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Visiting the Roman Colosseum

Updated on February 12, 2017
bdegiulio profile image

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures, experiences, and makes the world a better, more tolerant place.

No visit to Rome is complete without a visit to ancient Rome’s most famous site, the Roman Colosseum. As one of the most recognized landmarks in the world the Colosseum stands today as an iconic symbol of ancient imperial Rome.

Commissioned in 72 AD by emperor Vespasian and completed by his son Titus in 80 AD, the Colosseum has withstood devastating earthquakes, fires, and stone robbers over the centuries. Despite being in almost constant use for over 1900 years the structure is incredibly well preserved.

Today, the partially restored Colosseum is one of the most visited sites in all of Rome. In 1980 the historic center of Rome including the Colosseum was added as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and in 2001 the Roman Colosseum was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the world, a distinction that is certainly justified.

The Roman Colosseum
The Roman Colosseum | Source
The Colosseum in all its glory
The Colosseum in all its glory | Source
Resident cat in the Colosseum
Resident cat in the Colosseum | Source

The Colosseum was built just to the east of the Roman Forum and was the largest elliptical amphitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire. Measuring 188 meters long by 156 meters wide the structure was designed to hold 55,000 spectators.

The exterior of the Colosseum is made entirely of travertine stone and is four stories high. The building has eighty arched entrances, which allowed for easy access for its spectators that included all classes of Roman society.

The central area of the Colosseum, the arena, was covered with a great wooden floor and canvas to make it waterproof. Over this was a layer of sand that was used to absorb blood. Used as a venue to entertain the public with games, mock sea battles, animal hunts and competitions it is probably most famous for its Gladiator contests. Although the Colosseum stirs images of classic civilized early Roman life the reality is that thousands of animals and gladiators brutally lost their lives within the walls of the Colosseum all in the name of entertainment.

The Christian emperor Honorius outlawed the gladiator contests in 407 AD and fights with wild animals were banned in 523 AD bringing to an end the bloody legacy of the Colosseum. By the late 6th century the Colosseum was being used for other purposes such as housing, workshops, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.

In 1349 an earthquake caused severe damage to the Colosseum and collapsed much of the south side of the structure. Instead of rebuilding the Colosseum the site was used as an informal quarry and the stone was used for other purposes around Rome including building hospitals, churches and St. Peter's Basilica.

View of the Colosseum from Palatine Hill
View of the Colosseum from Palatine Hill | Source
Looking into the arena
Looking into the arena | Source
The Roman Colosseum
The Roman Colosseum | Source

Today, visitors can relive the history of the Colosseum by touring the structure on your own or taking a guided tour of the building.

Just recently the underground areas of the Colosseum were opened to the public to view the areas where the animals were kept and where the gladiators prepped for their contest. Entry to the Colosseum is grouped together with the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill and your ticket (15.50 euro) will be good for two days. To avoid waiting in the usually long lines at the Colosseum buy your ticket across the way at the Palatine Hill and you are good to enter all three sites.

The interior
The interior | Source

Colosseum Hours:

Mid Feb - Mid Mar: 9 am - 4.30 pm

Mid Mar - End Mar: 9 am - 5.00 pm

End Mar - End Aug: 9 am - 7.00 pm

End Aug - End Sept.: 9 am - 6.30 pm

End Sept. - End Oct: 9 am - 6.00 pm

End Oct - Mid Mar: 9 am - 4.00 pm


One of the many statues in the Colosseum Museum.
One of the many statues in the Colosseum Museum. | Source

While visiting the Colosseum be sure to visit the museum dedicated to Eros (Greek god of love) located on the upper floor of the outer wall of the building. The museum contains numerous statues, busts, and other artifacts excavated from the Colosseum site and other locations around Rome.

Also, every year on Good Friday the Pope leads ‘The Stations of the Cross’ around the Colosseum, a modern link to its use as a Christian Shrine and monastery in its many past lives. Enjoy your visit to Rome and in particular the Colosseum, one of Italy's most treasured sites.

Ciao for now.

The Pope at the Colosseum on Good Friday
The Pope at the Colosseum on Good Friday | Source
The Colosseum  at night
The Colosseum at night | Source
Source
The Underground
The Underground | Source

The Roman Colosseum

show route and directions
A markerRoman Coloseum -
Colosseum, Piazza del Colosseo, 00184 Rome, Italy
get directions

B markerRoman Forum -
Foro Romano, Piazza Santa Maria Nova, 53, 00186 Rome, Italy
get directions

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    • bdegiulio profile image
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      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi mbwalz. Thanks for coming to the Colosseum with me. You would love Rome, it's an amazing city. We hope to get to France soon. Thanks for stopping by.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Paul. Hopefully you get there some day soon. It's an amazing site to behold. Many thanks for the vote, share, pin ,etc.

    • mbwalz profile image

      MaryBeth Walz 4 years ago from Maine

      Thanks for the wonderful tour and the history lesson. I've been lucky enough to go to Italy, but not Rome. Now I tend to stick to France, but have really enjoy going to Italy with you today!

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      bdegiulio,

      This is a very good hub and I have learned a lot. I have never visited Italy, but one day I will visit Rome and definitely see the Colosseum. Your photos are great. Voted up and sharing with followers and on Facebook. Also Pinning.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      In 1980 the historic centre of Rome was added as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Ciao.

    • profile image

      confused 4 years ago

      when was the colosseum named a world heritage site

    • Kenneth John Diaz profile image

      Kenneth John Diaz 4 years ago from Philippines, Mindanao

      ah okey thank you.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Kenneth, be glad to help although I am still somewhat new here myself. The learning center has been a big help to me. Also, the faq section answered a lot of my questions. Good luck.

    • Kenneth John Diaz profile image

      Kenneth John Diaz 4 years ago from Philippines, Mindanao

      thank you for welcoming me. actually i didn't know how to operate will my hubpages. so if you some time please me instruct how to manage this well. thanks again

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks Kenneth. Hopefully you'll get an opportunity to someday visit the Colosseum. Welcome to HubPages.

    • bdegiulio profile image
      Author

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks alloporus. Yeah, the fake centurions are something else. Not sure how these guys make a living doing this? But, despite all of the activity that takes place around the Colosseum it certainly is an amazing monument of Roman history.

    • Kenneth John Diaz profile image

      Kenneth John Diaz 4 years ago from Philippines, Mindanao

      actually i never been there before, the Colosseum is one of the very historic places I've known,someday i wish i could come there.

    • profile image

      alloporus 4 years ago

      I was lucky enough to visit in 2010 and even with all the tourists, fake centurions and rattling tour guides the sense of history and raw energy of the place was palpable. The Pantheon's not half bad either.

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