The public can now explore the upper levels of the Colosseum.
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The upper levels provide an aerial view of the Colosseum’s complex structure.
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This diagram illustrates the Colosseum’s original construction.
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Restoration Reveals New Views
The top levels of Rome’s Colosseum are open for the first time in 40 years

Paul Cates | for Scholastic Art

In ancient Rome, people on the hunt for entertainment flocked to the city’s legendary Colosseum. The massive stadium hosted gladiator battles and chariot races, attracting thousands of enthusiastic fans. Fast-forward to the present, and the Colosseum is still one of the most frequented attractions in the world. But for the past 40 years, officials have restricted visitors from accessing the Colosseum’s top two tiers. Now a conservation effort has granted visitors access to the structure’s fourth and fifth floors, offering incredible views to tourists and locals alike.

Restoring a Roman Landmark

The Romans built the Colosseum 2,000 years ago. The sand and stone structure housed epic sporting events and other forms of entertainment. After 400 years of wear and tear, the massive structure fell into a state of decay. By the 20th century, only a third of the once great amphitheater remained.

Restoration of the long-standing tourist attraction began in the 1990s. Experts wanted not only to preserve the monumental arena, but also to make it safer for visitors to explore. Now, the top levels of the 171-foot structure are open to the public.

A Grand Opening

In ancient Rome, the fourth and fifth floors were the cheapest seats in the house. They were reserved for the plebeians, or lower classes, while the wealthy sat in the lower sections, closer to the action at ground level. But today, people climb to the Colosseum’s highest levels for a stunning view of Rome and the iconic arena’s interior.

Additionally, the Colosseum’s restoration resulted in public access to a corridor and a walkway for the first time in modern history. In the corridor, visitors will find remnants of an ancient Roman restroom.

The Colosseum’s fourth and fifth tiers opened to the public November 1, 2017, offering visitors a new understanding of an old landmark.