Amphitheatres | Roman Amphitheatre List

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.

Amphitheatres | Roman Amphitheatre List: Editor's Picks

Photo by albertopveiga (cc)

1. The Colosseum

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.

Photo by carolune (cc)

2. El Jem Amphitheatre

One of the most impressive Roman amphitheatres in the world, El Jem in Tunisia is a magnificent UNESCO listed third century Roman stadium.

Photo by Wolfgang Staudt (cc)

3. Nimes Arena

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.

Photo by M_WalzEriksson (cc)

4. Arles Amphitheatre

One of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres, Arles Amphitheatre is a UNESCO listed Roman sports arena still in use today.

Photo by Historvius

5. Caesarea

Caesarea in Israel was an Ancient Roman city later conquered by the Crusaders which includes the remains of a Roman amphitheatre.

Photo by NH53 (cc)

6. Leptis Magna

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.

Photo by Perrimoon (cc)

7. Pompeii

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.

Photo by Historvius

8. Tarragona Amphitheatre

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.

9. Trier Roman Amphitheatre

Trier Roman Amphitheatre in Germany is a well preserved UNESCO site in use as early as the 1st century AD.

Photo by By Veles (cc)

10. Xanten Archaeological Park

Xanten Archaeological Park houses the remains of Roman settlement Colonia Ulpia Traiana and include an impressive amphitheatre.

Amphitheatres | Roman Amphitheatre List: Site Index

Photo by austinevan (cc)

Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls

One of many Roman amphitheatres in France, the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls is a partially preserved first century Roman amphitheatre in Lyon.

Photo by chad_k (cc)

Aquincum

The ruins of Aquincum in Budapest include the partially preserved remains of two Roman amphitheatres which once served this important Roman city.

Photo by burge5k (cc)

Arenes de Lutece

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.

Photo by T.M.O.F. (cc)

Aventicum

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.

Photo by GFreihalter (cc)

Bordeaux Amphitheatre

These spectacular ruins are all that remain of what was once a grand amphitheatre; the centre of entertainment in a bustling Roman town.

Photo by davehighbury (cc)

Bulla Regia

Bulla Regia was a Roman settlement in Tunisia, famous for its subterranean villas. Among the remains is a partially preserved amphitheatre.

Photo by Alun Salt (cc)

Caerleon Roman Fortress

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.

Photo by Alun Salt (cc)

Caerwent Roman Town

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.

Campania Amphitheatre

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.

Photo by Andy Hay (cc)

Chester Roman Amphitheatre

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.

Cirencester Amphitheatre

Very little remains of Cirencester Amphitheatre in Gloucestershire, which once served the Roman city of Corinium.

Photo by filologanoga (cc)

Cumae Archaeological Park

Cumae Archaeological Park in Pozzuoli houses a series of ancient ruins including a partially preserved second century BC amphitheatre.

Photo by davehighbury (cc)

Cyrene

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.

Photo by Averain (cc)

Flavian Amphitheatre

Also known as Pozzuoli Amphitheatre, the Flavian Amphitheatre was constructed during the reign of the Vespasian around the same time as Rome’s Colosseum.

Photo by portableantiquities (cc)

London Roman Amphitheatre

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.

Photo by Tomas Fano (cc)

Merida Amphitheatre

Ranking among the best surviving roman amphitheatres in Spain, Merida Amphitheatre is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Photo by Historvius

Paestum

Little remains of Paestum amphitheatre which once served this important Greco-Roman city. Be sure to see the Greek temples when you visit.

Pula Arena

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.

Photo by trenchdroid (cc)

Richborough Roman Fort

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.

Rimini Roman Amphitheatre

The partially-preserved Rimini Roman Amphitheater dates back to the second century AD and would originally have held up to 12,000 spectators.

Roman Amphitheatre - Saintes

The Roman Amphitheatre in Saintes was built in around 40AD in the Roman settlement of Mediolanum Santonum.

Photo by dalbera (cc)

Roman Amphitheatre of Carthage

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.

Syracuse Archaeological Site

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.

Photo by Historvius

Verona Arena

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.

Photo by Brron (cc)

Verulamium

Verulamium was a Roman settlement near modern day St Albans, UK, the remains of which include a partially preserved amphitheater.