The Colosseum is one of the most representative attractions in the world. Hell, it is the most iconic works of the Roman Empire and the largest amphitheatre in the world where gladiators fight each other and slay animals in the past. Known to be the old “stadium” of our ancestors, the Colosseum can fit from 50,000 to 80,000 spectators and have like category which we buy tickets in the theatre that we have now. Even though years and centuries of earthquake and raiders that have raved on it, it remains one of the most important sight in Rome with millions entering to see the interior. Up to today, the restoration is still going on. The Colosseum and Roman Forum/Palatine Hill are the cluster of sights that is in the south of the city centre. A ticket costing 12 Euros will give you entrance into both the sights. Do note that they are popular and queues are terrible. Buying online will cost you an additional 2 Euros. While the Forum and Palatine holds significance as well, the Colosseum remains the most crowded of them. In Summer as well as the first sunday of every month where entrance is free, you can find the queues snaking around.
While the price of the entrance is 12 Euros, there are an abundance of exception like free sundays on the every first one of the month, free entrance for aged 17 and under, reduced price for EU citizens between 18 and 25. While the 12 Euros prices isn’t really daunting given that the Colosseum is really a must see when in Rome. Many people do as the Romans do, taking advantage of the complimentary entrance on the first sunday of the month like yours truly! I expect the crowd to be there but still decide on doing it since I am just nice in Rome on the first weekend. A buck saved is a buck saved! I was out bright and early, hoping that it will be slightly lesser queues. I would love to see the interior of the Colosseum after missing out on the opportunity the last time I was here in Rome!
It was a pretty chill stroll from my bed and breakfast and I was there in about 20 mins. I caught a glimpse of the facade of the Colosseum coming into the sight of my naked eye and the little numerous windows keep appearing larger as I get closer to it. It is sure an lovely sight. A very important note to remember is to stay clear of the numerous numerous amount of people who are dressed up as a gladiator around the Colosseum. They will very gladly offer to help you take a picture or perhaps with them together, the “fake gladiator”! However later they will then ask you for a tip or money and it sure isn’t a cheap one. Sadly, my travel partner for the day Sarah, apparently thought it will be a euro or two and it will be pretty worthwhile to have such a picture, it turns out to be 10 Euros! And you could not, not pay since those people are holding your phone or camera hostage!
I was there already at 8.30am in the morning and there was already a queue there! It was long and snaking out pretty far. There comes the second tip that I have for visiting the Colosseum. There was numerous people around the Colosseum grounds approaching people to sign up for a guided tour. Apparently by signing up for one of the tours you are able to skip the lines for the ticket office. This is also one of the main selling point that they are using, the promise of entering earlier and not have to wait in line. Apparently they said it will be around a 3 hours of wait. To be frank and honest, I am not sure whether they are a scam or what but they look pretty legit since they all had like the same “uniform” and passes showing their identity! I have also heard of guided tours. It is pretty awesome to have good stories and information when you are viewing a close to 2000 years old sight, but be it a guided tour or self entry, you access the same grounds and viewpoint!
In fact this is my take on it! If you really want a guided tour to have someone giving you information while walking around, do some research and then you can come anytime. If you just want to pay for entrance and avoid waiting for that long, just come on a weekday and pay the 12 Euros where the crowd will definitely be lesser. This brings me to tip number 3 that I have. While the ticket office queue is ridiculous long at the colosseum side look on the opposite, near the entrance to The Roman Forum. There is another ticket booth here AND THE QUEUES ARE MUCH MUCH SHORTER. Many people are not sure of this and also most of the tourists are also only interested in only seeing the Colosseum. This tends to naturally for them to start queuing at the Colosseum side. However a ticket is actually valid for any of the attractions and in fact they are identically the same! You can enter both of them with the same ticket. Check it out!
I was through in less than 5mins with my ticket in hand! You simply have to go to the booth and ask for a number of ticket, it will be then provided. Do note that the ticket are only for the day itself. I was actually quite skeptical since it is too good to be true, but then the staff at the booth as it is the same and the ticket clearly stated so. WHAT A LUCK OUT! FOR THE CHEAPO US. JUST GO EARLY ON THE FREE SUNDAY AND THEN LOOK FOR THIS OTHER TICKET BOOTH. This is also where I found my travel buddy for the day, Sarah from Seattle!
With a ticket in hand, you can just head to the entrance and go thru the security checkpoint. There was people but it was moving fast. I was probably thru in 10mins. Expect airport like security and you are not allowed to bring in huge items. The interior of Colosseum is huge and magnificent. I really cannot believe that I am seeing stuff that was built in 70 AD. That is like literally 1952 years of history under my feet. The amount of people that have been here, the amount of blood that have been spilled. The glam and the fall of the Roman Empire! Unbelievable!
I would say that the main visiting area of the Colosseum can be separately into two floors, the first and the second level! The first is immediately after passing the checkpoint. I would say that the second level is the best out of the two, you can get up using the stairs and it is pretty high up and steep. I love the second floor as you can get a good view of the arena. You can have a great view of the entire main playing field of the theatre. As well as the facade of where the seats and viewpoint was located.
Despite being recovered, after all this is an architecture of over the years. It is pretty heartening to see how such an important place have been in ruins and how the stones have been destroyed in certain parts. It is sure impressive to see stones that are probably older than you, your parents and hell, even my country Singapore itself! You can probably walk around 3/4 of the whole oval amphitheatre itself!
Thankfully I had Sarah with me together since she makes for a great photographer, I sure had my fareshare of pictures taken here. After all the backdrop was pretty amazing. Something that I really love was the windows of the Colosseum as well! Aren’t they cute!
There are many places that you can get really good pictures! Much of the places are still being blocked off to the general public since traffic can really destroy the conditions of the place.
If you want a better close up view of the structure and the views of the tunnels and stuff. Head to the first floor, they will allow you to have a better view. Enjoy the history and architecture!
Before you leave, make sure that you get a picture with the exterior of the Colosseum as well. There are similarly gorgeous and amazing! I hope that the Colosseum comes to stand for much more generations!