Amphitheater—This is an impressive and grandiose construction, capable of holding 12,000 - 20,000 spectators. It hosted all the circus shows and the gladiatorial games so dear to the Pompeians, who devoted most of their spare time to these performances. The period of its construction dates back to 80 BC and is therefore one of the oldest buildings of this type in existence, which leads to the inference that it might have represented a model for all those which were subsequently built in Rome. It was constructed in part by making use of an embankment, in part by digging down into the earth for several metres. The access steps are outside the building. The doors on the western side lead into the arena. Unlike the other Roman amphitheatres, the one in Pompeii does not have an underground section.
It was equipped with a velarium, that is a cover which was stretched over the complex in case of rain: the rings to which the canopy was fixed can still be seen.