8 Facts you didn’t know about the Colosseum

What often comes to mind when thinking about the Colosseum is most likely to be its famous gladiator fights. But beyond all that, the Flavian Amphitheatre also held all sort of numerous show and celebrations. Taking this name after the Flavian Dynasty who built it in the 70 A.D, that later would be known as the Colosseum due to the giant golden bronze statue, more that 35 meters high, of the “Colossus of Nero” that was erected beside the ancient Rome Colosseum

Bellow you can discover 8 facts about the Roman Colosseum that you probably didn’t know:

  1. The world’s biggest amphitheatre
  2. It was covered by a huge solar awning called “Velarium”
  3. Julius Caesar never visited the Colosseum
  4. It is the most visited monument in Italy
  5. The gate of life and the gate of death
  6. There were women gladiators
  7. There were organised hunting events called “Venatio”
  8. The actual gym were the gladiators used to train is it situated in front of the Colosseum

The world’s biggest amphitheatre

And it is also the most famous one, constructed by the Romans during the ancient times. It had the capacity to hold up to 65.000 people.


It was covered by a huge solar awning called “Velarium”

The Colosseum had a special system to protect the audience from the rain and sun, especially in the afternoon.

On the upper level of the amphitheatre have been found the remains and areas where they supported the 250 wooden masts that held the complex system of robes. The awning didn’t extend over the entire structure but sloped downwards towards the arena.

Julius Caesar never visited the Colosseum

You have probably imagined the emperor Julius Caesar assisting to one of the many events at the Colosseum, but the truth is that he never visited it. He was murdered in the year 44 B.C and, as we said before, the construction of the building started in the year 70 A.D.


It is the most visited monument in Italy

The Colosseum is the most iconic symbol of Rome, it is one of the main touristic places in Italy visited by millions of tourists every year. It is an absolute must-see when visiting the country.

The gate of life and the gate of death

To access the building there were 80 different entrances. Out these 80, 76 entrances were numbered for the public. Today, you can still see some of the roman numbers over the standing arches.

The emperor had a special gate to access and the vestal virgins (the priestesses that kept the fire of Rome) had their gate situated on the other extreme of the arena.

The gladiators accessed through the gate of the arena, the porta Triumphalis or also “the gate of life” as it represented their rebirth. The winner would also exit the building through this same door. The gate of death was located on the west side, through this narrow opening they would carry away the corpses of the defeated gladiators and sacrificed beasts.

There were women gladiators

They were called Gladiatrix and their clothing was designed to highlight their feminine physiognomy, they didn’t wear helmets or robes.               

It seems as if there was a different reason for them not to wear it. Women didn’t generally used helmets in order to show their hairstyles and to clearly show the sex of the fighter.

Many emperors didn’t agree with this sort of shows, one of them was Settimio Severus in the year 200 when he abolished women to participate on these fights. The prohibition was a way to proclaim that fighting it is entitled to men. Many painting and mosaics found it the Roman Colosseum second all this.

There were organised hunting events called “Venatio”

The battles and hunting exhibitions happened on a sort of stage with trees and buildings that also moved around. Sometimes these celebrations were represented on a large scale.All sort of wild animals from different empires were brought and used at the Colosseum. The majority taken from Africa, such as rhinoceros, hippopotamus, elephants, giraffes, lions, panthers, leopards, crocodiles and ostriches.

The actual gym were the gladiators used to train is it situated in front of the Colosseum

The Ludus Magnus was the name of the biggest, out of the four, gladiator gyms built by Dominitian. It was located on the Caelian hill opposite the Colosseum, and today it is possible see the archaeological remains of it. 

Did you expect all these interesting facts about the Colosseum?

After visiting the Colosseum, you probably want to also see the Roman Forum, here you have another article, so you know what to see at the Roman Forum.