How to Visit the Colosseum Like a Pro

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This is it, the place that calls you to Rome. It’s the one thing you came to see, and if you see nothing else, it will all be worth it. The problem is, this is the same thought running through the minds of 4 million other tourists (at last count), jostling for that perfect selfie at the Colosseum. Hey, at least you can take some solace in the fact that it may have been this crowded back its prime?  

So how can you visit this wonder of the world and leave with expectations met and that wonder still intact? Here are a few tips that you would be wise to heed when planning your visit to his incredible place.

Make a Reservation

This sounds obvious, and it should be, but surprisingly few people book their tickets in advance. This is the number 1 tip we can give to someone visiting the Colosseum. A simple visit to https://www.coopculture.it/en/colosseo-e-shop.cfm will allow you to buy tickets and schedule your visit to the Colosseum. When you arrive, don’t blindly fall in to the back of the line. Walk up to the front entrance and make sure you identify the separate line for people with reservations. This line will most certainly be much shorter. Also, remember, you have made a reservation for a specific time, so you if you need to, ask an attendant politely to make sure you don’t miss it due to a long line.

Plan your visit during a lull in the crowds

Alright, so there is never truly a lull in the crowds, but we have found that the Colosseum is actually busiest in the morning. Most tourists have the same idea that they are going to beat the crowds and be the first to arrive, only to discover that everyone else had the same idea and they have to wait in a line that wraps around the Colosseum itself. In our experience, late afternoon to early evening has resulted in fewer crowds and shorter wait times.

Visit the Colosseum and Roman Forum on separate days

Your ticket is valid for entry to both the Colosseum and adjacent Roman Forum, for 2 consecutive days from its first use. Entry to the Colosseum is valid for the scheduled time only, which means that you have two days to decide when you want to visit the Roman Forum. The site is huge and requires a lot of walking. Be prepared with the appropriate clothing and consider your hydration needs, but don’t feel like you need to see both in the same day. We’ve found it is much more relaxing to see the Colosseum the first day, the Roman Forum the next.

Set expectations

The Colosseum is crowded for a reason. It’s spectacular! Plan and prepare as best you can, but remember set appropriate expectations. You won’t get that perfect picture without anyone else in it. You will have to wait, at least a little bit. Remember to relax, give grace to yourself and those around you, and appreciate the fact that you have the privilege to experience this amazing place.

Visit outside of high season 

If possible, visit Rome outside of the months of June – September. Though you risk poor weather, there will be less crowds, which is a trade we would gladly make.