Visit the Colosseum by your own way: plan your visit ahead
Travelling with family and friends can be rewarding, insightful and the best fun. So many might think that travelling abroad alone or in your own way is a less enriching experiences than with others.
Yet many globetrotters will tell you that travelling by yourself forces you to experience thing that you would have done if you were with others and it makes you notices thing you wouldn’t normally do.
What to expect during the Colosseum tour ?
The Colosseum is one of the most popular sites in Rome, which means you can expect large crowds during peak hours, people visiting the Colosseum by themselves will never feel alone.
The Colosseum is at its busiest between 11am and 1pm. If you want to go at the time of day we recommended taking the tour, which has special access points and will bypass the long security lines. If you want to go to Colosseum for opening hours, this is when the light is at its best for photos, you can still expect to queue for between 15 and 30 minutes.
How much time to spend
Give yourself 2-3 hours minimum to visit the Colosseum. It can take up to an hour to wait in the line to enter and then pass airport style security checks, and then it takes between 45 and 60 minutes to explore the arena itself, add extra time if you plan on visiting the Colosseum’s underground.
Once you get inside you can purchase or download an audio tour to enhance your experience and learn more about the site. There are also exhibition areas which provide additional historical information.
Add another 1 to 2 hours to visit the Forum and Palatine Hill, just expect to queue to enter these two areas. Your ticket will be valid for two days so you can save these two sites for the next day if you feel you won’t have enough time to visit.
What to see at the Colosseum by yourself ?
The Colosseum is 186 metres long by 156 meters wide, with a 157 meter outer walls built from travertine marble. This building was thought to have stayed intact until 1349 after it collapsed during an earthquake. The fallen stone was used to construct buildings through the city of Rome, but even in its decaying state, it is still a magnificent monument. When you visit the Colosseum keep an eye out for these details
The Interior. The building was constructed to satisfy the public’s craving for public spectacle and bloody games. The emperor and Vestal Virgins would have had the best views from the boxes situated at the north and south ends of the arena. You can still see the names of senators carved in stone. Noble families would have sat on the second tier, whilst the third and fourth tiers were dedicated to the general public. Although few fragments have survived the interior was once lavish and ornate. A bronze cross sits at one end of the arena, it is thought to be a tribute to Christian martyrs who died in the arena, despite there being no evidence to such things happening.
The arena floor stood at 83 by 48 meters, was built of wood and then covered with sand. All that is left of this is the walls and the vast two-story tunnel beneath, where the exotic animals would be kept. Sadly, the floors and the elaborate lift-like machines have been destroyed.
Arch of Constantine
This triumphal arch stands beside the Colosseum as a tribute to Emperor Constantine. At 21 feet tall it is the largest and best preserved Roman triumphal arch. The arch is decorated with reliefs taken from other structures, so the scenes have no connection to Constantine and his victory in the battle of Milvan Bridge.
Where to Stay near the Colosseum ?
Rome is a very popular tourist destination so there is almost an unlimited amount of hotels to stay at. There is not a best district to stay in but your location will depend on your budget and your style when travelling by yourself.
Hostel, B&B or Airbnb?
Near to Termini Station, the man transport hub is where the hostels are, but you will be on the outskirts area. Hostels are a great way of meeting other solo travellers but these can be a little rowdy as people will often use them to throw parties or will stagger in at all hours. Hostels with curfews are the more peaceful option.
Bed and Breakfasts are the best option for those on a budget but don’t want to take the hostel route. Airbnb’s are on every corner and cover every price range. Italy also has pensiones, small 2-star family run lodgings often with breakfast served, that sits as a hybrid between B&B’s and a hostel.
If you’re looking for a luxury hotel experience try the Via Veneto district near Villa Borghese, this is where you’ll find the expensive and exclusive hotels with beautiful gardens.
Where to Book Colosseum Tickets ?
Most tour companies organize their tours around 3 prime locations that comprise much of the ancient monuments in Rome. Everyone needs the general admission ticket to enter the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Forum. Tickets are valid for 2 days but you can only enter each attraction once. These attractions are still included at no extra cost with the purchase of Rome’s tourist discount passes and are often included to the guided tour packages.
When it comes to getting your tickets for the Colosseum there are a number of ways you can do it, but booking in advance is the best option.
Booking your ticket online is by far the easiest and most hassle free choice when it comes to buying Colosseum tickets, because it eliminates any queueing. Double check the terms and conditions before purchase because some tickets need to be validated at the ticket desk.
For visitors who do not think ahead the ticket office is your best option. Try and find sellers that are not directly outside the Colosseum, the ones around the building will have the longest queues. We recommend offices on Via di San Gregorio (Palatine) and Via Sacra (Roman Forum, Arco di Tito). Make sure you put aside a decent amount of time as sometimes it can take up to 45 minutes to buy a ticket during peak months.
Go with a tour
If travelling by yoursel to the Colosseum doesn’t sound that appealing to you and you want to share it with others, trying going with a tour. Tours are curated so you can get the best out of Rome in a short time frame, which means you don’t have to worry about tickets and transport. Rome offers lots of different tours from value for money expeditions to private tours, there is something from every budget and group size. A lot of tour packages, which visit the Colosseum, will allow you to skip the queue and will give you exclusive access to underground passages.
Visual tours as well as guided tours of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Forum are available but cost extra.
Colosseum Guided Tours
By your own
Self-guided and audio tours are great for those who want to explore the Colosseum alone, at their own pace and do not want to pay the costs of a fully guided tour. A big advantage of this is that you can linger inside the Colosseum for as long as you like, take photos and enjoy the views without being rushed along by a big group. You will still need to pay the entrance fee and then obtain the additional extras on site. There are a limited number of audio units so reserve in advance if you have your mind set on this option.
Official and private guided tours
There is an official Colosseum guided tour with a tour guide but this does not include access to the underground, arena or Belvedere. This tour is conducted in English, Italian and Spanish and lasts 45 minutes.
In addition to the official tour, there is no shortage of private tour operators that offer their own guided tour. They all come with different prices and at a different level of quality, so everyone will be able to find something that suits them.
As a solo traveller, you will never feel like you are visiting the Colosseum by yourself, as there are a variety of different tours to go on.
If you visit the Colosseum alone you have the choice to enjoy the company of strangers who may offer you a new perspective of the Eternal city, or maybe you want to savour getting lost in the ancient arena in your own mind. You can make what you want out of travelling your own way to Rome and visiting the Colosseum.