Chiara Bianchi

Colosseum: Everything You Need to Know Under 5 Minutes

A concise guide to the Colosseum, covering its history and visitor tips.

Attraction Centro Storico
The Colosseum in Rome, a symbol of ancient Roman engineering and architecture


The Colosseum, an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome, is one of the world's most magnificent and enduring architectural feats. In this article, we delve into its history, architectural brilliance, and the gladiatorial contests it once hosted. Learn what makes the Colosseum a must-visit attraction in Rome.

Practical Information

    • Opening Hours: 8:30 AM to one hour before sunset, closed on 1st January, 1st May, and 25th December.
    • How to Get There: Accessible via Metro (Colosseo stop), bus, and tram.
    • Price: Approximately €12 for adults, with various discounts available.
    • Crowds: Heaviest from June to September.
    • Weather Considerations: Can be hot in summer; bring water and sun protection.
    • Photography: Allowed, but no tripods or professional equipment without permission.
    • Accessibility: Partially accessible for wheelchair users.
    • Facilities: Restrooms and a small gift shop available.
    • Tours: Various guided tours available, some including underground access.
These details are subject to change; please check the official website for the latest information

4 tips for your visit to the Colosseum

  • Book tickets in advance to avoid long queues.
  • Visit early in the morning or late afternoon for fewer crowds.
  • Wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking on uneven surfaces.
  • Consider a guided tour to gain deeper historical insights.

Remember to check for any temporary exhibitions or events that may be happening during your visit.

Setting Expectations: Downsides and Time Considerations

Be prepared for large crowds, especially during peak tourist season. The Colosseum can be very hot in summer, and some areas are not accessible to the public. Allocate at least 2-3 hours for a thorough visit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Colosseum in Rome Famous For?

The Colosseum is famous as a monumental amphitheater in Rome, renowned for hosting ancient gladiator battles, animal hunts, and public spectacles.

Can you go inside the Roman Colosseum?

ou can go inside the Roman Colosseum with a regular ticket or a night tour, but you need to book in advance and follow the health and safety measures . 

How long did it take to build the Colosseum?

The construction of the Colosseum began in AD 72 under Emperor Vespasian and was completed in AD 80 by his son Titus, taking about 8 years in total.

Explore our detailed article about the construction of the Colosseum

Why is the Colosseum broken?

The Colosseum is partially ruined due to damage caused by earthquakes and stone-robbers over the centuries.

Explore our detailed article about the reasons why the Colosseum broken

Is the Colosseum free to enter?

The Colosseum is not free to enter. The standard entry ticket costs 18€ for adults and 4€ for Europeans between 18-25. Children under 18 and handicapped persons can enter for free  . You can also buy combo tickets or night tours online. Good news it's free on the first Sunday of every month!

Is it good to stay near the Colosseum in Rome?

Staying near the Colosseum in Rome has its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, you can enjoy the historical and cultural atmosphere of the ancient monument, as well as easy access to other attractions and public transportation. On the other hand, you may have to deal with crowds, noise, traffic, and higher prices for accommodation and services.

Is it safe to walk around the Colosseum at night?

It is safe to walk around the Colosseum at night, as long as you follow the usual precautions for any big city. You can also visit the Colosseum by night with a guided tour that includes access to the arena floor and the underground.

Historical Background

The Colosseum, originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, was commissioned by Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty as a gift to the Roman people. Inaugurated in AD 80 by his son Titus, the amphitheater could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, making it the largest amphitheater of its time. The Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era and was later repurposed for various purposes such as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.

5 Interesting Facts

  • Engineering Marvel

    The Colosseum was a technological marvel of its time, featuring advanced engineering techniques like the hypogeum, a complex network of tunnels underneath the arena.

  • Venue for Naval Battles

    It's believed that the Colosseum could be flooded to host mock naval battles, a testament to Roman engineering ingenuity.

  • Symbol of Rome's Might

    The Colosseum represented the power and grandeur of the Roman Empire, hosting events that symbolized Rome's dominance.

  • Icon of Christian Martyrdom

    In the Middle Ages, the Colosseum became a symbol of Christian martyrdom, though historical evidence for this is debated.

Lesser Known Stories

Secret Passages

The Colosseum's intricate network of secret passages, known as the hypogeum, was an underground world of complexity and precision. These passages, hidden beneath the arena floor, were a marvel of Roman engineering. They enabled the seamless transport of gladiators and animals to the arena, adding a thrilling unpredictability to the spectacles. The sudden appearance of gladiators and beasts from these passages would have created an air of mystery and excitement, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.

Discover the secrets of the Colosseum's Hypogeum in our in-depth article

Exotic Animal Displays

Exotic animals were a significant part of the spectacles in the Colosseum, brought from the farthest reaches of the Roman Empire. Lions, elephants, tigers, and other wild beasts were displayed, not just for entertainment, but as a symbol of Rome's power and the emperor's ability to control the natural world. These displays were a demonstration of the vastness of the empire, with animals sourced from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, showcasing the extensive biodiversity under Roman rule.

The Last Gladiatorial Fights

The cessation of gladiatorial fights in 435 AD marked a significant cultural shift in the Roman Empire. This final event signified the changing values and the rise of new societal norms, particularly with the growing influence of Christianity, which frowned upon these bloody spectacles. The end of these combats reflected the decline of the Empire and the transformation of Roman society from its ancient traditions to new beliefs and practices.

Read our detailed article on The Last Gladiatorial Fights

Architectural Influence on Modern Stadiums

The Colosseum's architectural design has influenced modern sports stadiums, particularly in aspects of crowd management and sightlines. Its elliptical shape, tiered seating, and vast entryways were designed for optimal visibility and easy access, principles that continue to guide stadium design today.

Naval Battles Reenactments

In its early years, the Colosseum was flooded to stage mock naval battles, known as naumachiae. These reenactments involved real ships and sailors, and they were a spectacle of engineering and entertainment, showcasing Rome's naval prowess.

Role in Social and Political Life

The Colosseum was more than an entertainment venue; it was a tool for social and political propaganda. Emperors used the games to gain favor with the public, disseminate political messages, and demonstrate their power and generosity. The allocation of seating within the Colosseum was a reflection of the rigid social hierarchy of Roman society.

Nearby Restaurants

  • Ristorante Aroma: Offers exquisite Italian cuisine with a view of the Colosseum.
  • La Pergola: A renowned restaurant for a luxurious dining experience.
  • Trattoria Luzzi: Known for its authentic, affordable Roman dishes.

Nearby Attractions

  • Forum Romanum: The heart of ancient Rome, full of ruins and historical sites.
  • Palatine Hill: One of Rome's most ancient parts, offering fantastic views and ruins.
  • Circus Maximus: An ancient Roman chariot racing stadium and mass entertainment venue.