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Completed in the year 80 during the reign of Titus, the Colosseum was the biggest amphitheater ever built by the Roman Empire. It once regularly hosted 50,000 spectators cheering and jeering at combating gladiators, executions and battle reenactments. While the baying crowds are no longer there, the structure itself has defied earthquakes, stone thieves and car pollution to remain standing today at the heart of Rome.
If you plan ahead and purchase combined tickets to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill in advance, entrance to the famous site begins by breezing past the long line straight inside. But, even if you have to stand in line, don’t worry too much. What you’ll see when you enter this enormous amphitheater is worth the wait.
To get the most of the site, pay to join a tour when inside. You can also rent an audio guide. Although the interior of the Colosseum is now largely deteriorated, there is still much to see. The structure’s centerpiece is the hypogeum, part of the subterranean network, above which the arena floor would have been. Weave your way through the pillars and plant life at your leisure.
It is also possible to visit the winding network of underground tunnels — where the gladiators would steel themselves before facing the crowds — and the third level of the Colosseum. This must be done with a special guide and booked in advance. If you don’t manage this, take a walk around the entire outer edifice to admire the three-tiered travertine arches and see how the whole structure fits together. In particular, take note of the very bottom layer of arches, built not for aesthetics but rather as an essential means of crowd control.
While the gladiatorial tussles and live animal hunts are long gone, the Colosseum is still used from time to time as a spectacular backdrop for summer concerts, often for big performers like Paul McCartney and Simon and Garfunkel, so always check the schedule before you visit.
The Colosseum is in central Rome. Bus stops and the Metro train station Colosseo are all nearby.
Traveling is always so much more than just seeing different places. It's all about the things you can do while you're away!
This place has loads of activities on offer. Here are some ideas to kick start your trip to Colosseum:
Take a look at our Colosseum things to do page for a full list of activities.
Located in Monti, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Via Nazionale and Via XX Settembre. Via Veneto and Quirinale Palace are also within 10 minutes. Repubblica - Opera House Station is 7 minutes by foot and Cavour Station is 9 minutes.
Located in Repubblica, this hotel is steps from Teatro dell'Opera di Roma and Via Nazionale. Via XX Settembre and Piazza della Repubblica are also within 5 minutes. Repubblica - Opera House Station is only a 4-minute walk and Cavour Station is 10 minutes.
Located in Celio, this bed & breakfast is within a 10-minute walk of Colosseum and Roman Forum. Via Nazionale and Piazza Venezia are also within 1 mi (2 km). Colosseo Station is 6 minutes by foot and Cavour Station is 11 minutes.
Located in Marsala, this inn is within a 5-minute walk of Via Nomentana and Via Marsala. Via Nazionale and Via XX Settembre are also within 10 minutes. Castro Pretorio Station is only a 2-minute walk and Rome Termini Station is 8 minutes.
Located in Monti, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Imperial Fora, Roman Forum, and Via Nazionale. Colosseum and Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore are also within 10 minutes. Cavour Station is only a 2-minute walk and Colosseo Station is 8 minutes.
Located in Celio, this apartment building is within a 5-minute walk of Colosseum and Roman Forum. Piazza Venezia and Via Nazionale are also within 15 minutes. Colosseo Station is only a 3-minute walk and Cavour Station is 8 minutes.
Located in Celio, this bed & breakfast is within a 5-minute walk of Colosseum and Roman Forum. Trevi Fountain and Pantheon are also within 1 mi (2 km). Colosseo Station is only a 3-minute walk and Cavour Station is 8 minutes.
Located in Celio, this apartment building is within a 5-minute walk of Colosseum and Roman Forum. Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano and Capitoline Museum are also within 15 minutes. Colosseo Station is only a 5-minute walk and Cavour Station is 9 minutes.