limping from the Colosseum (and nine hours on our feet) and were heading through the park across the street when we saw a little kiosk and scattering of tables in a cool, green corner. Sinking gratefully into a couple of chairs, we ordered up a beer and spent a delightful hour or two within view of the ancient arena and the ruins of Nero's Golden House (Domus Aurea.) Our brews came with an attentive waiter and lighthearted chatter from little groups of Italian friends and families seated nearby: grownups sipped coffee and wine in the shade; tiny babies were fussed over and passed around; older children dribbled ice cream and sped around on scooters; lots of laughter... this is still one of my favorite memories of Rome.

    We made a beeline here on a return trip in 2012, crossing fingers and toes that it hadn't closed. Not only was it open but our Senegalese waiter from 5 years earlier was still scuttling about with trays of espresso and wine. It was a joyful reunion all around, and Mustafa was very glad to see us - once we jogged his memory.

    The best part? It remains virtually undiscovered by the hordes mobbing the pile down the street. We've been here four times (would have been 5 but it's closed on Mondays) and have yet to see or hear another tourist - not that it couldn't happen.

    Chiosco has been a park fixture for over 40 years, and you'll find it close to the corner of Viale Della Domus Aurea and Via Mecante, to the east of the Colosseum, in Parco Colle Oppio. Don't worry about the name of the park as it may not be clearly marked; it's roughly the green space to the northeast of the Colosseum. The bar is also east of the Domus Aurea ruin in the park, and close to a playground so it's a great place to bring the kids. I'm including a website with a fun write-up from another big fan of this little gem (when it was Pavilion Bar):

    http://www.jesper-jensen.it/art.php?did=99&lang=

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • gwened's Profile Photo

    you need to see it once Colosseum

    by gwened Written Aug 25, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    via di san gregorio colosseum
    4 more images

    This is a huge building so old and still standing almost complete its amazing. The history is awesome, and part of many school books. To see it in front is a great feeling;even if have seen it before ,coming with the family was a great experience.

    However, its old ruins, nothing much to see and the price of admission is high in my opinion. So if heard about it, read about it, saw it on tv, you must come to see it once, afterward do not think so.

    a bit of history
    Located in the archaeological heart of the city of Rome, the Flavian Amphitheatre, or, more commonly, the Colosseum, stands for monumentality and receives daily a large number of visitors attracted by the enchantment of its history and its complex architecture. Built in the first century CE at the behest of the emperors of the Flavian dynasty, the Colosseum, named after a colossal statue that stood nearby, until the end of the Ancient Age accommodated games of great popular appeal, such as hunts and gladiatorial fights. The building was, and still is today, a show in itself. In fact, it is the largest amphitheatre not only in the city of Rome but in the world, able to offer stunning sceneries as well as services for spectators.

    admission is 12€ per adult, and opening hours schedules are • october to february 15
    8.30 - 16.30
    16 February to 15 March: 8.30 - 17.00
    16 March to last Saturday of March: 8.30 - 17.30
    Last Sunday of March to 31 August: 8.30 - 19.15
    1 September to 30 September: 8.30 - 19.00
    1 October to last Sunday of October: 8.30 - 18.30

    enjoy the gladiators.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Skip the line and see more than just the Colosseum

    by Lolatraveller Written Jun 18, 2013

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When most people think of Italy, the Colosseum is one of the first images to come to mind (or pasta or a Ferrari). It's no wonder that the line outside is inhumanely long. It was a must-see sight for me as well, but after some digging online, I found an easy way to skip the line while also getting a broader view of ancient Rome. A 5 minute walk from the Colosseum is the entrance to Palatine Hill, where you can get a combo pass for the Hill and the Colosseum, allowing you to skip the line for a much cheaper (and probably more legitimate way) than the scalpers. We were lucky because when we arrived at the ticket office, there was a small line, but we were even able to skip that by asking to take the last English tour (which was actually only at 1pm). Palatine Hill is a collection of ruins of Roman palaces and buildings, and luckily the tour guide had posters of recreations of what the rooms would have looked like in their hayday. This really brought the stones to life, so I would really recommend getting the tour. We didn't get one for the Colosseum since we knew some history already, but it may have also been a good idea.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo

    The Colloseum

    by GentleSpirit Updated May 16, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    There is probably no edifice more symbolic of Rome than the Colosseum. An engineering marvel in a culture that was routinely outstanding in works of great civil engineering.

    The Colloseum, also known as the Flavian amphitheater, was started under Vespasian in 72AD and was finished 8 years later under his son, Titus. It was the largest amphitheater built by the Romans. In its heyday, it was used for gladiatorial contests and similar spectacles. What these spectacles amounted to really were entertainment for the masses, allowing the ruling classes to strengthen their position in society by distracting the masses from more immediate concerns. Putting on gladiatorial contests was by no means cheap, and over time their provision became associated with political corruption. Starting with Augustus, the games were publicly financed as a matter of public interest.

    Remember, of course, that the gladiators, though they had something similar to rock star status in some quarters, were slaves for the most part. They were taught to fight to the death against other gladiators, against wild beasts, against criminals. The gladiators came from lower social classes and generally fought in one to three contests a year. The spectators came into play in deciding the life or death of the combatants in case of a tie.

    With the rule of Constantine and the coming of Christianity the gladiatorial contests started to change. First it became common that they were no longer fought to the death. Gradually, the gladiatorial competition was outlawed as pagan. By 435 AD gladiatorial fights were no longer mentioned.

    The Colosseum, damaged by earthquakes and fires, ceased to serve much of a purpose with the decline of gladiatorial contests and the games. In the Middle Ages it served as a cemetery. It appears as a ruin today because over time so much of its stone was pilfered for use in other statues, palaces and monuments.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • clareabee's Profile Photo

    Wow, Wow, Wow!!!

    by clareabee Written Feb 10, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    For me the Colloeseum is the most iconic landmark in Rome, and the place i immediately associated with the city even before I visited.
    I would advise booking your tickets online. The queues were not too bad when we visited in February but I can imagine in peak season it would be manic!!! It is really easy and you just print them off and bring with you. Tickets are valid for 2 days and allows access to the Forum (which is a much bigger site and requires a half day visit).
    We got the audioguide which cost 11 Euros - being totally honest it was a complete waste of money, and I didn't like the fact i had to leave my drivers license with them (or other form of ID) until a returned the guide. The guide only had about 6 points, they were not clearly marked and to be honest the majority didn't give that much information and most of it i had picked up in a guidebook (The eyewitness ones are excellent) - so I wouldn't bother again. You can hire a guide but personally i prefer to explore somewhere at my own pace.
    It is a very interesting structure explore and interesting that all residents in Rome had a free of charge seat at the Colloseum to watch the games - the higher up you were the less important you were. The important people had front row seats. The emporers had their names enscribed on their seats. You can see all underground tunnels where the animals/gladiators would have been and some of the staircases in the arena are still visible (although they are very steep!)
    You get a lot of guides offering to take you round - and a LOT of men in Gladiator costumes touting for business (photo's) although i am not sure that the romans would have worn socks under their sandals ;-)

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology
    • Food and Dining

    Was this review helpful?

  • Aitana's Profile Photo

    Coliseum

    by Aitana Written Feb 9, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    In my opinion the visit to the Coliseum is a must when one is in Rome. Awfully it is always very crowded and the queue to buy the ticket is too long any time. It is advisable to buy the combined ticket in the Palatine Hill where the queues are usually shorter.
    The Coliseum started to be built in 72 AD and was inaugurated in 80 AD. It used to be venue for fights of gladiators, spectacles with fierce animals, sea battles, animal hunts and other spectacles. The coliseum had capacity for 50,000 people. There are over 80 arches through which spectators entered, so that they were accommodated or evacuated very quickly.
    The visitor can walk through tunnels, a part of the arena, and the galleries.

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Rome

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

94 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near Colosseum
4.5 out of 5 stars
42 Opinions
0 miles away
Show Prices
4.5 out of 5 stars
18 Opinions
0 miles away
Show Prices
4.5 out of 5 stars
9 Opinions
0.1 miles away
Show Prices

View all Rome hotels