The Colosseum has been regarded as an iconic symbol of Rome since the Middle Ages. The significance of the Colosseum was reflected in Bede’s writing when he wrote in 7th century AD, “As long as the Colosseum stands, Rome shall stand; when the Colosseum falls, Rome shall fall; and when Rome falls, the world will end.”
About the Colosseum
Surviving several earthquakes, plant overgrowth after the fall of the Empire, modern day pollution and traffic vibrations, the Colosseum still stands mighty- a must see for any visit to Rome.
The Colosseum is a massive structure, the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire and in the world today. Being able to seat close to 50,000 spectators, it was the premier venue for wild beast shows and bloody gladiator combat. During the inauguration games (that lasted 100 days and nights) about 5000 wild animals were slaughtered. Rhinos, crocodiles, bears, elephants, lions, tigers and giraffes were victims of the animal hunt shows that took place in the Colosseum.
When you visit the inside of the amphitheatre, you can see the underground chambers and passageways that were originally covered by a wooden floor. These passageways were used to transport animals and gladiators to the arena. You will need to use your imagination to picture the floor covered in sand to prevent slipping and to soak up the spilled blood.
Admission to the Colosseum was free, but seating was according to social rank. Of course, the Emperor got the best seat in the house, with a special podium on the north end of the theatre. The lowest tier was reserved for the senators and above them were the nobles and knights. The top tier was for ordinary citizens, with the poor citizens sitting higher up. Women and slaves were relegated to the very top of the amphitheatre.
Tips for Visiting the Colosseum
- A guided tour can be a great way to really learn about the history of the Colosseum, but be aware about the maximum size of the group. Too big and you can’t hear your guide anyways. I was able to sign up for a tour right outside the Colosseum. It included a tour of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. The guide was a great storyteller, plus we got an audio guide. The best part about joining a tour was that I got to skip the line (and I hate waiting in lines!)
- You can also buy tickets in advance online. See below for our trusted vendor.
- If you haven’t bought your ticket in advance online, purchase at Palatine Hill to avoid the huge lines.
Buy Digital Tickets to the Colosseum
For quick and convenient access to Rome’s ancient monuments, here is a trusted site where you can buy digital tickets and have them immediately delivered to your smartphone (no need to print).
- Tickets for Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (valid for 2 days)
- Colosseum: Skip the Line + Arena Floor Access & Roman Forum
- Colosseum Underground Guided Tour
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Accommodations in Rome
For your convenience, here is a list of hotels in Rome. Please consider booking your Rome accommodations through the included link. It costs you nothing extra and helps support this website. Thank you!
Are you planning a trip to Rome, or just interested in learning more about the Eternal City? You may find these posts helpful:
- Escaping the Crowds of Rome- Off the Beaten Path
- Trevi Fountain- Everything You’ve Wanted to Know
- The Roman Forum
- Palatine Hill- Founding Place of Rome