Visiting The Colosseum & Roman Forum

Tips and practical information on how to get the best out of your visit

Roman Forum & Colosseum

Roman Forum & Colosseum In Background

The Colosseum, Palatine Hill & Roman Forum

Your entrance ticket to the Colosseum also gives entrance to the Palatine Hill & Roman Forum and vice-versa. All three sites are adjacent to each other and so most will visit all three in one session, typically a visit of around half a day unless you have a keen interest in the subject matter.

We have dedicated pages (see menu links on left) on each of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill & Roman Forum giving an overview of what they are, what to expect and your choices on what to see and how to see them.

This page looks at what the typical visitor might do for the rest of the sightseeing day.

Transport Logistics Of Visiting The Colosseum, Palatine Hill & 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 itself is directly opposite the exit to the station.

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.

Bus Map Central Rome

Bus Map Central Rome

The other public transport choice are the Rome public buses. Although there are a number of bus routes and even a tram service that pass the Colosseum itself the biggest bus hub in the centre of Rome is at the Piazza Venezia, at the bottom of Capitoline Hill at the northern end of the Roman Forum.

Where To Sightsee After/Before A Visit To The Colosseum

If time is your enemy and you are only in Rome for a day or two then the other major sights are all north of the Colosseum. The Vatican is the opposite side of town, but its geographically a relatively short distance, a walk of well under an hour.

You can travel between the Vatican and Colosseum/Roman Forum by Metro changing at Termini Station or there are several buses from Piazza Venezia at the northern end of the Roman Forum.

But perhaps the most popular choice is to walk, the only real option to explore the ancient city centre of Rome.

Sightseeing Walking Map Of Rome

We have put together a series of self-guided walks of Rome connecting all the major sights of Rome, (see image above). As you can see the Colosseum is at the southern extremity of these sights.

Having said that there are a number of much visited but not blockbuster sights, further south of the Colosseum. The primary ones are Baths of Caracalla, Basilica di San Giovanni and the Appian Way. If you have the time these are easily visited by public transport from the Colosseum & Roman Forum, (see further down the page).

Capitoline Hill & Museum

As you can see from the outline map of our self-guided walk between the Colosseum and the Pantheon, the logical major sight to twin with the Colosseum & Roman Forum is the Capitoline Hill which towers over the northern end of the Roman Forum.

There are great views from the Capitoline Hill over the Roman Forum and many worthwhile places to visit on Capitoline Hill and around the Piazza Venezia below, but the Capitoline Museum is undoubtedly the star attraction.

The Capitoline museums lay claim to being the world's oldest national museums founded in 1471. The most famous single exhibit is the “She Wolf” , a major symbol of Rome.

Map Of Walk Between The Pantheon and the Colosseum Rome

Ancient City Centre

From Capitoline Hill you enter the tight alleys and lanes of the ancient city centre, walking is really the only effective way to sightsee. Sights like the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona are where the guide books steer you towards but just about around every corner is your own personal discovery waiting.

Alternatively you can take a guided walking tour with an expert guide ensuring you see the key sights in a time efficient, informed manner without getting lost in the maze of narrow walkways.

Ancient Rome Walking Tour Prices

Baths of Caracalla, Basilica di San Giovannia and the Appian Way

As stated earlier there are a few popular attractions quite close to the Colosseum but south of it away from the city centre.

The Basilica of St John Lateran (Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano) is the cathedral church of Rome and the official seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope. As such the Basilica contains the papal throne, although the pope rarely visits and lives over at the Vatican.

Basilica Di San Giovanni in Laterana Rome( Basilica of St John Lateran)

Basilica Di San Giovanni in Laterana
( Basilica of St John Lateran)

Originally built in the 4th century by Constantine and was the Pope's principal residence until the 14th century when he moved across the city to the Vatican.

From next to the Colosseum you can take the number 3 tram direct to San Giovanni

The Baths of Caracala on paper sound an enticing proposition to include on your visit to Rome.

The baths provided two basic functions for the ancient Romans, most of the population of Rome lived in crowded tenements without running water or sanitary facilities and the baths provided much needed sanitisation facilities, and as a bonus a great opportunity to socialise and network at all levels.

You could probably walk to the Baths of Caracala in about 15-20 minutes or take the Metro one stop from the Colosseum to Circo Massimo Metro station where its only a 5 minute walk.

The Via Appia Antica is the old Roman Appian Way, which ran from Rome down to Brindisi. The stretch close to Rome, the Via Appia Antica, is now part of a nature and archaeological park, the Parco Regionale dell'Appia Antica, and makes a lovely day out, particularly on Sundays when the area is closed to traffic.

There is a frequent public bus from Circo Massimo Metro station 10 minutes walk from the Colosseum or one stop on the Rome Metro. This bus passes/stops at the Baths of Caracala too on the way stopping outside the Appian Way Visitor Centre.

There is also another bus that starts from outside the Basilica of St John Lateran and also will take you to the Appian Way Visitor Centre, making it easy to combine all three attractions the Baths of Caracalla, Basilica di San Giovannia and the Appian Way.

Visiting The Vatican

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