The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, is a Roman amphitheater located in the archaeological center of Rome. One of the most visited attractions of the Eternal City, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the 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 Amphitheater. The amphitheater 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 amphitheater for five years, and the games were moved to the Circus Maximus.
The last gladiatorial fights held in the Colosseum are mentioned around the year 435, and in 523 the structure hosted the last spectacle. Afterwards, the amphitheater went through a period of neglect.
Starting with the 6th century, the amphitheater was used as a burial area. In the 13th century, the Frangipani family fortified it, using it 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 located 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 amphitheater 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 original perimeter measured around 545 meters.
The exterior of the Colosseum is divided into four levels and is about 50 meters high. The arcades of the outer wall are framed by half-columns in Doric, Ionic and Corinthian styles, while the last order, the attic, is decorated by Corinthian pilasters.
In the center of the structure, there is an arena which measures 86 meters in length and 54 meters in width. Once, the arena was made of wood and covered with sand, a surface on which the games took place.
The amphitheater had 80 archways – 76 entrances intended for the spectators and four 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, located about 70 meters away from the Colosseum. The closest bus stop is also called Colosseo, located on the bus Lines 51, 75, 85, 87 and 118.
You can also reach the amphitheater by tram, using the tram Lines 3 and 8, getting off at the stop Piazza Del Colosseo. If you want to find the monument on foot, no matter where you are in Rome, use the map below.
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