The Colosseum is one of the most visited attractions in the world. Century after century it continues to capture the gaze of millions of visitors who come to Rome with the idea of strolling through the remains of Ancient Rome.
The visit does not disappoint anyone, but like any place that concentrates thousands of tourists, it has its tricks. I'll tell you all of them here to make your visit more enjoyable.
1. Buy tickets online and in advance to avoid queues
By now you should know that any attraction in Rome involves long hours under the sun to get your coveted tickets. The most basic advice I can give you is to buy your tickets to the Colosseum, the Forum and the Palatine Hill in advance and, if you can, book the guided tour to the Colosseum because it is worth it.
In Hellotickets, for example, you can choose different types of tickets (with or without guided tour, with or without access to the arena, etc) and you will also be entitled to a refund if you need to cancel the tour or the ticket due to an unforeseen event. Here is more information about Colosseum tickets.
The ticket offices are crowded and you run the risk of either running out of availability for the day and time you wish to visit the Colosseum or entering the amphitheater already tired and exhausted after a long queue in the sun. In addition, the prices are the same as on the web, not for buying at the box office you will have access to discounts or special offers.
2. Choose a guided tour, always better than a visit on your own
The Colosseum not only has a lot to see, but it also has an incredible history full of anecdotes, legends and context that will immerse you in the epic battles that took place inside. In addition, the guided tour of the Colosseum, as well as the Colosseum tickets, also include a visit to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
Believe me, if you just visit it on your own, you will be missing out on a lot of the excitement and you will leave with the feeling of having seen a fascinating Colosseum, but without understanding its context and the charm of the ruins of the Roman Forum.
An expert guide will help you immerse yourself in the history of one of the most exciting places in the world. If you only plan to visit the Colosseum once in your life, don't hesitate and join a guided tour. You can read more about guided tours of the Colosseum in this article.
3. Don't hesitate to visit the Colosseum arena
There is an essential part of the Colosseum that many miss by the simple fact of not even knowing that you can visit it. There is a large part of the history of the battles that were fought in the Colosseum that is strictly linked to its subway passages, its arena and its famous Gladiator's Gate, through which those who were about to fight in the Colosseum made their triumphal entry.
If you feel like joining a guided tour of the Colosseum, you should know that you can book a tour to the Colosseum arena and the Roman Forum that takes you to see the gladiators' gate of the most famous amphitheater in the world. If the visit to the Colosseum wasn't interesting enough, this gives it a unique bonus- get your camera ready!
4. Protect yourself from the heat: bring water, hat and sunscreen
Even if you are not visiting Rome in the middle of summer, keep in mind that the temperatures around the Colosseum and the Roman Forum are always a bit higher than in the rest of the city. The cobblestones and the absence of trees and shadows contribute to this feeling of suffocation.
Therefore, it is best to be well prepared: in addition to comfortable shoes, bring water, cover your head with a cap or hat and do not hesitate to put on sunscreen. You also have the option to book tickets to the Colosseum and avoid the long lines that accumulate at the door.
At the end of the day it is quite common to see more than one tourist completely burned. If you don't want to carry weight, around the Colosseum you will also find street st alls selling drinks and ice cream. And if you are traveling to Rome with children, you should keep in mind that some visits require extra planning. Here is an article on how to visit the Colosseum with children.
5. Avoid public holidays and weekends
This is not always possible, but if you are visiting Rome for several days, try to avoid Saturdays and Sundays, when the area is most crowded.
The same goes for public holidays: there is a lot more domestic tourism, large groups of travelers, cruise ship passengers stopping for the obligatory visit to the Colosseum... if you are looking for a slightly quieter and more relaxed atmosphere, it is best to book your tickets to the Colosseum on a weekday.
6. Take the opportunity to walk around the area on Sundays
You should know that on Sundays, much of the area around the Colosseum and the Roman Forum (specifically from Piazza Venezia) are pedestrianized and thousands of visitors and Romans take the opportunity to walk around the area.
This gives it a wonderful charm and I 100% recommend you to make the walk, but due to the large amount of people that accumulate there, Sundays are not the best day to make use of your tickets to the Colosseum.
You will see full families and it is a great time to take pictures and take the day calmly touring this part of Rome without traffic (during the week cars pass through here at high speed, so the views are not enjoyed as much).
7. Look for the best views, from the stairs to Monti or from the Campidoglio Hill
The Colosseum inside is impressive: it is probably one of the pictures that will steal your heart and one of the best memories you will take away from your trip to Rome.
But it is true that its surroundings, the Roman Forum, the Triumphal Arch and the remains of Ancient Rome that are preserved make it even more special. For a view of the entire archaeological area, I recommend climbing the Campidoglio Hill (where the Capitoline Museums are located) and start descending along one of the marked walks that go into a part of the Forum. The views are spectacular.
If you want to capture the Colosseum in full splendor and not have to fight with your camera because its enormous dimensions do not fit in the plan, the stairs leading up to the Monti district will give you the perfect panoramic view. There are areas with railings, ramps and stairs that will allow you to have a perfect angle. Be sure to take a stroll around this area after your guided tour of the Colosseum.
8. Don't fall into the gastronomic traps for tourists
Eating near the Colosseum can be a delight.... or a nightmare. Depending on how lucky you are or how much foresight you've had to find a good place in advance. As we don't always have time to book, search, compare and see menus in different restaurants, I leave you a list of what are, for me, the best places to eat near the Colosseum.
Whether you go during the morning, afternoon or evening, you will find the perfect place to enjoy a good pizza, a traditional Italian pasta, an ice cream or even a cocktail with the best views. Take note and enjoy!
Also, remember that another very interesting plan for your trip is to book a gastronomic tour of Rome so you don't miss any of the culinary specialties of the country.
9. Beware of pickpockets
Rome in general is a very safe city and you will not have any problems visiting it. However, the general recommendation for this area is that, as it has a large number of tourists who are more focused on the monuments than on their belongings, some pickpockets may go out to make a killing around the Colosseum.
Put your wallet and documentation in a safe place (avoid backpacks full of valuables) and you won't have to worry about anything but enjoying your visit to the Colosseum. If you are walking, take the same precautions, the beauty of the place will probably leave you spellbound and it is normal to let your guard down.
By the way, if you need more information on how to get to the Colosseum, in my article I leave you the best tips for using public transport, which are the best routes for walking or even cycling.
10. Try to go early in the morning
Especially if you don't have tickets to the Colosseum bought from home, it is best to head for the Colosseum first thing in the morning. In addition to avoiding large crowds of tour groups, the ticket booths tend to have fewer lines.
It is also a good way to avoid the central hours of the day, when the sun is not yet too high and strong and the visit to the Colosseum is more bearable. Try to visit the Colosseum first (it is usually the first thing to fill up) and then visit the Roman Forum.
Then you will have the rest of the day to sit and have lunch on a terrace and recharge your batteries to continue walking around Rome in the afternoon. By the way, if you are one of those who go to the Colosseum on the spur of the moment and without tickets, the Roman Forum ticket office usually has a shorter queue than the amphitheater (and the rates, prices and tickets are the same in both places).