Rome boasts only a handful of other ancient monuments that survive in such well-preserved condition. It is the most visited monument in Rome, standing in the centre of the city in a valley between the Velia to the west, the Esquiline to the north and the Caelian Hill to the south.
The Colosseum was once the setting for gladiator combat, lion-feeding frenzies, and public entertainment whose cruelty was a noted characteristic of the Empire. The interior still retains an extraordinary atmosphere, and the Hadrian’s Temple of Venus, the largest temple in Rome, and the well-preserved Arch of Constantine are close by. The Domus Aurea, Nero’s ‘Golden House’, is on the Oppian Hill just above the Colosseum.
It is the largest amphitheatre ever built by the Romans and the name ‘Colosseo’ probably refers to a colossal statue of Nero, which stood beside the amphitheatre. Its original name, the Flavian Amphitheatre, commemorated the family name of Vespasian, who begun the building in 70 AD, and of his son Titus, who completed it ten years later.
This was the first amphitheatre in the city to be built in stone. All three of the ancient world's classical styles (Doric, Ionic and Corinthian) are represented, superimposed in tiers one above the other.