Hot tips on the Colosseum

It is a well known fact that no-one (except the English) enjoy lining up. But when touristing around Europe, waiting in lines is the unfortunate downside to ticking off must see items in many countries. If you are in the know then there are often ways of jumping the queue and just recently I discovered one for getting in to the Colosseum in Rome in just a few minutes.

Myself, Laura and Tobin were heading in to the city early in order to get a place in the subterranean Colosseum tour which we had heard often sells out early. We were in by 10am and already the queue was wrapping around the outside of the building as well as deep inside it’s bowls to the ticket office. We groaned when we saw it, but figured that there had to be an easier way, especially as it was a specific tour that we were looking for. We approached the guy who was obviously in charge of organizing the line where we might go for the subterranean guided tours and he directed us down the empty space that said it was for groups only. We passed hundreds of people waiting in line for the regular entry tickets for the Colosseum and lined up behind 6 other people who were booking the guided tour. For an extra 9 euro (bringing the total to 21 euro) we had skipped hours of waiting and had a guided tour. The ticket also includes entry to the Roman Forum next door and the Palatine museum within it AND all of this is valid for two days. Amazing!

Arch of Tito in the Forum
A few other tricks for entry into the Colosseum that I have heard (but not tested) is to join the much shorter line for an audio guide, it will cost you 5 euro more but cuts most of the wait. Or if you really just want the 12 euro normal ticket, you can buy it from the Roman Forum entry where there is usually less people waiting than at the Colosseum.

Whilst we waited for our 12:20 tour, Laura and I wandered in the Roman forum. The area is about half a kilometer squared and is PACKED with ruins. A whole day could be spent in there but we were just killing a few hours. We met up with our guide and about 15 other people back at the Colosseum and the first place we went to was the underground section. Basically when the Colosseum was operating 2000 years ago, gladiators and wild animals were kept and trained in various schools in the surrounding area, many of which connected directly to the Colosseum via underground tunnels. They would then be in the bowels of the arena, surrounded by up to 80 man operated lifts (and the slaves operating them) which would hoist the various animals and men up through wooden trapdoors and into the view of the spectators. The wooden floor of the arena has all rotted away now and so what you are left seeing from above is the maze of small tunnels and shafts of elevators. We were down amongst this with our guide in the damp and the shadows and it was very impressive to see the tall stone walls stretch above us with nothing but the forces of gravity holding them together.

Down in the bowels of the Colosseum
Hallways where the gladiators used to walk
The guided tour also took us up above where the normal ticket gives you entry. Up in our birds eye viewing spot we could see on one side of us the collapsed and pillaged but still grand remains of the Colosseum and on the other side was the Palatine hill and roman forum with collapsed temples and villas for as far as we could see. Blocking out all the tourists you could very easily imagine what it would have been like to be an ancient Roman sitting in that seat and checking out the view around him.


Colosseum from the highest point


Tobin at the Colosseum
In the Forum
In the Forum
In the Forum
In the Forum
In the Forum
View of the Forum from the highest point of the Colosseum
View of the Forum and Palatine Hill
Looking at the surroundings of the Colosseum
*On a side note, the spelling of Coliseum/Colosseum has been brought to my attention, I did some research and you might be interested to know that although both spellings are correct, Colosseum is unofficially used exclusively to describe the ancient arena in Rome whilst Coliseum is used to describe all the other ‘Colosseums’! This page gives some reasons why
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