3d model and reconstruction


If you walk into the Colosseum today you get an idea, much more than looking at it from the outside, of how much of this monument has been lost. The steps where the spectators used to sit have all collapsed, also the whole surface of the arena is missing where the shows took place, consisting of a wooden boards. As a consequence the underground structures are visible, where the animals were kept in cages and the machinery used for the shows stored.

The most suggestive reconstructions of the monument are always those which have tried to recreate the atmosphere of the fights which took place there, with the audience all around, ready to call for the gladiator’s death or saving, in the presence of the Emperor. According to the sources, the building could contain more than eighty thousand people. Also according to an ancient source we know that to prevent the animals used for the shows from attacking the spectators, between the arena and the terraces there was a fencing crowned with ivory rolls and elephant tusks.

Exactly from the combination between ancient sources, historical drawings and current remains it has been possible to return to life one of the most famous monuments in the world, placing it within an area full of history and various building phases: we can assume that before the Colosseum was built, there was the famous small lake used by Nero for his naumachia (naval battle) shows. The reconstruction images include the external structure and also the cavea with the audience looking at a gladiators’ show.

Apart from the images in the viewer, on request, it is possible to have videos or other images from different perspectives.

Available multimedia materials:

  • videos
  • images
  • text

Are you interested in Media content on the Colosseum?

Short history of


The structure of the amphitheater was begun under the first of the Flavian emperors, Vespasian and it was dedicated by him the first time; his successor, Titus, continued the work and inaugurated it a second time in 181 AD. It was not until Domitian, however, the third emperor of the dynasty, that work on the complex was completed. It was built over the artificial lake of the Domus Aurea in which, in Nero’s time, the naumachiae were held. The choice of the site for the construction of the amphitheater was probably not coincidental, and was probably part of the anti-Nero policies implemented by Vespasian.

The project was the expression of the wish to restore to the people a piece of land that had been incorporated into the imperial palace. The construction of the building made it necessary to reclaim the swampy land. At first, all of the structures built below the level of the staging area were made of wood, so that they could be removed to allow for the flooding of the area for the holding of the naumachiae. Later, perhaps during the final stages of construction under Domitian, the wood structures were replaced by masonry and thus became permanent.

The entire complex presents four levels on its exterior façade, distinguished by three levels of arcades respectively in the Tuscan, Ionic, and Corinthian orders; the last story is blind, subdivided by Corinthian pilaster strips. On the interior are five ambulacra with vaulted roofs. The grandstand or cavea is said to have been divided into five tiers.

You might also be interested in…

Discover other reconstructions in the same theme area