The Colosseum is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World! It’s the most famous and the most popular monument in Rome! Every year it attracts 4 million visitors! Visiting the Colosseums allows you to witness how great the Roman empire was! It’s a 2000-years-old amphitheater still here to this day! It went through earthquakes, the collapse of the Roman empire and the hustle and bustle in Rome throughout the centuries. You want to visit the Colosseum? First I’m gonna talk about the history of the Colosseum, how to visit the Colosseum and then share tips so that your visit goes smoothly!
History of the Colosseum
Construction of the Colosseum started in 70 AD and was completed in 80 AD! It’s been there for almost 2000 years! At the time, there was a colossal, 40 meters (131 ft.) high statue of the emperor Nero next to it. The Colosseum was named after the statue (but it’s also known as the Flavian amphitheater). At the time, there were 80 entrances and the Colosseum could hold up to 50,000 spectactors! That was a lot compared to the Roman population at the time! The spectactors could fill the Colosseum in 15 minutes!
It was free to get in for everyone and people were seated depending on their social status. The emperor had the best seat, with a special podium just for him. At the lowest floor, there were senators, above them there were the nobles and the knights. At the top the spectators were regular people, women and slaves. Basically rich people were close to the arena, the middle class was in the middle of the amphitheater and the poor were all the way up.
What did the 50,000 spectators come to watch? Wild animals fighting, mock sea battles and people condemned to death! Sometimes the Colosseum was packed and the Romans were going there with their seats. Like in our stadiums today, there were people selling food during the shows. There were also numerous water fountains in the amphitheater.
The Colosseum was used until the 6th century approximately. After the collapse of the Roman empire, the statue of Nero ended up falling and the Colosseum was mostly used as a space for workshops and other events. Throughout the centuries, the Colosseum endured numerous earthquakes, especially the devastating one in 1349. Much of the tumbled stone was stolen or reused to build other buildings. There was a renewed interest for the Colosseum in the 18th century, which was restored from the 19th century. The Colosseum is not exactly how it used to be, but it’s still the most popular monument of Rome.
What to do and see at the Colosseum
The Colosseum is an historical place you have to see at least once in your life! You get in the Colosseum from the south side. When getting in, you’re on the second floor. Each floor was built in a different style. The first floor is doric, the second floor is ionic and the third one is Corinthian. We can’t visit the 4th floor anymore.
Go to the 3rd floor to admire the greatness of the Colosseum. Have a walk around the arena and admire this 50 meters (165 ft.) high amphitheater. Have a look at the arena down there. You’ll notice the ground isn’t flat but there are many columns and walls. What we actually see is not the arena at the time, but the hypogeum. This is what was originally entirely underneath the arena floor. There were animal cages, prisons of those condemned to death and training rooms for the gladiators.
The hypogeum was covered by a floor made of wood and sand. As I said it’s not there anymore. The animals, gladiators… were brought on stage with a pulley. Sometimes, the floor was removed, the hypogeum was flooded and used for mock sea battles. Sometimes on the 4th floor, there was a veil to protect people from the sun. In the monument, there are also temporary exhibitions, most of them about the Roman empire. Don’t miss the Arch of Constantine on the way to the Palatine hill, the largest Roman triumphal arch! Time for the Colosseum tips now!
Colosseum entry fee
With your Colosseum ticket, you have access to the Roman forum and the Palatine hill, they’re just a few minutes away by foot. It’s 16 euros to get in. For the European citizens from 18 to 25, it’s 2 euros. It’s free for those under 18. You need to know that at this low price, you’ll have to wait to get in, meaning 2 to 3 hours wait in high season! If you don’t have a ticket, it’s better to buy it at the Roman forum or at the Palatine Hill, the wait is shorter.
A visitor cap is imposed, limiting visitor numbers to 3,000 at any given time. When they reach this cap, you have to wait for people leaving in order to get in. Needless to say, those who have a skip the line ticket have priority. Therefore I strongly suggest you to buy a skip the line ticket, and if possible a guided tour. Indeed, the Colosseum is impressive but with no guide, there are no explanations… Here are the various skip the line ticket to get in the Colosseum:
- Click here to buy a skip the line ticket with no guide.
- Click here to buy a skip the line ticket with a guided tour.
- Click here to buy a skip the line ticket with a guided tour and access to Colosseum underground.
- Click here to buy a skip the line ticket with a private tour.
- Click here to buy a skip the line ticket with a guided tour and virtual reality experience.
- Click here to buy a skip the line ticket with a guided tour of the Colosseum and other popular places in Rome.
- Click here to buy the Omnia Card. It gives you access to many popular places in Rome (including the Colosseum, the Vatican…) with no wait and public transportation is free with this card!
On the first Sunday of the month, museums are free in Rome. Forget about visiting the Colosseum that, it’s packed! By the way this rule doesn’t apply every month for the Colosseum, but only from January to March and from October to December. If you plan to spend some time in the country, here are the best things to do in Italy!
Best way to get into the Colosseum
If you’re staying in the center of Rome, you can get there by foot. Otherwise it’s best to take the metro/subway and get off at the Colosseo station on line B. If you’re using the tram, take line 3 and get off at the Colosseo stop. Otherwise numerous buses stop next to the Colosseum (buses 75, 81, 175, 204 and 673).
Colosseum opening hours
Opening hours vary depending on the months. Basically the Colosseum opens at 8:30am and closes from 4:30pm to 7:15pm. Check out their official website to be sure.
How long to visit the Colosseum
It takes from one hour to one hour and a half with no guide. With a guide, it’s gonna last one hour and a half to two hours.
Tips for visiting the Colosseum
- There are numerous pickpockets around the popular touristic places in Rome, especially around the Colosseum! Keep an eye open on your belongings! Backpack in front of you, your purse too, don’t put your phone in your back pocket! Better safe than sorry, click here to get travel insurance! I never travel without one!
- When entering, you’ll notice security is similar to an airport, with metal detectors and bag scanners. Small bags are allowed but large bags and suitcases are not allowed. Aerosols are forbidden, bottles and glasses containers. Full plastic bottles are not allowed. Empty them. Don’t worry you can fill them inside, there are numerous water fountains inside.
- While we’re at it, bring water with you, especially if you don’t have a skip the line ticket. You’ll have to wait under the sun and it’s scorching outside in the summer… Otherwise there are guys selling bottles of water at inflated prices.
- Bring your ID, you’ll have to show it if you have a skip the line ticket or if you’re eligible for a reduction.
- There’s also a long wait to go to the toilets, especially for women…
- Go see the Colosseum nighttime. From the outside of course, since it’s closed at night! The Colosseum is lit up and beautiful to see!
- Traveling soon? Check out my travel resources page! This list of travel accessories can also be useful!
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