Why else was Rome on our list of top places to see, knowing us it could only be the Colosseum. It truly did not disappoint.
Before I go any further I am going to explain how to get in. There are three options;
1) Get up early and wait on the doorstep, or be prepared to queue, queue and queue
2) Pay a bit extra for a tour guide touting on the doorstep, ditch them when you’re inside if you want
3) Book online before you go and walk straight in
We used a website called coop culture, I am unsure if it was the official website or not but it sells tickets and you can reserve a time on a set day. Plus you have the added bonus of booking the Underground tour. For the same price you can tour under the Colosseum, on the top tier and on the (rebuilt) arena floor. These three areas are off limits to everyone else.
This is all for 18Euro if you are aged 18-25 and includes regular access to the Colosseum after your tour and access to The Forum and Palatine Hill over the same day and next day. Again do not queue! You can go straight in with this ticket.
You buy your tickets through the website and print your confirmation, 10 minutes before your allotted time go to the left hand side of the queue and you will be let through to the box office. Honestly, the amount of people we passed – all of which would pay the same cost at the front of the queue, it really was the best decision we made. Those three hours we would’ve spent queuing we spent in The Forum afterwards.
So, you’ve bought your ticket online, you’ve found the site of the Colosseum (spotting it down an alleyway in our case) and are admiring the outside. If you’re lucky enough you may even come across a Russian couple who offer to take a few photos of yourselves in the surrounding areas, outside the Colosseum, in front of the Arch, next to the gardens… Take a drink and have a rest, you’ll be walking around for a good two-three hours in there!
Our next consideration was toilets, would there be any inside? Not something I’d ever thought of. We asked the lady guarding the reserved queue and she pointed us to the other side of the Colosseum, “there’s some under the stairs leading to the street,” and off we ran. However once inside we realised there were in fact portable toilets set up on the bottom level. They were just like the toilets used inside the Olympic Stadium. We commented on how the structure of the Colosseum is pretty much the same as stadiums used presently.
The tour was great, we were told you are given similar information about the Colosseum in the general tour but this included extra information on the ‘off limits’ areas. I don’t need to sell you the Colosseum, it was just fantastic.
We also did the Forum the same day and Palatine Hill the following day. We also crammed in St. Peter’s Basilicia and climbing the cupola, the Vatican Museum, the trevi fountain, Spanish steps, the Pantheon and Castle Sant’ Angelo into our three night trip. If you need sun cream take it with you. No one sells it except the expensive stuff or dodgy little off licences. ‘Il conto per favore’ means ‘The bill please’. The train from the airport to Termini is extremely straight forward, save your money. Go see Rome but expect to come away with blisters!