Colosseum
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Colosseum tickets and tours

Gladiators tended to be criminals, prisoners of war or slaves who were trained to fight in professional schools. As their fame increased, some men eve...

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It's the largest amphitheater ever built, with a height of 48m and a total area of 2 ha.
Everyone's heard about the massive queues. Buy your tickets in advance, otherwise you may spend more time outside than inside.
The first game was held by Emperor Titus in 80AD. It lasted 100 days and reputedly led to the death of around 2000 gladiators and 9000 animals (although estimates fluctuate wildly).
Botanists have been fascinated by the 300 or so species of plant life found within the Colosseum, created by its unusual microclimate.
Dead gladiators were carried out through the West Exit, which gave it the name ‘Gate of Death'.
The building's construction is a feat of Roman engineering, in which around 100,000 cubic meters of travertine stones and tufa were set without mortar and held together using steel clamps.
Only 3000 people are allowed in at one time, which means even if you've booked you may have to wait.
It's better to visit in winter when it's less crowded (although it closes earlier). If you're there in summer the heat is unrelenting and afternoon visits are best avoided.
Originally known as ‘Amphitheatre Flavio', it's said it received its current name during the Middle Ages because of its proximity to the ‘Colossus of Nero', the statue of Emperor Nero.
It's free the first Sunday of every month and for visitors under 18.
The Ancient Romans did it but that's no excuse. Graffiti on the walls and you risk fines of up to 20,000 euros. Two Americans were famously arrested for this offence.
It's symbolic in the fight against the death penalty. Every time someone escapes this penalty the Colosseum's light changes from white to gold.

История

Gladiators tended to be criminals, prisoners of war or slaves who were trained to fight in professional schools. As their fame increased, some men even volunteered for the job. Trained gladiators would often fight unskilled criminals and slaves as a form of public execution, though winning a fight against a gladiator could earn a slave his freedom.

Archaeological remains show that gladiators were often overweight, perhaps in order to build a layer of protective fat. They tended to eat a vegetarian diet of fresh vegetables, dried fruit, barley and beans to grow strong bones that would heal quickly.

Gladiators would fight barefoot in pairs for around ten minutes while the audience chanted like modern football crowds. A common chant was "habet, hoc habet” (he’s had it!). A defeated gladiator would raise a finger (if he had any left) and might be pardoned by the games’ sponsor.

In 107AD, the emperor Trajan celebrated a victory with a show that included 5000 pairs of gladiators – the largest contest known to history.

Opening times

  • 8.30am-7.15pm – 30 March-31 August
  • 8.30am-7.00pm – 1-30 September
  • 8.30am-6.30pm – 1-30 October
  • 8.30am-4.30pm – 31 October-15 February
  • 8.30am-5.00pm – 16 February-15 March

Ticket office closes one hour before closing time

About the Colosseum

This massive 50,000-capacity amphitheatre was inaugurated in 80AD with games that lasted 100 days and cost the lives of over 5000 animals. Entrance was free back then, though ‘tickets’ written on pieces of pottery were handed out with seat numbers, presumably to control numbers. The poor, and women, sat on the upper tiers, while senators and equestrians had seats closer to the action (protected from flying weapons and body parts by a net).

Entertainments varied. Some featured animal on animal, others were people fighting animals, and others were people fighting people – usually gladiators, but sometimes slaves/prisoners.

Gladiators probably did not fight to the death because they were valuable and popular commodities, though death was naturally an occupational hazard.

Today, the vast Colosseum easily swallows the thousands who visit, though it’s advisable to buy tickets in advance if you want to skip lines. There’s little to actually ‘do’ once inside other than look at the spectacle, though you can maximise your visit by booking special tickets with privileged access to the hypogeum or the upper levels. It’s also advisable to arrange a local or audio guide if Roman history isn’t your subject.

Tickets to the Colosseum often include access to the Forum and Palatine Hill and can be valid for two days, so it makes sense to plan your time wisely. Arrive early for the busiest places and enjoy the Palatine Hill at your leisure in the afternoon when the tourist hordes are elsewhere. Even with advance skip-the-line tickets and German-level planning, you may still discover that organisation at these venues is not entirely like clockwork, so be flexible.

Address

Piazza del Colosseo, Rome

Getting there

  • By Metro
    • MEB, MEB1: Colosseo
    • 51, 75, 85, 87, 117,118, N2
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Colosseum Piazza del Colosseo 1 Рим
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