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Rome’s Colosseum opens top levels to tourists for the first time in 40 years

The nosebleed seats offer an expansive view of the structure’s interior as well as the city at large

Colosseum in Rome	Shutterstock

Italy is opening up a new section of its most popular tourist destination. Starting November 1, visitors to the Colosseum—the largest amphitheater ever built—will be able to take a guided tour through the highest levels of the building. It’s the first time the fourth and fifth levels has been open to tourists in 40 years, according to The Telegraph.

Nearly 2,000 years ago, in ancient Rome, some 50,000 to 80,000 people would have packed the Colosseum for every carnage-filled gladiatorial event. Much like the seating tiers at today’s sports events, the more important and wealthy you were, the closer you got to sit to the action. The emperor had a special reserved box, senators sat on marble benches in the front rows, knights sat on the second and third levels, and merchants and traders took the fourth. It was the regular folks—plebeians—who’d have climbed all the way up steep stone stairs to sit on wooden benches on the fifth level, rising over 120 feet above ground.

Colosseum in Rome
Interior view of the Colosseum.
Jean-Pol Grandmont/Wikipedia

Though the fifth level is a less-than-ideal spot if you want a good view of exotic animals tearing each other apart, it does provide an expansive view of the interior of the structure and the city at large. The tour also includes a hallway never opened to tourists before.

“It’s not been possible to visit this part of the Colosseum for 40 years,” said Culture Minister Dario Franceschini. “This restores another part of the monument to the public and provides incredible views of not only the Colosseum but also Rome.”

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Via: Atlas Obscura, The Telegraph