If, before visiting Rome, somebody would have asked me what The Greatest Attraction in Rome is, I probably would have not guessed correctly. But after visiting the Colosseum, I now know exactly what the answer is.
I remember walking from the hotel to the Colosseum, while admiring the ruins we were finding along the way. We took Via Alessandrina and we kept stopping every few meters because we were so excited to see historical landmarks or sites such as il Mercati di Traiano or Trajan’s Market, Foro di Augusti or Forum of Augustus, and Foro di Nerva or Forum of Nerva. What was supposed to be a 15-minute walk, became a long and absolutely fascinating and unexpected appreciation of the ancient Rome.
We took Via dei Fori Imperiali and kept walking until we saw it, right in front of us, the greatest tourist attraction in Rome, the largest amphitheater in the world, the symbol of Rome, the Colosseum!
Colosseum or Colosseo
The Colosseum or Colosseo, a monumental construction with almost 2000 years, stands as the largest amphitheater ever built and one of the most significant and iconic symbols of Rome. Situated in the archaeological heart of Rome, it welcomes visitors from all around the world, who are attracted by the fascination of its history and its complex architecture.
The original name of the Colosseum was ‘Falvian Amphitheatre”. The name was changed due to the colossal statue of Nero that was located at the entrance of the Domus Aurea, “The Colossus of Nero”. It was built at the behest of the Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty as a gift to the Roman people, hence, its original name. Until the end of the ancient period, it was used to present spectacles of great popular appeal, such as witness bloody contests and the slaughter of wild beasts.
Nearly two-thirds of the original Colosseum have been destroyed, including all of the arena’s marble seats and its decorative elements, due to a combination of weather, natural disasters (earthquakes), neglect and vandalism. Reservation of the Colosseum began in earnest in the 19th century, with notable efforts led by Pius VIII. Restoration efforts began in the 1990s, and have proceeded over the years, as the Colosseum continues to be a leading tourist site in Rome, attracting millions of people every year.
- In 1980, UNESCO recognized it as an official World Heritage Site. It remains the largest amphitheater on Earth and is well deserving of this title.
- According to Guinness World Records: “The Flavian amphitheatre or Colosseum of Rome, Italy, completed in AD 80, covers 2 ha (5 acres) and has a capacity of 87,000. It has a maximum length of 187 m (612 ft) and a maximum width of 157 m (515 ft)”.
- On 7 July 2007 the Colosseum became one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
- Emperor Vespasian didn’t live to see the Colosseum open to the public in 80 CE. Instead, that honor fell to his son Titus, who opened the Colosseum with 100 days of games, including gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights
- The Colosseum had a velarium, a type of awning or covering used in Roman times. It pulled over the top of the seating area to shade and protect the spectators from the blistering sun and heat of Ancient Rome
- There are 80 entrances and exits into and out of the Colosseum, not all of them currently available
- Below the Colosseum were numerous rooms and underground passages. Here is where the animals and gladiators were kept, waiting to meet their fate in the arena above. There were also 36 trap doorsin the arena for special effects.
- The Colosseum attracts more than seven million tourists each year. In 2018, 7.6 million people visited the Colosseum
The Colosseum Today
The Roman Colosseum is a symbol of the power, greatness, and brutality of the Roman Empire and has become a symbol of Rome in the world. It is not only a historical and archaeological treasure, but also one of modern-day, Rome’s most popular tourist attractions becoming one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
Although it is a monument that has survived the centuries, it is still appears a magnificent piece of the Roman history offering the details of his interior spaces and amazing views of the city when you reach the upper levels.
However, we cannot forget that the Colosseum was the stage for killing hundreds of thousands animals and people. It is still a reminder of the violence and cruelty that took part in the history of the Colosseum and the Roman Empire.
In the last ten years, new areas of the amphitheater have been slowly opened to the public, making it an even more attractive and exiting visit for lovers of architecture, ancient history, and Italian culture. In 2010, the Colosseum opened the subterranean area and third level. 2017 marked the first time that tourists were allowed to visit the top two levels of the Colosseum for the first time in over 40 years.
With some frequency, the Colosseum hosts temporary exhibitions related to the themes of antiquity and art, as well as modern spectacles. Andrea Bocelli, Steven Tyler, Elton John, Paul McCartney, and Il Divo are among the famous names who have performed at the Colosseum.
Visiting the Colosseum
Visiting the Colosseum could be an overwhelming experience if you go during peak season or peak times. There are ways that you can minimize the impact of the crowds in order to enjoy your visit.
- The first thing to know is that the ticket to enter the Colosseum is a combined ticket to enter the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine. These are the ticket options:
- A standard 16€ ticket. Validity: 24 hours from first use. Access: allows a scheduled entrance to the Colosseum and an open entrance to the Roman Forum-Palatine Hill including the temporary exhibition, and to the Imperial Forums. No re-entry allowed.
- A Full Experience ticket 22€ (starting January 2020). Validity: 2 days, the day of the first use and the next one. Access: allows a scheduled entrance to the Colosseum, with access to the Arena or the Underground (new), from the Stern Gate, upon submission of a list of names, and an open access to the Roman Forum-Palatine Hill area, including the temporary exhibition, including special SUPER sites with fixed quota entry and the Imperial Forums.
- Reduced for all types of tickets € 2. For European Union citizens between 18 and 25 years of age, upon submission of an identity document.
- Colosseum Reservation fee 2€. You do not need a reservation to visit the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill.
- Free admission for Citizens under 18 years old from European Union and no-EU countries.
- In order to avoid endless lines that can cost you several hours, it is highly recommended to buy the ticket online at the official Colosseum Official Ticket Website, Coopculture.
- Arrive early in the morning when it first opens. Check the schedule to make sure you have the right opening time. Alternatively, you can pay the Colosseum reservation fee of 2€ to ensure the entrance to the Colosseum at your convenient time
- Another way to skip the lines upon entering and to get to know the famous monument in detail, is to take a guided tour. This one, visits the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, skipping the lines and with an expert guide.
- If you buy the Roma Pass, a discount card that offers visitors a variety of discounts and services to enjoy the beauty of Rome, keep in mind that it is now mandatory to make a reservation for the Colosseum by paying the reservation fee.
- On some days of the year, the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are free for everyone, without pre-sale. More info on the web page of Colosseum, Foro Romano and Palatine.
The Colosseum – A must visit
Nothing beats the feeling that brings this gigantic ruins when seeing it for the first time. I have visited the Colosseum three times and it has always impressed me. It’s just magnificent!
The gigantic size of the Colosseum, its architectural design, and its function are still wonderful things to contemplate today.
Ci vediamo dopo,
Just Love Italy
Follow us in IG @justloveitaly