What is the best way to see the Colosseum in Rome?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

Erica Firpo
Photo by Darius Arya @Saverome

The Flavian amphitheatre, best known by the moniker Colosseum, is one of the new seven wonders of the world, which is why there is no wonder that it is also Rome's most popular attraction.  As a large open-air arena, the Colosseum is best visited in the early morning hours or post lunch time.  A noontime visit in the spring and summer months can be dehydrating as sun shines directly into the arena, like a light on a petri dish.

Getting into the Colosseum is easy. All you need is a ticket which is valid for a twenty-four hour period.  It's important to note that the ticket purchase lines are often quite long so it is best to purchase tickets in advance/online at COOP and Omniticket.  The regular ticket allows you to visit the principle areas (first and second tier), and for an additional fee, you can organize a group visit with radio-headsets in your preferred language.

For a more indepth experience, there are several reliable private tour companies such as Context Travel and Understanding Rome which can provide an enlightening tour.  COOP also organizes special visits to third tier and underground from now through November 2, during the daytime and selected evenings in the Luna sul Colosseo program.  

Angela Corrias
Photo by Angela Corrias

Ideally, the best way to see the Colosseum in Rome is when it's quiet, but alas this is easier said than done. The mighty Amphitheatrum Flavium is possibly one of the most visited attractions in all of Rome, which makes it also one of the busiest places and longest queues. Going early morning might help find less tourists and, apart from having to stand in a shorter line, without the crowd you will also be able to better enjoy the inside of the theater.

The Colosseum, in fact, is not only a majestic building to be admired from the Fori Imperiali, the long street where Emperors' fora are lined up, but getting in and visiting the underground reveals much of its glory (and gory) past, as this is the area where animals and gladiators used to wait before engaging in cruel games and fights against each other in front of thousands of spectators.

Moreover, when the warm season starts, from May to beginning of November the Colosseum can be visited also at night, every Thursday and Saturday from about 8pm to midnight. Booking is required and includes the entry ticket and the guided tour. Visitors must arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of their tour because in case of delay the ticket office will sell their tickets to other customers and bookings will be lost.

If day time the Colosseum is awe-inspiring, in the moonlight its shape becomes one of the most suggestive sights of Ancient Rome, and guided by an archaeologist you will be able to visit the amphitheater's permanent exhibitions that display relics found during the diggings and the space devoted to the history of the area where the Colosseum lies along with the most recent findings.

The evening tour also includes topics such as its architecture, luxurious decoration, the technical system used for lifting men and animals up to the arena where shows took place, and the activities the audience used to indulge in during the break.

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