Facts about the Roman Colosseum in Rome, Italy

(Outside view of the Roman Colosseum in Rome, Italy)

If you're taking a trip to Rome, Italy a must see site is the world-famous Roman Colosseum. The Colosseum is an eliptical ampitheater located in the center of Rome, Italy, and is one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions. Once inside the majestic and historic Colosseum you can take a walking tour and feel as if you're walking in ancient history. See the ticket prices and Colosseum schedule below. Here you will also find some interesting facts about the Roman Colosseum to prepare you for your visit to the historic site!

Facts about the Roman Colosseum

- Under the emperor Vespian, construction started on the Colosseum between 70 and 72 AD. It was completed around 80 BC by emperor Titus, but more modifications were made to it from 81-96 BC under emperor Domitian.

- Colosseum measurements: 189 meters (615 ft / 640 Roman feet) long, and 156 meters (510 ft / 528 Roman feet) wide, with a base area of 6 acres (24,000 m2). The height of the outer wall is 48 meters (157 ft / 165 Roman feet). The perimeter originally measured 545 metres (1,788 ft / 1,835 Roman feet). (source: Wikipedia.org)

- The Colosseum's original Latin name was "Amphitheatrum Flavium" or "Flavian Amphitheater", since it was constructed by members of the Flavian dynasty. It is said the name Colosseum was derived from the nearby Colossal statue of emperor Nero. The statue was recreated to look more like Helios or Apollo (Sun god) and was believed to have magical powers, serving as an iconic symbol of Rome's permanency.

- The main purpose of the Colosseum was gladiatoral contests and public spectacles. The Colosseum was said to hold around 80, 000 spectators and during its use for contests, about 500,000 people and over a million animals died during various battles.

- Some of the contests and events that took place in the Colosseum included: executions, mock sea-battles, drama plays based on mythology and re-enactments of famous battles.

- The five cent Euro coin includes a depiction of the ancient Roman Colosseum on it.

- Several movies have included the Colosseum itself or its likeness. In the popular Best picture "Gladiator" (2000), they recreated the Colosseum using Computer Generated Imagery (CGI). The 2008 film "Jumper" included a battle scene in the actual Colosseum. 1972's "Way of the Dragon" featured a battle between Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee in the Colosseum as well.

- About 684 species of flora (vegetation) have been identified in the Colosseum since 1643 when Domenico Panaroli first began cataloguing them. The reason behind so many flora species is due to bird migration, Rome's changing climates and the use of animals from all areas of the world within the Colosseum.

- In the year 1349, a severe earthquake occurred which caused the outer south side of the Colosseum to collapse. The fallen stone was used to build palaces, churches, hospitals and other buildings.

- There is a close connection with the Roman Catholic Church and the Colosseum. In 1749, Pope Benedict XIV declared that the Colosseum was a sacred site where Christians had been martyred. He had the Stations of the Cross installed there and declared it sacred with the blood of those Christians who had died there. As religious tradition, each Good Friday, the current Pope now leads a procession known as the "Way of the Cross" to the ampitheatre.

- Thousands of tourists pay to visit the Colosseum each year. A museum dedicated to Eros exists in the outer wall, and part of the arena floor has been re-floored.

roman colosseum in rome italy
(A look inside the modern day Colosseum)

If you plan on taking a tour of the Colosseum, here's the information you'll need. The Colosseum is open every day of the year, excluding Christmas Day and New Year's Day, and opens at 09.00 AM; closing times are as follows:

Last Sunday of March to end August, 07.30 PM
September, 07.00 PM
October, 06.30 PM
November to February 15th, 04.30 PM
February 16th to March 15th, 05.00 PM
March 16th to last Saturday of March, 05.30 PM

Full price tickets for entrance to the Roman Colosseum generally cost €16.00. Reduced tickets are available for EU citizens age 18-25 at the price of €11.50. There are discounted complimentary tickets available for EU citizens under the age of 18 or over the age of 65 at €4.50. There may be a line depending upon the time of day you choose. Also be advised that there are plenty of vendors outside the Colosseum as well as people dressed as Ancient gladiators. Pictures can be taken with the gladiators and purchased for a fee.

We hope you've enjoyed these interesting facts about the Roman Colosseum and that you enjoy your journey to Rome, Italy!

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Also see: Interesting facts about the Acropolis in Athens, Greece


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