Rome • Italy

From: Rome Travel Guide

See also: Roman Forum Circus Maximus Baths of Caracalla

Colosseum, Rome, Italy
The Colosseum is an amazing amphitheater which is considered to be one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering and one of Rome's most famous landmarks.

The Colosseum was originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater and construction began around 70 AD under the rule of the Emperor Vespasian (Titus Flavius Vespasianus) who reigned for 10 years from 69 to 79 AD. The Colosseum itself was completed in 80 AD under the reign of Titus his eldest son. The name Colosseum came about from the giant statue or colossus, of Nero which used to be close to the site.

The huge open air stadium which is situated in the heart of Rome could seat over 50,000 spectators who would come to watch various events such as wild animal fights, gladiator fights and mock battles. There were 76 entrances into the tiered stadium each with a number above the doorway. The entrance to the North of the building was reserved for the Roman Emperor and his aides who also had a their own special box and the best view of the stadium, to the South end of the building special boxes were also reserved for Vestal Virgins who were the virgin holy female priestesses of Vesta.

The building itself was 4 stories high and was made up of a succession of arches and Corinthian pilasters with framed statues on the second and third arcades. Below the ground was where the cages of the wild animals were kept and which would be lifted into position so that the animals would appear in the arena.

Tickets can be purchased at the Colosseum entrance although this can get extremely busy during the summer months, an alternative is to buy your ticket elsewhere such as at another monument. Another great idea is to buy a combination tourist ticket that will cover several of Rome's most famous monuments and attractions and can help to considerably reduce queuing time.