Visiting The Colosseum and Roman Forum - A Practical Guide

Make an informed visit to the Colosseum and Roman Forum

The Colosseum Rome

Author: Bob Handford


Official Opening Hours & Admission Prices The Colosseum + Roman Forum


A visit to the Colosseum is almost a prerequisite for any first time visitor to Rome. Adjacent to the Colosseum is the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

Up until a few years ago the Roman Forum had totally free access, now all three attractions are grouped together and covered by a single admission charge/ticket that is valid for 2 days.


Getting To The Colosseum & Roman Forum

Although the Rome Metro is not the most comprehensive of systems Linea B (blue line) has a station at Colosseum station (2 stops from Termini). The Colosseum is unmistakable as you exit the station.

The Colosseum and Roman Forum is also more than adequately serviced by local buses. The Via dei Fori Imperiali that runs from the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia alongside the Roman Forum has a dozen routes that fan out after the Piazza Venezia to most accommodation areas.


Overlooking the Colosseum and Roman Forum at the north end of the Roman Forum is the Capitoline Museum, one of the A1 top attractions for visitors. Visiting the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Capitoline Museum would be a full days sightseeing. Just beyond Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Museum is the ancient city of Rome, a maze of narrow alleys and lanes that are a great place to round off a day with a well chosen restaurant perhaps around Piazza Navona or the Pantheon.


There are a myriad of Rome hop on, hop off bus operators, all of which stop at the Colosseum. All the operators use very similar double deck open top buses. Each passenger will get a disposable audio device for commentary along the way with a choice of at minimum 8 languages.

Most buses have their first bus departing Termini at 08:30 or 09:00 with the last bus leaving at 18:00, finishing around 20:00.

More Detailed Information About Rome's Hop on, Hop Off Sightseeing Buses


Where To Buy Entrance Tickets - A Top Tip

The standard entrance ticket to the Colosseum also includes entrance to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. All three attractions have separate ticketing entrances. You can walk between the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum without exiting.

The ticket kiosk at the Colosseum has by far the longest queues.


The Colosseum Ticket Queue

The Colosseum Ticket Queue... Or Skip The Queue
Buy Ticket At Palatine Hill & Use Empty Entrance On Left

If you want to visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill do yourself a favour, buy your tickets at the Palatine Hill entrance.

Then walk uphill exploring the Palatine Hill is more gradual than from the Roman Forum with more shade. After performing a circuit of the Palatine Hill you will get a great birds eye view down onto the Roman Forum as you descend into it, getting a good initial orientation in the process.

The entrance of the Roman Forum is a long way from the Colosseum, but there is an exit only gate from the Roman Forum right next to the Colosseum.


The ticket gate for the Palatine Hill often has no queues at all and is midway down the road Via di San Gregorio that runs from the Colosseum along the base of the Palatine Hill less than 5 minutes walk from the Colosseum.

The Roma Pass also covers The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.


Colosseum Special Access Tour Option

2011 marked the public opening of the Colosseum’s underground chambers for the very first time, as well as the Colosseum’s third tier, which hasn’t been open in decades. With an 8:30am tour, you’ll get special access to both areas and see Ancient Rome the way no one ever has. You’ll follow in the footsteps of the gladiators themselves as you explore the tunnels where they once prepared for fights and where lions and tigers were once caged. You’ll also go up to the highest existing level of the Colosseum – the third tier.

These newly opened areas can only be visited with a guided tour and must be booked in advance.

Special Access Tour Colosseum - More Details

The Colosseum - What To Expect

The Colosseum Interior
The Colosseum Interior

Inside The Colosseum

After gaining entrance past security there are lifts, but most people use the stairs up a few flights. There is a chance you may spend more time queuing to get in than actually within the monument. Expect to stay 45 to 60 minutes.

Other than take in the spectacle presented to you from all angles, there is little more to see and do unless you have invested prior in reading up about the Colosseum or are taking a Colosseum tour, audio or otherwise. There is a small exhibition area.


When construction was completed on the Colosseum in 80 AD it was the largest amphitheatre built in all of Rome and could house over fifty thousand people! The engineering skill and technology of the day was pushed to its limits by its construction and design. The stadium was even designed to flooded in order to provide for mock navel battles.

The Colosseum was built primarily to entertain the masses in brutal and barbaric games. Some were beast on beast combat to the death. Others were people fighting animals to the death, while the most popular was the human on human combat. Gladiators were slaves, often captured in war, that were trained in special schools to fight each other to the death.

Tickets, Opening Hours & Thoughts On Visiting

The standard admission ticket covers all three monuments, The Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

Current admission prices for tickets bought in Rome at the site are available through the official link at the top of the page. You can order tickets in advance for which there are booking fees.


Opening hours are from 8.30 am to one hour before sunset, exact times are again on the link at the top of the page.


Time taken to visit will vary wildly. If you have a keen interest in the subject matter or have read widely about ancient Rome in the build up to your trip then its possible that you will need well over an hour. At the other extreme its clear that many tourists just turn up cold, buy their ticket and expect to be “entertained”. The consequential result is often a very quick visit with just a few snapshots and a few vague memories of a ruin.

There is not that much in the way of information provided anywhere in the three sites. You've come a long way and spent significant money to put you inside the Roman Forum and Colosseum, its worthwhile investing in at least an audio guide to make sense of the spectacle in front of you.

Roma Pass

Roma Pass

Roma Pass provides free and direct entry to the first two museums or archaeological sites visited, the choice is yours. After the first two sites/museums visited there are reduced ticket prices to all other museums and archaeological sites visited thereafter.

There is a long list of Rome museums and archaeological sites, perhaps the main draws for most tourists are the Colosseum (including the Roman Forum & Palatine Hill, Galleria Borghese and Appia Antica. The notable area not covered is the Vatican.

Colosseum & Roman Forum Guided Tours

There is no getting away from it, a visit to the Colosseum & Roman Forum means a lot of time on your feet, walking around the vast site. Walking tours are available taking up a morning or afternoon taking you to all the best parts of the attraction and giving you an informed insight to what you are witnessing.


Colosseum & Roman Forum Walking Tour Prices
Ancient Rome Walking Tour Prices
Colosseum & Roman Forum Segway Tour Prices

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