Amphitheatres in the ancient world were large public entertainment complexes which took the form of open-air oval stadia with ascending seating. Most surviving amphitheatres are from ancient Rome and the surviving roman amphitheatre list is actually more populated than you might imagine – with many excellent examples of surviving Roman amphitheatres.
Roman amphitheatres should not however be confused with ancient theatres, particularly Greek theatres. Amphitheatres are full ovals and are more like today’s sporting stadia, whereas ancient theatres were semi-circular with a theatrical-style stage and were used for plays and other performances.
For hundreds of years amphitheatres staged gladiatorial games, wild beast shows, races and executions. It was also known for amphitheatres to be flooded to stage mock-naval battles. The majority of Roman amphitheatres were built in Imperial times and were used as a way to keep the populace happy. Many new emperors would stage elaborate games as a way to secure their hold on power. The larger Roman amphitheatres could hold around 20,000 people while Rome’s Colosseum, the largest Roman amphitheatre, could cater for 50,000.
Today there are many amphitheaters around the world, particularly in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. They remain in radically different states of preservation – some, like Nimes Arena, were incorporated into other structures such as fortresses and survived in excellent condition, while others are but an oval sketching in the ground.
Above is the Roman amphitheatres map and below you will find a list of amphitheatres – click on the links to find out more details on each amphitheater, including map location, directions and entry details where relevant. Remember, you can always use our free itinerary planner tool to plan your own Roman amphitheatre tour.
Easily the most famous of all Roman amphitheatres, and the largest amphitheatre of Ancient Rome, the Colosseum saw gladiators, criminals and lions alike fight for their lives in spectacular events. Today it remains a world renowned, iconic symbol of the Roman Empire.
The Colosseum is a site like no other. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, nothing represents the sheer power and magnificence of the Roman Empire like this stunning piece of ancient architecture. The Colosseum, or ‘Colosseo’ in Italian, was once the largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire. It was built in... Read More
One of the most impressive Roman amphitheatres in the world, El Jem in Tunisia is a magnificent UNESCO listed third century Roman stadium.
El Jem Amphitheatre (El Djem) in Tunisia, also known as Thysdrus Amphitheatre after the original Roman settlement in this location, stands in the midst of a quiet town. This incredibly large and well-preserved Roman amphitheatre is El Jem’s star attraction and draws visitors from around the world. From the outside, the... Read More
Possibly the best preserved Roman amphitheatre in the world, Nimes Arena survived due to its adaptation over the centuries, being used as a fortress and village before its eventual restoration.
Nimes Arena (Arenes de Nimes), also known as Nimes Amphitheatre, is amongst the best preserved Roman amphitheatres in the world. A Roman Marvel Built during the reign of the Emperor Augustus in the first century AD, Nimes Arena is a marvel of Roman engineering. A vast oval with a stunning... Read More
One of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres, Arles Amphitheatre is a UNESCO listed Roman sports arena still in use today.
Arles Amphitheatre or “Amphithéâtre d'Arles” is a large sports arena built by the Romans around the first century BC or AD, during the reign of Augustus (27 BC–14 AD). At the time, Arles was flourishing as a Roman colony and benefiting from the construction of several monuments, of which Arles... Read More
Caesarea in Israel was an Ancient Roman city later conquered by the Crusaders which includes the remains of a Roman amphitheatre.
Caesarea or “Keysarya” was an Ancient Roman city which is now a large archaeological site in Israel. It is believed that the city of Caesarea was initially founded atop the ruins of Straton's Tower, a third century BC Phoenician port city. Conquered by King Alexander Jannaeus of the Hasmonean Kingdom in... Read More
An extremely well preserved entry among on our Roman amphitheatre list, Leptis Magna amphitheatre would once have held almost 20,000 people and is still an impressive site today.
Leptis Magna (Lepcis Magna) is an incredibly well preserved archaeological site in Tripoli, Libya. Originally founded by the Phoenicians as the port of Lpgy in the first millennium BC, Leptis Magna later became part of the Carthaginian Empire and was then incorporated into the Roman Empire in 46 BC. Most of... Read More
The oldest surviving Roman amphitheatre, Pompeii amphitheatre was able to hold around 20,000 people and was the first ever stone amphitheatre. It is extremely well preserved.
One of the best known ancient sites in the world, Pompeii was an ancient Roman city founded in the 6th to 7th century BC and famously destroyed by the eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The people of Pompeii were completely unprepared for this disaster and its... Read More
Tarragona Amphitheatre is a 2nd century AD construction which would once have played host to gladiatorial battles in front of as many as 14,000 spectators.
Tarragona Amphitheatre (Anfiteatro Romano de Tarragona) is a second century AD sports arena in Spain which would once have played host to the pastimes of the Ancient Romans, particularly to gladiatorial battles. It was probably built during the reign of Trajan or Hadrian. At the time, Tarragona Amphitheatre was part... Read More
Trier Roman Amphitheatre in Germany is a well preserved UNESCO site in use as early as the 1st century AD.
Trier Roman Amphitheatre may have been constructed as early as the first century AD, but was certainly in use by the second century. Able to hold around 20,000 spectators, Trier Roman Amphitheatre would have been the site of fierce gladiatorial battles, also involving animals. In fact, tunnels have been found under... Read More
Xanten Archaeological Park houses the remains of Roman settlement Colonia Ulpia Traiana and include an impressive amphitheatre.
Xanten Archaeological Park (Archaologischer Park Xanten) houses the remains of the former Roman settlement of Colonia Ulpia Traiana. The area of the park was first garrisoned by Roman legions in around 13 BC and soon flourished. Roads and a harbour were built as was a vast military camp and,... Read More
One of many Roman amphitheatres in France, the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls is a partially preserved first century Roman amphitheatre in Lyon.
The Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls, translated as “Amphithéâtre des Trois Gaules”, was an early first century amphitheatre in Lyon. Lyon was once the Roman city of Lugdunum. Whilst the city was founded in approximately 44 BC, the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls is thought to have been constructed in around... Read More
The ruins of Aquincum in Budapest include the partially preserved remains of two Roman amphitheatres which once served this important Roman city.
Aquincum is a large Ancient Roman site in Budapest housing the remains of part of what was an important military base and city. Most of the sites at Aquincum date back to the second century AD, when the city reached its peak with up to 40,000 inhabitants and as the... Read More
Lesser known on the list of Roman amphitheatres, Arenes de Lutece was an ancient amphitheatre in the Roman city of Lutetia, the remains of which stand in modern Paris.
Arenes de Lutece or “Lutetia Arena” in Paris is one of the most important and rare remnants of the Gallo-Roman settlement of Lutetia. Lutetia or ‘Lutece’ was a settlement located on the site of what is now Paris. Originating in pre-Roman Gaul it then became a Roman city. Originally built in... Read More
The amphitheatre in Aventicum was built around the mid-second century AD and could hold up to 16,000 people. Today it remains in good condition and is an impressive Roman site in Switzerland.
Aventicum is an impressive ancient Roman site in Switzerland which was the thriving capital of the Helvetians. It is unclear as to exactly when Aventicum was founded, but it reached its peak between the 1st century BC and 5th century AD, during its time as capital of the region... Read More
These spectacular ruins are all that remain of what was once a grand amphitheatre; the centre of entertainment in a bustling Roman town.
Nestled amongst charming French boulevards and cobbled streets is Bordeaux Amphitheatre, also known as Palais Gallien; all that remains of the once vibrant Roman city of Burdigala. Put under state protection in 1911, Bordeaux’s citizens are now working to preserve this ancient amphitheatre, a snippet of a history long since... Read More
Bulla Regia was a Roman settlement in Tunisia, famous for its subterranean villas. Among the remains is a partially preserved amphitheatre.
Bulla Regia is a significant Ancient Roman archaeological site in Tunisia with a fascinating set of subterranean villas and other monuments. Tunisia was annexed into the Roman Empire in approximately 46 BC, under Julius Caesar. Previously a Berber site, Bulla Regia flourished under the Romans, who built a series of monuments... Read More
Constructed around 90AD, the Caerleon amphitheatre could hold up to 6,000 people. Though mostly covered in grass banks, it is nevertheless one of the best preserved amphitheaters in Britain.
Caerleon Roman Fortress is home to the impressive remains of a first century Roman legionary barracks, fortifications, amphitheatre and baths. In fact, they are said to be Europe’s only such barracks on display. Built in approximately 75AD, the Caerleon Roman Fortress was known as Isca and would have been... Read More
Caerwent was once the thriving Roman settlement of Venta Silurum and remains from the city include an outline of the original amphitheatre – though there is very little to see.
Caerwent Roman Town is the name of the collection of Roman ruins which formed part of the once buzzing Roman settlement of Venta Silurum. Probably founded in the first century AD, Venta Silurum reached its peak in the second century and was home to a range of buildings and facilities.... Read More
Second in size only to Rome’s Colosseum, Campania Amphitheatre was located in the ancient city of Capua and is still reasonably well preserved today.
Campania Amphitheatre (Anfiteatro Campano) in Santa Maria Capua Vetere was the second largest amphitheatre in the Roman Empire after the Colosseum. At its zenith, Campania Amphitheatre would have been a grand four-tiered structure able to seat up to 60,000 people and adorned with beautiful monuments from columns to sculptures. Located in... Read More
Britain’s largest known amphitheatre, Chester Roman Amphitheatre would once have been able to seat between 8,000 and 12,000 spectators. However, it is only partially preserved today.
Chester Roman Amphitheatre is Britain’s largest known Roman amphitheatre. Originally part of the Roman settlement of ‘Deva’ which was founded in around 79AD and is now modern day Chester, Chester Roman Amphitheatre would have been able to seat between 8,000 and 12,000 spectators. Two amphitheatres were actually built on the site... Read More
Very little remains of Cirencester Amphitheatre in Gloucestershire, which once served the Roman city of Corinium.
Cirencester Amphitheatre is thought to have been built in the second century AD and to have had a capacity of 8,000 spectators. The theatre of the major Roman city of Corinium, today known as Cirencester, Cirencester Amphitheatre would have attracted visitors from around Roman Britain. Very little is left of Cirencester... Read More
Cumae Archaeological Park in Pozzuoli houses a series of ancient ruins including a partially preserved second century BC amphitheatre.
Cumae Archaeological Park in Pozzuoli houses a series of ancient ruins and artefacts and is thought to have been inhabited as far back as the Iron Age. Cumae itself was a settlement established by Greek colonists in the eighth century BC. Sacked by the Oscans in the fifth century BC and... Read More
Cyrene Amphitheatre was originally built by the Greeks in the 6th century BC before being adapted as a Roman amphitheater. Its partial remains can still be explored.
Cyrene in Libya is considered to be one of the most impressive Greco-Roman sites in the world and one of the best Classical Greek sites beyond Greece itself. Traditionally said to have been founded by the Greeks of Thera in 631BC, Cyrene was a trading hub first inhabited by the Battiadae... Read More
Also known as Pozzuoli Amphitheatre, the Flavian Amphitheatre was constructed during the reign of the Vespasian around the same time as Rome’s Colosseum.
The Flavian Amphitheatre (Amphitheatre Flavium) in Pozzuoli was constructed during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian, probably in around 70AD. Vespasian, who was the first Flavian dynasty emperor, built this vast amphitheatre – the third largest in Ancient Rome after those of Rome and Capua – in Pozzuoli as it was... Read More
Though very little remains of the original structure, the 1st century AD London Roman Amphitheatre is still worth a visit for those interested in Roman London.
The London Roman Amphitheatre was discovered in 1988 and remains the only known Roman amphitheatre in the city. Believed to have first been built in 74 AD, the London Roman Amphitheatre was probably extensively renovated in the second century, in around 120 AD. At its peak, the London Roman Amphitheatre would... Read More
Ranking among the best surviving roman amphitheatres in Spain, Merida Amphitheatre is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Merida Amphitheatre is a reasonably well preserved Ancient Roman amphitheatre in the Spanish city of Merida. The Emperor Augustus (63 BC - AD 14) established the Roman colony known as Augusta Emerita - later to become modern Merida - in 25 BC. Soon after its founding, Augusta Emerita became the capital... Read More
Little remains of Paestum amphitheatre which once served this important Greco-Roman city. Be sure to see the Greek temples when you visit.
Paestum is a Greco-Roman site located south of Naples which contains the stunning remains of three ancient Greek temples which still stand tall today. Founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century BC, Paestum was originally known as Poseidonia, named for the Greek god Poseidon. The city was captured by... Read More
An amazing example of Roman amphitheatres, Pula Arena in Croatia was built in the first century AD and still hosts events today. Definitely one not to miss.
Pula Arena, also known as Pula Amphitheatre, is a dramatic historic Roman amphitheatre in Croatia. Built in the first century AD, Pula Arena was constructed during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian, who was also responsible for founding the Colosseum. Able to accommodate approximately 20,000 spectators, Pula Arena would have played... Read More
Close to the site of Richborough Roman Fort lies the outline of the original Roman amphitheatre which would have served the Roman port of Rutupiae.
Richborough Roman Fort, originally called “Rutupiae”, in Kent marks the site where the Romans successfully invaded Britain in 43 AD. Known by many as the “gateway to Britain” and also Richborough Castle, Richborough Roman Fort is thought to have begun as a military stronghold for the invading Roman soldiers and developed... Read More
The partially-preserved Rimini Roman Amphitheater dates back to the second century AD and would originally have held up to 12,000 spectators.
The Rimini Roman Amphitheatre is a second century Ancient Roman arena which would have held up to twelve thousand spectators. It is the sole surviving amphitheatre of its kind in the region of Emilia Romagna. Having suffered a series of destructive events, including World War II bombardment, little remains of the... Read More
The Roman Amphitheatre in Saintes was built in around 40AD in the Roman settlement of Mediolanum Santonum.
The Roman Amphitheatre in Saintes is a 1st century AD construction built around 40AD during the reign of Emperor Claudius. Saintes was then known as Mediolanum Santonum and was a thriving Roman settlement in modern day France which was founded around 20BC. The amphitheatre itself would have had space for several... Read More
Once holding over 30,000 spectators, the Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage was one of the biggest ancient stadia in North Africa. Today much of the site lies in ruins but it is still worth a visit.
The Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage was once a major Roman stadium, the ruins of which can be found near modern-day Tunis. Probably built at the end of the first century AD, it is believed to have been able to hold up to 35,000 spectators. Unlike other Roman Amphitheatres in... Read More
The partially preserved amphitheatre within the Syracuse Archaeological Site is one of a number of interesting remains which can be explored in this ancient city.
The Syracuse Archaeological Site (Siracusa) in Sicily contains the impressive remains of the ancient city of Syracuse dating as far back as the eighth century BC. The city of Syracuse was founded by Greek colonists - heralding from Corinth - in 734 BC. At its height, Syracuse was the most... Read More
One of the most impressive remaining Roman amphitheatres, Verona Arena was built in 30AD and is definitely one of the top picks on any roman amphitheatre list.
Verona Arena (Arena di Verona) is a stunning Roman amphitheatre built in 30AD and said to have been the third largest of its time after the Colosseum and Campania Amphitheatre, which served ancient Capua. Built during the first half of the 1st century AD, Verona Arena was originally made up of... Read More
Verulamium was a Roman settlement near modern day St Albans, UK, the remains of which include a partially preserved amphitheater.
Verulamium was a prominent Roman settlement near modern day St Albans in England. Formerly the tribal capital of the native Catuvellauni tribe, Verulamium was conquered by the Romans during their invasion of the island in 43 AD. By 50 AD, Verulamium had become a major Roman town, and as such was... Read More