The Colosseum

There are few historical buildings in the world that are more iconic than the Colosseum in Rome. In this ‘theater’ thousands of gladiators fought to their deaths for the entertainment of the spectators present in the arena. Sounds grim? It was. Thankfully, a visit to the arena floor today is a lot more pleasant.

How much time should I spend here?2-4 hours
How much does it cost?It depends
How far from the city center?10 minutes
What modes of transport are available?Metro
What is the nearest subway stop?Colosseo
Where can I find it?Google Maps link
Is there an official website?Click here

Today the Colosseum is more of a museum and historical sight combined. One part of the building displays historical artifacts (mostly statues and wall structures) the other part is the arena itself. You are free to roam around the building when you are visiting. However, there are some parts that are off limits to individual visitors.

The Colosseum feels like a complete building just waiting for another set of games.

At one end of the Colosseum you’ll find a large cross. This is a monument to all the Christians that have died in the arena. Back then, Christians weren’t exactly a mainstream religion. And as has happened throughout history: religious minorities are persecuted. In Roman times, this meant that many Christians ended up in the arena being fed to starved lions or being hacked to death.

Did I mention this wasn’t a particularly happy place back in its day?

What to do once you are inside

The circular design of the building makes it easy to get around, but there is a predetermined route. But you can walk around as much as you like and as long as you like.

The arena floor of the Colosseum.

There is an audio/video guide available for you to take along with you. I would recommend you do so. If the video guide is more expensive than the audio guide, then take the audio guide. The videos don’t really add that much more to the experience. The guide will take you around the entire Colosseum and it will give you some historical context which helps to get the most out of your visit.

How to get tickets to the Colosseum?

The most important part is: Book ahead! Don’t show up on the day expecting to either get in or get in quickly. The line is as epic as the Colosseum itself, and it can take hours to get in. So book ahead and make sure you show up in your reserved time slot.

If you book ahead, make sure you enter the right line. Don’t stand in the general line if you have a reservation.

How to get to the Colosseum?

This is the easy part. The Colosseum is in the city center of Rome and if you stay near the center, you can walk there. But there are also street cars, busses and a dedicated subway station (Colosseo) with a convenient pizza place built right in.

Depending on your location you can get to the Colosseum quickly from just about anywhere in the city. Even if you are just visiting for the day, you can take a few metro stops and be right in front of the Colosseum in a few minutes from Romes central station.

There are many people selling ‘skip the line’-tickets on the square near the Colosseum. Just book it yourself online on the official website and you’ll be fine while saving a few euros.

Google Maps link

The arena floor of the Colosseum which was partially covered at the time.

Anything else?

Please be aware of a few things when you are in Rome but especially a place like the Colosseum. Yes, Rome is a safe city for tourists but use your common sense.

  • Beware of pickpockets. These crowded squares are the ideal place for them to operate. So keep your belongings close and secure.
  • Don’t sit where you are not allowed, don’t eat where you are not allowed. Rome has some tough restrictions on where you can sit and where you can eat. Famously Rome banned sitting on the Spanish Steps in 2019. Rules change, so be aware of current regulations.
  • Beware of people who are trying to sell you things on the streets. Street vendors in Rome fall in roughly two categories: insanely expensive or illegal. If you want some food, visit a supermarket. The food trucks standing near tourist destinations are usually extremely expensive. People selling you items from a blanket are usually selling you this illegally, and the products are knock-offs.
  • Those cheesy guys in gladiator or legionary costumes are not doing that for fun, they want to get paid for pictures. Just something you should be aware of. And the city of Rome has put tough restrictions on these ‘actors’.

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