How Big Is the Colosseum in Rome?

By Michael Ferguson

The Colosseum in Rome is an iconic structure that has fascinated people from all over the world for centuries. Its sheer size and grandeur are a testament to the ingenuity and architectural prowess of the ancient Romans. In this article, we will explore just how big the Colosseum really is, and why it continues to be a marvel of engineering.

Size and Dimensions
The Colosseum is an elliptical amphitheater, with a length of 189 meters (615 feet), a width of 156 meters (510 feet), and a height of 48 meters (157 feet). It covers an area of about 6 acres, making it one of the largest amphitheaters ever built.

The Colosseum was designed to accommodate a staggering number of spectators. It had a seating capacity of approximately 50,000 to 80,000 people. This impressive capacity allowed for large-scale events such as gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, mock sea battles, and theatrical performances.

The construction of the Colosseum began in AD 72 under the orders of Emperor Vespasian and was completed in AD 80 during the reign of his son Titus. The materials used for its construction included concrete, limestone, and bricks. The outer wall consisted mainly of travertine stone blocks held together by iron clamps.

Architectural Features

The Colosseum is divided into four main levels: the arena floor, two tiers with arcades filled with statues or reliefs, and an attic level with small windows. The lower levels were adorned with columns that supported arches while the upper levels featured Corinthian pilasters.

Underground Chambers

One fascinating feature of the Colosseum is its underground chambers known as hypogeum. These chambers were used to house animals, stage machinery, and gladiators. The hypogeum consisted of a network of tunnels and cages connected by ramps and pulleys that allowed for smooth transitions during the spectacles.

Exterior Facade

The exterior facade of the Colosseum was adorned with decorative elements such as statues, reliefs, and inscriptions. Unfortunately, much of this decoration has been lost over time due to weathering and looting.

  • Travertine stone blocks were used for the lower levels.
  • Brick-faced concrete was used for the upper levels.
  • The outer wall was embellished with statues and reliefs.


Despite its age and the damage it has suffered over the centuries, the Colosseum remains an enduring symbol of Roman engineering and culture. It is not only a popular tourist attraction but also serves as a reminder of the grandeur of ancient Rome.

In conclusion, the Colosseum in Rome is an architectural masterpiece that continues to captivate visitors with its impressive size and rich history. From its massive dimensions to its intricate underground chambers, every aspect of this iconic structure showcases the ingenuity and skill of ancient Roman builders. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply appreciate magnificent architecture, a visit to the Colosseum is an experience that should not be missed.