Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian amphitheatre, is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of concrete and stone, it was the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire, and is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering. It is the largest amphitheatre in the world.


Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

The Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in 70 AD, and was completed in 80 AD under his successor and heir Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian. These three emperors are known as the Flavian dynasty, and the amphitheatre was named in Latin for its association with their family name.

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

The Colosseum could hold, it is estimated, between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, and was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. The building ceased to be used for entertainment in the early medieval era. It was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine.

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Although in the 21st century it stays partially ruined because of damage caused by devastating earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. It is one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions and has close connections with the Roman Catholic Church, as each Good Friday the Pope leads a torchlit "Way of the Cross" procession that starts in the area around the Colosseum.

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

In 2007 the complex was included among the New 7 Wonders of the World, following a competition organized by New Open World Corporation.

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Physical description

Exterior

Unlike earlier Greek theatres that were built into hillsides, the Colosseum is an entirely free-standing structure. It derives its basic exterior and interior architecture from that of two Roman theatres back to back. It is elliptical in plan and is 189 meters long, and 156 meters wide, with a base area of 24,000 square metres. The height of the outer wall is 48 meters. The central arena is an oval 87 m long and 55 m wide, surrounded by a wall 5 m high, above which rose tiers of seating.

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description


Interior seating

According to the Codex-Calendar of 354, the Colosseum could accommodate 87,000 people, although modern estimates put the figure at around 50,000. They were seated in a tiered arrangement that reflected the rigidly stratified nature of Roman society. Special boxes were provided at the north and south ends respectively for the Emperor and the Vestal Virgins, providing the best views of the arena. Flanking them at the same level was a broad platform or podium for the senatorial class, who were allowed to bring their own chairs. The names of some 5th century senators can still be seen carved into the stonework, presumably reserving areas for their use.

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

In 2011 Diego Della Valle, head of the shoe firm Tod's, entered into an agreement with local officials to sponsor a €25 million restoration of the Colosseum.

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description



Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description



Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description

Colosseum elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of Rome | Italy | Physical description