Archaeologist Rossella Rea explained that the “attic” of the 2,000-year-old Flavian amphitheatre was reserved for the Plebeian class who watched public spectacles and gladiator contests in what would have been a dramatic experience with the sound of weapons, screams from the public and the roaring of wild animals.

“There must have been an incredible amount of different sounds and smells enveloping the 50,000 spectators from every social level who were divided into different sections,” Rea added.

The first level of the Colosseum was reserved for the emperor and his senators while the second was for imperial officials.

The middle-class had access to the third and merchants and shopkeepers to the fourth.

Plebeians had to climb steep stone steps along poorly-lit tunnels to reach the fifth and final floor, where they sometimes spent entire days eating, mainly chicken and cereals which they cooked on makeshift cookers, the remains of which have been found by archaeologists.

The wealthy were seated on marble chairs, while the lower classes had wooden benches on the top floor and could only catch a glimpse of the fighting.

Visitors will be granted access to the highest level of the amphitheatre as of November 1, as part of a new tour of one of Italy's most-visited monument.

“The view is unforgettable,” Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said.

Franceschini has promoted the upcoming restoration of the undergrounds - and the controversial covering of the arena - a project expected to take over two years and cost €18 million.

“With the construction of the arena, it will be truly possible to understand what it meant to watch a performance at the Colosseum,” the minister said.

Franceschini visited the site this week with Federica Galloni, the interim director of the Colosseum ahead of the selection of a new manager in December.

A maximum of 25 people at a time will have access to the new tours, which start on the third level of the amphitheatre.
The Colosseum attracts over six million visitors a year, making it the capital’s leading tourist attraction.

Construction of the Colosseum was initiated by Emperor Vespasian in AD 70 and completed by his successor Titus 10 years later.

Its travertine exterior was recently restored thanks to a €25-million donation from Diego Della Valle, patron of luxury shoe manufacturer Tod’s.

Tickets to access the top level cost €9, or €15 if the visit includes the underground area and arena.

Children under 12 are granted free entry.