Rome Colosseum Italy

Things to Know Before A Visit to the Rome Colosseum and Forum


No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the Colosseum, and the often-overlooked Forum also provides great insight into the life of Ancient Romans.

It's also possible to visit all three in one day - starting with a long(ish) morning at the Capitolini Museums, and hiding from the midday sun in the corridors of the Colosseum, before rounding off the day with a visit to the ancient Forum.


For those who have more time, and who don't have to contend with the shorter attention spans of children, it's equally possible to spend a day in the Capitolini, and another covering the Forum and Colosseum.

For those who have more time, and who don't have to contend with the shorter attention spans of children, it's equally possible to spend a day in the Capitolini, and another covering the Forum and Colosseum.

In brief, the Colosseum is the ancient arena where gladiators fought animals and themselves, and was originally designed as a auditorium. The Forum is the name given to the Foro Romano, complete with the remains of ancient temples and smaller arenas, squares, palaces and official buildings.

Buying Tickets for the Colosseum and Forum

One piece of advice for those staying more than a couple of days - buy the Roma Pass. For three days, it gives free access to public transport, but more importantly, many attractions including both the Colosseum and Forum have priority queues in place for Roma Pass holders.

In addition, while tickets for children under 12 are free, they need actual tickets, so it's worth ordering them online in advance, again to save queuing.

A final note - the Colosseum is one of the more expensive attractions, so it's worth using it as one of the free entries that the Roma Pass provides. Holders will also get a discount on entry to the Forum, too, arguably the less well known of the these open air museums.

Why Visit the Forum?

The Roman Forum is the name given to the area where all the major decisions were made in Ancient Roman times. The 3D Rewind film gives some great background into the role of the Forum in commercial and political life of ancient Rome, and provides a useful introduction before visiting the ruins themselves.

It was originally a market square, and was been in an almost constant state of flux right up to its destruction in the 8th century AD, eventually becoming a place to dump debris from building work in the 13th century.

From the 15th century on, only artists, historians and antiquaries seemed interested in the remains, adding to the centuries of neglect. Starting in the 1800s, the site was fully excavated, something that was only completed in the 20th century, and it is surprising just how much is left - it truly is history exposed.

The ancient arches are especially interesting, and it's worth engaging the services of a guide to help make the most of what is a large area.

Things to Watch Out For at the Colosseum

In 1749, the Colosseum building was consecrated by Pope Benedict XIV, having declared it as sanctified by the blood of the Christians reportedly martyred there. To mark this, there is a cross on the outer wall that can be seen when walking around the building.

Inside, there are some stunning views across Rome, and some great examples of restoration work that is being done to help restore the corridors inside to their former glory.

As with many other attractions in Rome, if you were to read all the information panels that give an insight into the Colosseum and Forum, the visit would easily take a whole day, especially when the recent excavations are taken into account.

Both are well worth setting aside at least half a day to do properly, and more if time allows.