Despite the numerous damages undergone during the course of the centuries, the Colosseum's interior still manages to impress and it shows us the extraordinary complexity of the building.
The arena itself has only been partially reconstructed. It was placed directly over an underground structure whose galleries and chambers are still visible today.
Here were kept wild animals and scenic equipment which, by means of hoists and trapdoors, could be brought directly into the arena. There were four sections of steps for seating around the arena, the first three in masonry and the last in wood. Around 70,000 spectators could be seated here, divided strictly according to social class and position.
There was a complicated system of stairways and ramps, still partly visible, which enabled the public to enter and exit with comparative ease. Admission was free and the Romans lined up the night before a show to be sure of getting the best seats to view the gladiators fighting together or hunting ferocious animals. The gladiators entered through the Triumphal Gateway on the Western side facing the Temple of Venus
Among them could be found men condemned to death and prisoners of war but there were also free men who were attracted by the life in comfortable barracks with good food. The gateway on the other side, known as the Libitinaria, was used to take out the dead and wounded. The victors won a palm and laurel wreath and very often also money prizes.