7 Facts about the Colosseum, in Rome: anecdotes and curiosities

The most curious facts about the Colosseum that perhaps you don’t know and how to learn more and enjoy at best this World Heritage.


Known also as the Flavian Amphitheater, the Colosseum is with no doubt one of the most popular and stunning symbols of Rome and of Italy all over the world.

Even if you have never been to Italy yet, you must have seen some pictures of this amazing Roman construction while surfing the web or in some of the postcards your beloved have sent to you in the past.

If you are planning your trip to Rome, maybe it’s high time to book a Maya Tours Vatican and Colosseum private tour, to have the possibility of seeing it in all its splendor… and most hidden secrets!

But let’s make this World Heritage more interesting by listing some facts and anecdotes concerning this ancient Rome Masterpiece, also listed among the New 7 Wonders of the World.

A matter of dimension 


First of all, its dimensions. If up to now you have seen the Colosseum just on a postcard, maybe you haven’t had the true perception of its hugeness. It’s really amazing! With its 189 meters of length and 156 meters of width, the Colosseum covers an area of 24,000 square meters.

Moreover, once you lift your eyes you will admire its over 48 meters height. Its shape and its dimensions are really stunning.

A matter of time 

Above all, if you consider that it was built in just 5 years from 75 to 80 AD, you can figure out how important this place was for the Roman Empire and the place it had in the romans imagination.

colosseum in rome_facts about the colosseum

A matter of materials

The original facade was made up of travertine, a really expensive marble that later would have been stolen to build up other buildings around Rome, including St Peter’s Basilica.

What’s more, for many centuries the Colosseum was completely neglected, and its current look does not correspond at all to the original one.

In the name of the fathers 

Its present common name is not the original one. The name Colosseum comes from the Middle Ages, referring to its position, close to a big statue of Nero.

Originally it was known as Flavian Amphitheater, after the name of the dynasty that had it built.

A secret forest…

Another thing you may not know about the Colosseum is that, during the centuries of neglect and abandonment, from the fall of the empire to the modern age, it has been literally invaded by wild plants, some of which really unusual in the Mediterranean  area, such as several species of exotic plants, due to the particular microclimate, still objects of study by botanists and experts coming from all over the world.

Some macabre secret

Because of the many people that unfortunately died here during the gladiators’ battles, this was considered one of the gates to hell (but this credence is from the Middle Age, when this place was also considered a pagan symbol), a place where spirits hunted and wandered at night.
Moreover, being a totally abandoned place for many years, many brigands came here to bury corpses after a murder.

Also read: “Tips to Enjoy Rome like a local”

What the Colosseum was originally used for

Leaving aside numbers and false oddities related to its use, included Christians sacrifices, something that truly never happened here, you must be curious to know what the Colosseum was originally used for: ship battles!
The so called “nauromachie”, made this huge structure become like a “private lake” of the Emperors!

For this purpose, the Amphitheater was filled in with water: a process that used to take up to 7 hours! The nauromachia show must have been really unusual, nevertheless this kind of entertainment was less interesting than the more famous and spectacular games with gladiators and wild animal fights, which managed to gather thousands of Romans.

people in rome

The list of things you may not know about the Colosseum is still quite long, that’s why I  suggest you to book a guided tour to manage to get the most of it: your guide will take you back to the past times, and show you the most uncommon corners of the ancient Roman arena, but also take you for a walk on the Palatine Hill, from which you will admire Nero’s Circus Maximus, the Roman Forum and other monuments, and fall in love once for all with the Eternal City.


  • Ahik

    That was a great opportunity for me. I love it . I want to try many time but I can not go there. After I read your post I decided to go there finally. I want to know more information about this place can you told me how many problem I face there. As like hotel and restaurant.

  • Nayna Kanabar

    The Colosseum is such an amazing building and I would love to visit the place one day .

  • London Mumma

    We are actually going to Rome in a few months and this is major must have sightseeing place for my daughter and I to learn it’s history.

  • Vincent Le

    Thank you for sharing some insight about the Colosseum. It makes me want to make irrational decision to go to Rome ASAP!

  • David Allen Elliott

    I would definitely be curious to learn more about the Coliseum. I wonder where the belief about the Christians being killed in the Coliseum came from if not from there. Although the battles where they filled it up with water seems like it would be awesome.

  • Kate Andrews

    I have always wanted to go to Rome and the Colosseum is on my list of must sees. Gorgeous!

  • Msddah

    I cannot wait to visit this place. Cant believe I am yet to visit. Thanks for providing this information about the Colosseum.

  • Karla

    Those are interesting facts! That’s what I love about having a tour guide. They can provide extra details and can bring you to uncommon corners!

  • Fashion and Style Police

    What an interesting post. I have always wanted to visit Rome. Visited Milan last year and Rome has been on my travel list since then.

  • Dalene Ekirapa

    The Colosseum has always been a wonder to every traveler since many have included the place in their travel bucket list; including me. And with these seven facts, it even gets more intriguing. And as much as it has been neglected, it still stands and looks anciently beautiful.

  • Laura

    This is such a wonderful post, my kids are learning about the Colosseum at the moment so this is a great help for us.

  • Elizabeth O

    This was a really interesting article. I have learned a lot of new things about the Colosseum in Rome it looks like such an experience one I’d like to see.

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