The Colosseum is an oval amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy. Built of concrete and sand, it is the largest amphitheatre ever built and probably the most well-known landmark of Rome. Construction began under the emperor Vespasian in AD 72, and was completed in AD 80 under his successor and heir Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81-96).

The Colosseum could hold, it is estimated, between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, having an average audience of some 65,000; it 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.

Although partially ruined because of damage caused by earthquakes and stone-robbers, the Colosseum is still an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. It is one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions and also has links to 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.

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Founded: 72-80 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in Italy

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4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kavya Shekar (2 years ago)
The place is iconic for a reason. The Roman Colosseum is a fantastic piece of architecture. Every nook and cranny holds a historic significance. Make sure to get yourself an audio video guide when you enter. It explains the story behind the architecture - the social classes during Roman empire, the battle of Gladiators, their hidden surprise rooms below the battle grounds, etc. Plan to spend at least 2 hours roaming around and exploring this wonderful monument. The Roman ruins and other popular landmarks are also close by when you are done with this gem. Do NOT miss the Colosseum when you visit Rome!
Wendy Carroll (2 years ago)
Such an amazing place. Didn't go inside, but walking around the outside and picking up the history is so fascinating. Looking at what was achieved without the machinery that we have access to today. Apparently 50,000 spectators could be accommodated and the means for the spectators to depart the Colosseum had also been incorporated into this magnificent icon.
Squidgy H (2 years ago)
Amazing to see an ancient piece of history. Crazy to think the things that went on there. It felt a bit surreal if I'm honest, reasonably priced. Lots of maintenance/construction going on at the same time but I guess that's understandable. Would highly recommend a visit!
Sam Hughes (2 years ago)
We went on a nice February day when the sun was shining but was not too hot (~20C) and so exploring this ancient marvel was not too strenuous. I would highly recommend a guide so that you know what everything is and also to go down onto the arena platform for the full experience. I loved learning about the fascinating history of the Colosseum and I would recommend it when the weather isn't 50C.
Arnav Singh (2 years ago)
The gladiators arena is glorious! This is a place rich with incredible history. It is a great place to visit, you will be in awe of the architecture, the reconstruction, the museum (that's right, it houses a small museum), the history, and the incredible views both in and around the Colosseum. The metro station takes you right to the Colosseum, with plenty of other sites within walking distance. Top tips: • Buy your tickets online and in advance. • Leave yourself plenty of time to see both the Colosseum and the Forum. The Forum takes about 3 hours to see, and you can easily spend over an hour in the Colosseum. • Wear comfortable shoes, there's a lot of walking involved. • ENJOY!
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Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.