Cheap seats at Rome's Colosseum open to visitors

Visitors to Rome's Colosseum can now see it as poor Romans once did - minus the gladiators.

The newly renovated fifth level of the nearly 2,000-year-old amphitheatre, which used to house the cheapest seats on the top tiers, have opened for the first time in 40 years.

High up and far from the action, the seats were used by plebeians, Ancient Rome's lowest social class. Below, the arena was the scene of many grisly events, from wild animal hunts to public executions and to-the-death gladiatorial bouts.

The plebeian area is now open to small groups and offers visitors the chance to observe the structure from a 40m-high perch. It also offers spectacular views of other nearby historical sites such as the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, where emperors used to live.

The fourth level of the Colosseum has also been renovated, along with a hallway leading to the top terraces. - REUTERS