Located in the archaeological center of Rome, the Flavian Amphitheatre, or more commonly known as the Colosseum, is one of the most visited attractions of the Eternal City. The Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre not only in the city of Rome, but in the whole world, symbol of the power of the mighty Roman Empire.
The construction of the Colosseum began in the year 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian, of the Flavian dynasty, hence the name of Flavian Amphitheatre. The amphitheatre was inaugurated by Titus, son of Vespasian, in 80 AD, and completed by his brother, Domitian, in 82 AD.
In 217, after a fire, the Colosseum was partially destroyed. The restoration works closed the amphitheatre for five years, and the games moved to the Circus Maximus.
In the year 523, the Colosseum hosted the last spectacle and, afterwards, the amphitheatre went through a period of neglect. In the 6th century, it was used as a burial area, and later as a castle.
The name Colosseum appeared for the first time in the 8th century, and it probably derived from the colossal statue of Nero which was found near the monument.
In 1803, after an earthquake, the first consolidation works were accomplished, this being the first phase of a long recovery, that will keep the monument alive to this day.
The amphitheatre is made of blocks of travertine and has an elliptical shape with the long axis of 188 meters and the short one of 156 meters. The exterior of the Colosseum is divided into four levels and is about 50 meters high.
In the centre of the building, there was a wooden arena covered with sand, on which the games took place. The amphitheatre had 80 archways – 76 entrances intended for the spectators and four of them for the emperor and for the political and religious authorities.
The entrances on the short axis led to two royal lodges close to the arena, one of which was reserved for the emperor.
HOW TO GET THERE
The nearest Metro station is Colosseo, on Metro Line B, about 70 meters away from the Colosseum. The closest bus station is also called Colosseo, located on the bus Lines 51, 75, 85, 87 and 118. You can also reach the amphitheatre by tram, using the tram Lines 3 and 8, getting off at the station Piazza Del Colosseo. If you want to find the monument on foot, no matter where you are in Rome, use the map below.