Colosseum in Rome or Coliseum is today the most recognisable of Rome's Classical buildings. Even 2,000 years after it was built, and despite centuries when the abandoned building was pillaged for building materials, it is instantly recognisable ... Colosseum in Rome was begun by Vespasian, inaugurated by Titus in 80 A.D. and completed by Domitian. Located on marshy land between the Esquiline and Caelian Hills, it was the first permanent amphitheater to be built in Rome. Its monumental size and grandeur as well as its practical and efficient organization for producing spectacles and controlling the large crowds make it one of the great architectural monuments achieved by the ancient Romans. a Classical template for the stadia of today.
Colosseum in Rome travel, Italy Tourist Attractions
Colosseum in Rome was the first permanent amphitheatre to be raised in Rome, and the most impressive arena the Classical world had yet seen. And with accommodation for 60,000 seated and 10,000 standing, all of whom could enter and leave in a matter of minutes, courtesy of 80 entrances, this is a structure that the designers of modern sports stadia could learn from.
Colosseum in Rome attractions
Rome Colosseum is one of the most visited attractions in Rome after St.Peter's Basilica. Even though over half of the material that made up the Colosseum has been plundered for other building works, the ruins are still very impressive. It is next to the Arch of Constantine and close to the Roman Forum.
Because of the popularity, the Colosseum is often full of people unless you get there early. If you see a queue outside the building then there are another 100m or within the outer ring of the Colosseum hidden from view before you get to the ticket office! Tickets to the Colosseum also allow entry to the Palatine Hill, accessed through the Roman Forum.
Colosseum in Rome was built by the Flavians. Work started in AD72 and finished in AD82. The inauguration of Titus in AD80 was a 100 day festival during which over 5000 wild animals and 2000 gladiators died. During the Middle Ages the Colosseum became an informal quarry and stones were often used for other buildings in Rome, including parts of St. Peter's Basilica.
Colosseum in Rome is a huge ellipse 188m long and 156 wide. Originally 240 masts were attached to stone corbels on the 4th level. From these a vast canopy could be extended to cover the whole amphitheatre to shield spectators. The Colosseum in Rome tourism was used for the re-enactment of famous Roman battles, with gladiators saluting the emperor with 'Ave Caesar, morituri te salutant!' (Hail Caesar, those who are about to die salute thee!). Such a death was not considered dishonourable in Roman times.
Colosseum in Rome was designed to hold 50,000 spectators, and it had approximately eighty entrances so crowds could arrive and leave easily and quickly.
The plan is a vast ellipse, measuring externally 188 m x 156 m (615 ft x 510 ft), with the base of the building covering about 6 acres. Vaults span between eighty radial walls to support tiers of seating and for passageways and stairs. The facade of three tiers of arches and an attic story is about 48.5 m (158 ft) tall — roughly equivalent to a 12-15 story building.
Steep steps ascend at points within the Colosseum ascend to the upper tier from where this picture was taken. This panoramic photograph was taken at the end nearest the Roman Forum, and the tunnels and works that rested under the arena floor from which animals and people entered the arena are clearly visible. Part of the arena floor has been reconstructed at the far end. Gladiators used to enter the arena through a gate just below the crowd of people in the foreground. The Imperial box was located at the mid point of the left hand side of the arena. The most common spelling is "Colosseum", but search will quickly show that it seems that no two places spell it the same. Other variants include 'Coloseum, Colisseum, Colliseum, Colleseum, Colossium and Colissium'.
The name Colosseum is in fact a much later addition. It was originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, and was conceived as a peculiarly Roman political gesture ... a gift from a new dynasty of Roman emperors to a populace kept happy by Colosseum in Rome attractions bread and circuses.
In 68AD Emperor Nero died and with him the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Vespasian, was made emperor by the Senate in the following year and decided the city needed a new amphitheatre. Just like a modern politician, such gestures simultaneously pleased the populace and would (hopefully) leave a lasting monument to the emperor's greatness. Well maybe. The city's first amphitheatre in stone had been built in 29BC by Statilius Taurus, but Caligula (12-41AD) had adjudged it too small and started building his own.
Claudius succeeded Caligula and immediately halted his grand plan. And when Nero ruled Rome he eschewed the Statilius arena and made plans for his own, to be built in the Campus Martis. A magnificent building by all accounts, but razed in the fire that swept Rome in 64AD.
So Rome needed a new arena and a line drawn under the profligate and acquisitive rule of Nero, who had built a personal empire in the heart of Rome, taking public land to build his palace, the Domus Area. Very impressive it was too, with a vast artificial lake in the parklands of Nero's residence, but Vespasian elected to make a gift of the land back to the people of Rome - a gesture of reconciliation after the excesses of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. The wisest Roman rulers always realised that the Emperors were ultimately elected (not gods) and that they ruled by the consent of the populace. Remarkably it took only 10 years to built the arena. Remarkable because this was one of the most impressive pieces of architecture the world had seen.
Colosseum in Rome is a huge ellipse with tiered seating, with an elliptical arena within. It combined a mix of materials including (a surprise for modern visitors here perhaps) concrete for the foundations. The Romans invented the super-strong material, and it allowed them to build larger, more stable buildings. Travertine stone (mined from the hills of Latium around Rome) was used for the piers and arcades. Colosseum in Rome tourism Tufa (softer volcanic rock) was used as infill between the piers on the walls of the lower two levels. Concrete faced with brick was used for the upper levels and for the ceiling vaults. The characteristic rounded arches that the builders used also provided great strength and support, spreading the weight of the upper tiers.
There was a mix of styles too. The Romans may not have been architectural innovators on a par with the Greeks, but they could replicate the detail. The three tiers of arcades had a facade of three-quarter columns and entablatures, with a succession of architectural orders: Doric on the first storey, Ionic on the second, Corinthian on the third. The attic storey bore Corinthian pilasters and little square windows in alternating bays. Along the top were brackets and sockets to support the velarium, a canopy providing shade ... the first sports arena with a retractable roof.
Eighty radiating walls supported the rising tiers of seating for the 50,000 seated spectators and for the stairs and passages that linked the vast complex. Within the outer walls, staircases joined the levels, and the Colosseum had much in common with a modern football stadium.
The whole thing covered some six acres, measuring 188 x 156 metres (615 ft x 510 ft), with the base of the building covering about 6 acres. Vaults span between eighty radial walls to support tiers of seating and for passageways and stairs. The Colosseum in Rome travel facade rose to 48.5m, about the height of 15 modern storeys. The new arena was alternatively known as the Amphitheatrum Caesareum (hunting theatre) a reflection of the hunting games that took place alongside the gladiatorial contests.
The arena had a wooden floor spread with sand to absorb the blood (our word 'arena' derives from the Roman harena meaning sand). Beneath this, a subterranean complex of passages and rooms, cages for the lions and tigers, food stores for the spectators, robing room for the spectators, had been built within the dip of Nero's old lake. Trap doors from here opened onto the floor of the arena itself, providing continual surprises for the spectators (and contestants) within.
Vespasian began his amphitheatre 72 AD and his son Titus opened it in 80AD with a games lasting 100 days (one gets intimations of the hubris and decadence that led to the eventual fall of Rome here). The building wasn't actually finished when it opened (nothing changes) but Domitian, Titus's brother, saw it to a conclusion.
The most popular games were hunts (venationes) and gladiatorial games (munerae). Domitian constructed four ludi, the prisons where gladiators were trained, next to the arena. There were also bestiarii, gladiators who fought lions, tigers and other beasts. The Catholic Church today claims the Colosseum as a shrine to the Christian martyrs they say were fed to the lions ... though some Colosseum in Rome tourism historians dispute this popular image.
Colosseum in Rome saw around 450 years of service as Rome's entertainment centre. Architectural historians have read many alterations and additions to Vespasian's original structure. In 217AD the higher storeys were wrecked by fire, and there were earthquakes in 442, 470 and 847AD. The last recorded gladiatorial contest was in 404AD, the last hunt in 523AD. It would be tempting to think that Romans had become softened and civilised as Christianity took hold, but the decline is probably down to a lack of cash. The Roman empire was faltering. A series of invasions by Goths, Huns and others were weakening their hold and the revenue being pulled in from its territories ... and Games were expensive.
By the tenth century AD, the Colosseum had been abandoned and Rome was a shadow of its imperial height. Houses and shops were built within the structure, many of them hacking off chunks of the tufa to build with. Now it was used as a defensive wall, a fortress against invaders. During the Renaissance, Rome rose again, and more stone was pilfered from the Colosseum for new palazzi. Restoration began in the 18th century Its destruction was hastened during the renaissance and later by its use as a source of building materials, until restoration started again in the eighteenth century.
More recent restoration has focused on simply maintaining the Colosseum ... nobody seriously talks about rebuilding it in its entirety, and a €20m restoration project was completed in 2000. Today, lit from within on a Roman night, the Colosseum never fails to make visitors catch their breath: it is still recognisably the building started nearly 2,000 years ago to entertain the Roman public.
The Flavian emperors Vespasian and Titus built the Colosseum in central Rome between 70 and 82 AD. At least 50,000 spectators - and possibly many more - could sit in the enormous building. The Colosseum in Rome is sometimes called the Amphitheatrum Flavium (Flavian Amphitheater) after the emperors who constructed it.
Colosseum in Rome is probably the most impressive building of the Roman empire. Originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater, it was the largest building of the era. The monumental structure has fallen into ruins, but Colosseum in Rome attractions even today it is an imposing and beautiful sight.
Emperor Vespasian, founder of the Flavian Dynasty, started construction of the Colosseum in AD 72. It was completed in AD 80, the year after Vespasian's death. The huge amphitheater was built on the site of an artificial lake, part of Nero's huge park in the center of Rome which also included the Golden House (Domus Aurea) and the nearby Colossus statue. This giant statue of Nero also gave the building its current name.
The elliptical building is immense, measuring 188m by 156m and reaching a height of more than 48 meter (159 ft). The Colosseum could accommodate some 55,000 spectators who could enter the building through no less than 80 entrances.
Above the ground are four storeys, the upper storey contained seating for lower classes and women. The lowest storey was preserved for prominent citizens. Below the ground were rooms and cages containing wild animals and Colosseum in Rome travel mechanical devices. The cages could be hoisted, enabling the animals to appear in the middle of the arena.
Colosseum in Rome was covered with an ernormous awning known as the velarium. This protected the spectators from the sun. It was attached to large poles on top of the Colosseum and anchored to the ground by large ropes. A team of some 1,000 men was used to install the awning.
Emperors used the Colosseum to entertain the public with free games. Those games were a symbol of prestige and power and they were a way for an emperor to increase his popularity. Games were held for a whole day or even several days in a row. They usually started with comical acts and displays of exotic animals and ended with fights to the death between animals and gladiators or between gladiators. These Colosseum in Rome tourism fighters were usually slaves, prisoners of war or condemned criminals. Sometimes free Romans and even Emperors took part in the action.
Hundred-day games were held by Titus, Vespasian's successor, to mark the inauguration of the building in AD 80. In the process, some 9,000 wild animals were slaughtered. The southern side of the Colosseum was felled by an earthquake in 847. Parts of the building - including the marble facade - were used for the construction of later monuments, including the St. Peter's Basilica.
The amphitheater is a vast ellipse with tiers of seating for 50,000 spectators around a central elliptical arena. Below the wooden arena floor, there was a complex set of rooms and passageways for wild beasts and other provisions for staging the spectacles. Eighty walls radiate from the arena and support vaults for passageways, stairways and the tiers of seats. At the outer edge circumferential arcades link each level and the Colosseum in Rome attractions stairways between levels.
The three tiers of arcades are faced by three-quarter columns and entablatures, Doric in the first story, Ionic in the second, and Corinthian in the third. Above them is an attic story with Corinthian pilasters and small square window openings in alternate bays. At the top brackets and sockets carry the masts from which the velarium, a canopy for shade, was suspended.
The construction utilized a careful combination of types: concrete for the foundations, travertine for the piers and arcades, tufa infill between piers for the walls of the lower two levels, and brick-faced concrete used for the upper levels and Colosseum in Rome travel for most of the vaults.