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.
One of the most impressive Roman amphitheatres in the world, El Jem in Tunisia is a magnificent UNESCO listed third century Roman stadium.
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.
One of the best preserved Roman amphitheatres, Arles Amphitheatre is a UNESCO listed Roman sports arena still in use today.
Caesarea in Israel was an Ancient Roman city later conquered by the Crusaders which includes the remains of a Roman amphitheatre.
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.
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.
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.
Trier Roman Amphitheatre in Germany is a well preserved UNESCO site in use as early as the 1st century AD.
One of many Roman amphitheatres in France, the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls is a partially preserved first century Roman amphitheatre in Lyon.
The ruins of Aquincum in Budapest include the partially preserved remains of two Roman amphitheatres which once served this important Roman city.
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.
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.
These spectacular ruins are all that remain of what was once a grand amphitheatre; the centre of entertainment in a bustling Roman town.
Bulla Regia was a Roman settlement in Tunisia, famous for its subterranean villas. Among the remains is a partially preserved amphitheatre.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Very little remains of Cirencester Amphitheatre in Gloucestershire, which once served the Roman city of Corinium.
Cumae Archaeological Park in Pozzuoli houses a series of ancient ruins including a partially preserved second century BC amphitheatre.
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.
Also known as Pozzuoli Amphitheatre, the Flavian Amphitheatre was constructed during the reign of the Vespasian around the same time as Rome’s Colosseum.
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.
Ranking among the best surviving roman amphitheatres in Spain, Merida Amphitheatre is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Little remains of Paestum amphitheatre which once served this important Greco-Roman city. Be sure to see the Greek temples when you visit.
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.
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.
The partially-preserved Rimini Roman Amphitheater dates back to the second century AD and would originally have held up to 12,000 spectators.
The Roman Amphitheatre in Saintes was built in around 40AD in the Roman settlement of Mediolanum Santonum.
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 partially preserved amphitheatre within the Syracuse Archaeological Site is one of a number of interesting remains which can be explored in this ancient city.
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.