Teatro di Marcello

Rome's Teatro di Marcello

Marcellus's Theater was the Colosseum 1.0, the original Roman amphitheater

The Colosseum may have been the biggest, but the Theater of Marcellus was there first and it served as the model for the later, more famous arena.

It was started by Julius Caesar in 27 BC, but finished under the reign of Augustus Caesar in AD 14, who dedicated the theater in the name of his nephew and one-time heir Marcellus, who had funded the theater's construction for a time until he became ill and died in 23 BC at the age of 19.

In its prime, the travertine Theatre of Marcellus was 33m (108 feet) high, 130m (427 feet) across, and could hold 15,000 to 20,000 spectators. It was covered by a sail to provide shade, had moveable wooden scenery, and was fitted with 36 bronze vases to improve the acoustics. It was adapted and restored over time and remained in use as a theater until the fourth century.

You can admire Roman ingenuity throughout the ages here. In the 13th century, the remains of the theater were used as a foundation to turn it into a fortress, and in the 15th century this was converted by Baldassare Peruzzi into a palazzo for the Savelli family (the Orsini family bought it in the 18th century).

The Theater of Marcello is only open upon request at certain times of year (see "Tips" below), but you can always admire its curving wall in the three classical orders (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian), as the oft-photographed trio of fluted columns suggesting the corner of an temple that once stood next-door.

Tips & links

Details
ADDRESS

Via del Teatro di Marcello
tel. +39-06-4561-5180

OPEN

Open upon special request and on some tours, but can always be viewed from the outside.

ADMISSION

Free

Roma Pass: No

How long does Teatro di Marcello take?

Planning your day: You look at it, you move on. It's a sight to see in passing. » Rome itineraries

Teatro di Marcello tours

Take a guided tour of Teatro di Marcello with one of our partners:

How to get inside the Theater of Marcellus

It is usually open for visits during the annual Settimana della Cultura ("Culture Week").

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Teatro di Marcello
ADDRESS

Via del Teatro di Marcello
tel. +39-06-4561-5180

OPEN

Open upon special request and on some tours, but can always be viewed from the outside.

ADMISSION

Free

Roma Pass: No

TRANSPORT

Bus: 271, 780, H, 715, 716, 23, 63, 280, 810, N8, N10, 30, 34, 34F, 81, 83, 85, 87, 130F, 160, 160F, 170, 175, 628, 781, C3, N9
Metro: Colosseo (B) or Circo Massimo (B)
Hop-on/hop-off: Piazza Venezia or Circo Massimo

TOURS


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