The functional and beautiful design of the Colosseum was rightfully a victory at the time it was constructed. With the passing of the centuries, it never lost its magnetism and ability to fascinate anyone who even just glanced at it. Today, it is still an inspiration for the construction of sporting venues around the world and it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Center in Rome. In 2007 it was named one of the new 7 Wonders of the World, a title which undoubtedly belongs to it.
A bit of history…
The construction of the Colosseum (also referred to as the Flavian Amphitheater), began in 70 AD under the reign of emperor Vespian, and was then finalized in 80 AD under his successor Titus. At the time, the concrete and stone structure was the largest amphitheater of the Roman empire. And to this day, it remains the largest in the world. It could hold up to anywhere between 60 000 and 80 000 spectators and was used for a wide range of purposes: from gladiator fights, to animal hunts and mock sea battles. The ways to entertain the Romans back then were limitless! In the 21st century, the Colosseum was a victim of an earthquake which destroyed a part of its facade, as well as of many acts of vandalism. Still, despite it all, the monument remains a marvel in design and engineering and will continue to rank in the top places visited in Italy, and in the world.
The Colosseum is strategically located in the exact center of Rome. Making your way there is easy; near the site, the are major bus lines, three tram lines and the Colosseum subway station. When you are finished your visit of the Colosseum, a short walk down the beautiful “Via dei Fori Imperiali” will get you to the Altare della Patria (commonly referred to by Romans as the “giant typewriter”), Piazza Venezia and Piazza del Campidoglio.
Why not go! Standing inside of the largest amphitheater in the world is an experience that is not to be missed. For a few minutes, you can pause and imagine how it must’ve been to sit among 80 000 spectators watching gladiator games in the gigantic arena. With thousands of tourists flocking to the Colosseum every year, it remains one of the most admired monuments of Rome. It has also been coined as being an original place for the hopeless romantics to get down on one knee and propose to their future wife! But you have to really like the attention from the hundreds of tourists to have the courage to something like that!
You can stand outside of the Colosseum at any time of the day. But should you be interested in visiting it inside, these are the opening hours:
- From September 1st till September 30th: 8:30 – 19:00 (last admission at 18:00)
- From October 1st till the last Saturday of October: 8:30 – 18:30 (last admission at 17:30)
- From the last Sunday of October till February 15th: 8:30 – 16:30 (last admission at 15:30)
- From February 16th till March 15th: 8:30 – 17:00 (last admission at 16:00)
- From March 16th till the last Saturday of March: 8:30 – 17:30 (last admission at 16:30)
- From the last Sunday of March till August 31st: 8:30 – 19:15 (last admission at 18:15)
And look out for the skip-the-line tickets which cost that little extra that you won’t mind paying during high season when everyone flocks to the Colosseum.
Nice monument… Now where can I eat?
Once you are finished with your Colosseum gazing, be sure to head to the neighborhood of Monti, just a couple of blocks away. Monti is a quaint little area which offers a wide selection of international cuisine (for those who want to take a break from Italian cooking), as well as many bistros, bakeries and coffee shops. Don’t miss what many say is the best carbonara in town at “La Carbonara“. Another place worth a visit is “Barzilai”, where you’ll find a mix of locals and tourists in a laid back vintage and authentically Roman space. There you can enjoy a drink, a nice meal or even just a coffee with dessert. Whatever mood you are in, you are sure to find what you are looking for in Monti.
What is the Colosseum up to today?
Until 2016, the Colosseum will be undergoing a colossal facelift which involves cleaning and restoring the decayed iconic structure. The culprit of its unfortunate current state? Car pollution! The 25 million euro financing of this project came from Diego Della Valle, founder and CEO of the Italian luxury fashion house, Tod’s. Although the monument will be obscured by scaffolding on different sections for most of the next three years, there are no plans of closing it down; visits inside will still be possible. And at the end of this tremendously important restoration, the Colosseum will have regained its original ivory color, to the joy of the locals and to the millions of future tourists.