Excitedly pointing to the middle of the ampitheatre from inside the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

What You Need to Know Before Visiting the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

If you're planning a trip to Rome, Italy, one landmark that should be at the top of your must-visit list is the Colosseum. This iconic spot is probably one of the first things you think of when Rome comes to mind, and it will for sure be one of the places you remember most about your visit.

Excitedly pointing to the middle of the ampitheatre from inside the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

Before you embark on your journey to this iconic site, here are some important things you need to know:

What is the Colosseum?

The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, is an oval-shaped amphitheater located in the heart of Rome. It was built by the ancient Romans in the 1st century AD and was used for various public spectacles, including gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, and mock naval battles.

An outside view of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

This ancient amphitheater is not only a symbol of Rome but also a testament to the incredible engineering and architectural skills of the ancient Romans.

The Colosseum is considered one of the 7 Wonders of the New World, alongside the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, Machu Pichu, the Christ the Redeemer Statue, Petra, and Chichén Itzá.

Why is it a Must-Visit?

The Colosseum is not only a historical marvel but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the grandeur of ancient Rome. Walking through the corridors and stands of the Colosseum, you can almost hear the roar of the crowd and imagine the epic battles that took place within its walls. The pictures you see don't do it justice. You really do have to see it to feel how incredible this amphitheater is.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

The Colosseum is a very popular tourist attraction, so it's important to plan your visit wisely to avoid long queues and crowds. The best time to visit is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the site is less crowded.

If you're able to visit during the off-peak seasons, such as Spring or Fall, do so, especially to avoid the peak Summer tourist rush and scorching Summer heat. Trust me, the early August heatwave is brutal. 

How to Get Tickets?

To avoid long queues at the ticket counter, purchase your tickets in advance. If you're going during peak season, purchasing ahead of time is a MUST. You can buy tickets online or from authorized ticket vendors in Rome, but I would just get them from the official site if I were you.

There are also guided tours available that provide skip-the-line access and in-depth information about the history and significance of the Colosseum, which I can totally see as being worth the extra money.

Pro tip: the tickets are released on a rolling 30-day basis. Make sure you look well in advance of when you want to book so you can secure your ticket.

Don't be like me — I didn't look at tickets early enough. But I did get lucky because here's another pro tip...

Pro tip: the first Sunday of the month is free entry, and no reservations are allowed. You will have to stand in line to enter. I took advantage of this because I was unable to secure a ticket. I waited 2 hours in line, and saw many people trying to cut in line to shorten their wait (don't be that person, we're all patiently waiting our turn). I would have rather paid for a ticket with timed entry.

A very long line waiting to get tickets to enter the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

What to Wear and Bring?

When visiting the Colosseum, make sure to dress appropriately and wear comfortable shoes as you'll be doing a lot, and I mean a lot, of walking. The site is mostly outdoors, so it's advisable to bring a hat, sunscreen, and a bottle of water to stay hydrated. It's also a good idea to carry a small bag or backpack to store your essentials, but keep in mind it might slow down your entry to be checked by security.

Respecting the Colosseum

As a visitor, it's important to respect the Colosseum and its historical significance. Do not touch or remove any artifacts or stones from the site. It's also important to follow the instructions of the staff and guides to ensure the preservation of this ancient monument for future generations.

We must do our part to keep history as part of history. It is the largest ancient amphitheater ever built, and is still the largest standing amphitheater in the world, despite its age — let's keep it that way!

Additional Entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

While visiting the Colosseum, your ticket allows you entry into the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

A view from inside Palatine Hill in Rome, Italy

If you start early, you can squeeze all three into one day, but it will be a very busy day filled with an insane amount of walking.

Your timed entry ticket gives you a full-24 hours after your Colosseum entry time to enter into the other two sites. So realistically, your Colosseum timed entry ticket could be 10am one day, then you could visit one of the two other sites after lunch, then the next morning you could visit the other site but you'd need to enter before 10am.

Standing in front of the Colosseum from inside the Roman Forum in Rome, Italy

These two archaeological sites offer a deeper insight into the daily life of ancient Romans and are definitely worth a visit.

A view from inside the Roman Forum in Rome, Italy

 

Visiting the Colosseum is an unforgettable experience that will transport you back in time. By following these tips and being respectful of the site, you can make the most of your visit and create lasting memories of this iconic landmark in Rome.

Ready to make the trip to Rome?

Find the perfect place to stay within this beautiful Italian city. I recommend trying to find a place as close to the center of the city as you can that's within your budget. Rome does have public transportation, but it is known to be unreliable. I personally didn't have any issues or delays using the subway to get to the city center.

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