Lonely Planet Writer

The top tiers of Rome's Colosseum set to reopen to the public

For the first time in 40 years, the uppermost two tiers of Rome’s Colosseum are going to be opened to the public on 1 November.

General view taken from the top of the Ancient Colosseum during a press preview of the 4th and 5th level of the monument newly opened to the public, on 3 October, 2017 in Rome. Image by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images

In Roman times these were seen as the worst seats in the arena because they were the furthest away from the action and would have been the most tiring to climb up to. The first tier was reserved for the emperor and senators, who brought their own chairs with them. The second and third tiers were for the upper classes and wealthy citizens, who sat on cushions on marble benches. The fourth tier was for lower-class citizens such as merchants and shopkeepers and the very top fifth tier was built later for the poor, slaves and women, who sat on wooden benches.

People visit the ancient amphitheater Colosseum on 3 October, 2017 in Rome, Italy. Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini attends a press preview of the opening of the 4th and 5th level of the Colosseum. Image by Stefano Montesi – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Visitors will be able to pay an extra €9 on top of the regular ticket price of €12 to be taken on a guided tour up to the fourth and fifth floors of the amphitheatre. At up to 48 metres high, these areas offer a spectacular view over the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill, where the emperors’ palaces once stood.

The new opening is part of an ongoing renovation of the Colosseum, which has already seen the outside facade of the building comprehensively cleaned and restored, and the underground parts of the arena, where wild beasts to be used in the entertainment were caged, opened to the public. There are also plans to create a new visitor centre and reinstall the floor of the arena, so that reenactments and other events can be held in the amphitheatre.