Italy: 8 Key Tips for Visiting the Colosseum

Rome Colosseum by Natalie Parker

Click here for all of my Italy tips!

What We Thought of the Colosseum

I’ll be honest: I’m glad we went, it was cool, but I wasn’t in awe.  It didn’t rise to the awe-inspiring moment of the Eiffel Tower.  Your results may vary, of course!

We weren’t in the best mindset when we got there because a bunch of the roads were shut down, we had to walk a long way, and it was really hot.  Still, I think I enjoyed sitting outside and looking at it more than picking my way through the inside.

8 Tips for Visiting the Colosseum

1. Get an advance ticket. Buy advance tickets here and you can get in a special line.

2. Sometimes the advance ticket line is huge, but don’t despair. When we got there, the line for people who already had tickets was twice as long as those without.  We were pretty pissed (see above about it being hot).  Don’t despair. Our line moved quickly and we were inside within 20 minutes.

3. A Roma Pass gets you a dedicated entrance but . . . it seemed weird. Yes, their line was way shorter. But once they got inside, their line ground to a halt and we passed some of them. Did they need to use their pass to print a ticket once they got inside? Sometimes that’s the case with monuments.

4. There are restricted areas if you’re not on a tour. I’m not a tour person and I felt a tad ripped off that I couldn’t access the third level or the main platform, It seemed like a racket. Still, I don’t think the tour would have been worth it for us — we saw plenty. If seeing every last nook and cranny is important to you, book a tour. You’ll also get to skip the line.

Rome Colosseum by Natalie Parker

5. Bring a picnic, especially if it’s hot. The food options close by aren’t great. I wish we would have taken some snacks to eat inside the Colosseum or nearby in the Forum.

6. If you’re visiting the Forum after, ask for directions. We didn’t and walked the long way around in the hot sun. There was a closer entrance!

7. Bring a map of the Forum. We had a really hard time finding exits.  There was a moment when I thought “we’re trapped in here!”  Sure, we could have used this as an opportunity to explore the Forum more, wanderlust and all that jazz.  But it was hot and we were tired.

8. It’s worth the climb up Palatine Hill. There are great views of the Forum and Colosseum. We wish we’d brought a picnic here!

What would you add to this list?  Was your experience different?  Please share!

We traveled to Italy in May 2015.  Click here for all of my tips and things we wish we’d known before our trip!

3 thoughts on “Italy: 8 Key Tips for Visiting the Colosseum

  1. This is so interesting! I think it depends on how each person does things and how successful it is. We went to Italy in July 2013. HOT!! We got some advice to go to the Colosseum early and get in the tour line to the left. We got there before it officially opened and as we were standing in front of the Colosseum, a tour guide came up to us and asked if we wanted a tour. We were so skeptical about this and it seemed like a hoax – they were going to take our cash (it was cash only) and run. For some reason, we and a few other Americans went along with it. They told us to wait in a particular area for our tour guide. It wasn’t a scam – Marco was our tour guide and he was fantastic. He took us all over and explained so much about the Colosseum and about that time period. We had our 13 and 10 year old with us so going around reading the signs and doing a “self – guided” tour was probably not going to work – the attention span of my son at the time was short. At the end of the tour, he said that we were eligible for a free tour of the Forum and Palatine Hill. Again we were like “huh?” He left us in a group and Alex greeted us. He was fantastic! This tour ended up being my daughter’s very favorite part of the trip (perhaps because Alex was very cute!) but he was a fantastic tour guide who had worked for National Geographic in the past and was very dynamic and fun – lots of fun and interesting details about the area. We completely lucked out that day and had a fantastic experience!

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