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Duration of the visits to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum

If you are planning your trip to Rome and want to know how much time you need to cover the whole area of the Colosseum and Ancient Rome, you should read this!

Carmen Navarro

Carmen Navarro

6 min read

Duration of the visits to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum

Views of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum | David Edkins

There is no time to waste during your visit to Rome. Its squares, little streets, colorful facades, terraces... will instantly steal your heart and you will want to enjoy the city for as long as possible.

To organize your trip well and if you are wondering how much time you really need to enjoy the visit to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, I recommend you to read on.

How much time will I need to visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum?

Roman Forum | ©Lucía García González
Roman Forum | ©Lucía García González

Generally speaking, you will need at least half a day to get a good impression of the whole area, visit the Colosseum inside and tour the Roman Forum.

Of course, you can extend this time if you want to stop to contemplate in detail the archaeological remains of the Roman Forum, walk around the Circo Massimo, stop to take photos of the whole area...

I also recommend you take the opportunity to walk around the outside of the Colosseum (it will take you about 20 minutes to walk around the perimeter) and see it from all angles.

The views from the stairs that go up to the Monti district (you will find them just above the Colosseo metro stop) will give you a breathtaking view of the Colosseum.

If you haven't bought your tickets in advance, keep in mind you'll have to queue for a couple of hours at the ticket office to get them.

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How long does the guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill last?

Monte Palatino | ©Fred Romero
Monte Palatino | ©Fred Romero

The guided tours of the Colosseum have a duration or another depending on what the tour includes, estimate between 1 and 3 hours in total. For example, there is an express guided tour of the Colosseum that lasts 1 hour and is ideal if you have little time in Rome, but usually, the guided tours that include the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill last about three hours.

The nice thing about these tours is that the tickets they include have priority access, so you'll skip the long lines to access both the Colosseum and the Forum.

There is also an even more complete (and therefore longer) option that combines a visit to the Colosseum with a visit to the Vatican, always accompanied by an expert guide. Both visits are done on the same day and the total duration of the tour is about 6 hours, so you will be busy for most of the day.

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How much time should I spend inside the Colosseum if I visit on my own

Roman Colosseum | ©Martijn Vonk
Roman Colosseum | ©Martijn Vonk

Another option to visit the area on your own is to buy the Colosseum tickets on your own (for this I recommend you always do it online and in advance, so you can ensure availability and skip the queues on the day of the visit.

If you visit the Colosseum on your own, calculate that you will need at least one hour inside, 20 minutes outside and another hour touring the Roman Forum.

In total, you will spend a minimum of 3 hours in the area if you want to see every essential detail. If you're walking from the center of Rome, it will probably take you about 30 minutes longer to get here, but the views are sure to be worth it.

Get your tickets to the Colosseum

How long does the visit to the Colosseum Arena last?

The Arena of the Colosseum | ©Ruben Ramirez
The Arena of the Colosseum | ©Ruben Ramirez

You will be able to step into the Arena of the Colosseum with a guided tour that includes this part of the tour (check carefully before booking, because not all guided tours include it). This stop is usually included in the 3-hour guided tour and will not add extra time to the duration of the itinerary.

It will give you a different view of the stands, the subway labyrinths and make you feel tiny in front of the immense size of the amphitheater. From here you will get to feel like the real gladiators of Ancient Rome when they went out to fight.

Although the price of the visit with the arena included is a little higher than the standard visit (taking into account that it is an exclusive space with reduced capacity, the difference is understandable), it is highly recommended!

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How much time do I need to tour the Roman Forum

Discover the surprises of the Roman Forum | ©chrisobayda
Discover the surprises of the Roman Forum | ©chrisobayda

It will take you at least an hour to tour the Roman Forum, depending on how thorough you want to be with your visit. The archaeological park of the Roman Forum is located next to the Colosseum (you can't miss it, you will see it right away) and with the tickets to the Colosseum, you will be able to access the paid part of the Roman Forum.

Throughout the tour, you will see the archaeological remains of its temples, basilicas, and meeting places. What will attract your attention (especially because it is very well preserved) is the Triumphal Arch.

Pay special attention to the dimensions of the rests of the columns that you will find along the way, they will give you an idea of the enormous dimensions of the constructions of the time.

If you want to see the best panoramic views of the Forum, before or after your visit go to the top of Piazza del Campidoglio (where the Capitoline Museums are) and look for the viewpoint overlooking the Forum and the Colosseum. Simply spectacular.

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How much time do I need to tour Circo Massimo?

Circo Massimo | ©Fred Romero
Circo Massimo | ©Fred Romero

With a capacity of 250,000 people you can imagine that the Circo Massimo's surface area is enormous. It is about 2,000 feet long and 820 feet wide, so going around it can easily take more than an hour.

Unfortunately, today little is preserved of what was the most coveted track for horse racing in Ancient Rome, so today you will see only its surface and in my opinion, it is not worth too much to go all the way around it.

If you want to go there, see its panoramic view, be amazed by its dimensions and come back, you shouldn't need to spend more than 20-30 minutes in total.

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How long will it take me to walk along Via dei Fori Imperiali

Via dei Fori Imperiali | ©Shadowgate
Via dei Fori Imperiali | ©Shadowgate

The section of the Via dei Fori Imperiali that connects Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum in Rome stretches one kilometer and will take you 12 minutes approximately. The best thing is that on Sundays they close this great avenue to traffic and you can stroll it quietly as you approach the Colosseum.

The views from any point are spectacular, because you also have an elevated view over much of the Roman Forum, which will allow you to take the best pictures of the Forum.

At first, you will see the Colosseum in the distance and little by little you will get closer and realize the real dimensions of this huge amphitheater. On the other hand, here you will find some shade under some trees, but most of the tour is under the sun, so protect yourself from the heat and the sun's rays with sunscreen and some refreshment if you need it.

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How long will it take me to get to the Colosseum from the center of Rome

Fontana di Trevi | ©Michele Bitetto
Fontana di Trevi | ©Michele Bitetto

The "tourist" center of the city is relatively small and although there are hundreds of streets and squares worth a visit, if you want to walk from the city center, it will take between 20 and 30 minutes depending on where you are.

If you want to optimize your itinerary, here's this brief guide about how to get to the Colosseum from anywhere in Rome.