There are ancient finds all over Rome, but nowhere more concentrated than in the Colosseum. This is why the Colosseum Archaeological Park was created, into which the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum and the Domus Aurea flowed.
The Colosseum archaeological park
The Colosseum is the largest theater in antiquity and had almost as many seats as the Rome Olympic Stadium or the Munich Olympic Stadium. To understand what was going on in the Colosseum, read the reports of the German Archaeological Institute and watch the videos in our article History and Events in the Colosseum.
Reservations are required at the Colosseum. You can find more information about this in our article on the Colosseum Tickets.
But the Colosseum is not the only attraction in the archaeological park. You should definitely take a look at the Palatine Hill with its beautiful grounds and viewpoints and you should go through the Roman Forum.
There are a museum on the Palatine Hill and some archaeological specialties such as Nero’s Domus Transitoria, the House of Augustus, which can be visited only with a special SUPER ticket. However, you need much more than 3 hours for these attractions.
Colosseum best time to visit
Since June 1, 2020, the number of visitors has been greatly reduced and you can only come to the Colosseum with a reservation that you have to make on the Internet. Therefore, the Colosseum is never crowded. There is shade in the Colosseum, it is well ventilated and it does not get too hot.
It can get hot in the summer on the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. It is more pleasant there if the sun is not too high.
Colosseum length of visit
In order to be able to adhere to the distance rules, there is a fixed route through the Colosseum with the standard ticket. The visit lasts 45 minutes. In addition there are 15 minutes, which you have to be at the Colosseum before the reserved time, because of the necessary controls.
The exhibitions on the 2nd floor of the Colosseum are very interesting. There you will find many details about the history of the Colosseum. They are included in the specified way.
Colosseum · Tickets without guide
Colosseum · Tickets with guide
- Visit of the underground of the Colosseum. Duration of the tour including the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill three and a half hours. There are various start times. The German Archaeological Institute has been working here for a long time.
- Express tour with Gladiator entrance. Duration of the tour one and a half hours.
- Four-hour tour with Gladiator entrance, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
Colosseum · Tour combinations
- Three-hour family tour, specially designed for families with children between 6 and 12 years of age, with Colosseum and Roman Forum
- Three-hour small group tour to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Circus Maximus.
- Three and a half hour small group tour with Colosseum and Roman Forum. Continues to the Capitol, Piazza Venezia, Torre Argentina, Pantheon and Piazza Navona. You have to be good on foot.
Palatine and Roman Forum
Palatine Hill and Roman Forum are part of the Colosseum archaeological park. With the Colosseum Ticket, with the exception of the night ticket, entry to the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum is always included. You need at least an hour for the area, but it is better to plan at least two hours. Since January 2020, the ticket has also been valid for the Caesar Forum and the Trajan Forum.
The Palatine is one of the seven hills of Rome where the city was built. On the Palatine there are several interesting viewpoints. On one side you can look down to the Circus Maximus and the Baths of Caracalla, on another you have a nice view of the Capitol hill, there are viewpoints on the Roman Forum and on the Coliseum. It is very pleasant and quiet there and you can enjoy nature.
Due to the necessary safety distance between visitors, there have been four defined routes through the archaeological area since June 1, 2020. You can find more information on our Colosseum page.
If you are good on foot, we recommend the route “From the Roman Forum to the Imperial Palaces”, which leads from the Forum via the Palatine Hill to the exit on Via di San Gregorio. The duration is given as 2 hours. It takes about 10 minutes from Via di San Gregorio to the Colosseum entrance.
The Meta Sudans
The Meta Sudans was an ancient monumental fountain. It consisted of a 17 meter / 56 feet high cone with a diameter of 7 meters / 23 feets at the base, which stood in a pool of water with a diameter of 16 meters / 52 feets. The remains are still visible in front of the Arch of Constantine.
Mussolini demolished the remains of the fountain to make room for his marches. At that time he also pushed the Via dei Fori Imperiali, which goes from the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia, right through the Imperial Forums.
You can see the fountain Meta Sudan and the colossal statue of Nero very well in this simulation.
The Domus Aurea
The Domus Aurea was the huge palace of Nero, which he had built after the fire of Rome in 64. The Palace was spread over 80 acres on the Palatine and the Esquiline. Where you can find the Colosseum today, there was once an artificial lake. After Nero’s death, the Palace was destroyed, filled up and overbuilt. The land expropriated by Nero was returned to the Roman people and the Palace fell into oblivion. In the 15th century a boy fell into a hole and the palace was rediscovered. Today the palace is in restaurtion and can only be visited on weekends. The guided tour takes place in English and virtual reality takes visitors back to Nero’s time.
The tour starts on Saturday and Sunday at 8:30 and includes a visit to the Domus Aurea, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine. The tour has a duration of four and a half hours. Domus Aurea Info & booking>
Visit the Palatine Hill and the Forum before the Colosseum
The tickets are valid for 24 hours and you can visit the Palatine Hill, the Imperial Forums and the Roman Forum before the Colosseum. However, you must always be at the Colosseum at the reserved time.
So, if you have a late afternoon reservation for the Colosseum, it’s worth visiting the Forums and the Palatine Hill before.
Depending on how much time you have, choose one of the paths that lead from the forums towards the Colosseum. You leave the site either at the Arch of Titus or at the Palatine Hill on Via di San Gregorio. From the Arch of Titus it is somewhat closer to the Colosseum.
The shortest route “La Piazza del Foro Romano” is not suitable if you want to visit the Colosseum afterwards.
Eating around the Colosseum
There are few gastronomic highlights around the Colosseum. The top restaurant Aroma with a view of the Colosseum is located in Via Labicana on the top floor of the Hotel Palazzo Manfredi , In Via di San Giovanni in Laterano you can eat very well at Isidoro and there are also some quite nice restaurants in the side streets. You will find a larger selection if you walk down Via dei Fori Imperiali and then turn right into Via Cavour. Angelino ai Fori is just on the corner. You will certainly find what you are looking for there and in the Monti Quarter beyond. You can also go down Via dei Fori Imperiali to Piazza Venezia and then left to Torre Argentina and left again to the ghetto. There you will find mainly Roman cuisine.
How to get to the Colosseum
To get to the Colosseum, take the metro line B until the station Colosseo. Many buses stop at Piazza Venezia and from there you can take Via dei Fori Imperiali to the Colosseum. The tram line 3 stops at the Coliseum. In one direction it goes to San Giovanni and on to the zoo, in the other direction to the Pyramid, Testaccio and Trastevere.
After visiting the Colosseum Archaeological Park, what's next?
After visiting the Colosseum Archaeological Park, you have a variety of options. The obvious choice is a visit to the Celio with the beautiful churches that are located there. You can also continue your tour towards Monti or the city center. If you want to see more ancient ruins, you can also go to the Baths of Caracalla. A trip to the catacombs on the Via Appia Antica by bus 118 from Circus Maximus can also be nice. Or you visit some basilicas. To reach San Giovanni, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme and St. Lawrence, take the tram line 3, to reach St. Paul outside the walls take the metro B. In my suggestions for the afternoon you will find enough ideas.
The Bocca della Verità behind the Circus Maximus is also worth mentioning. Whether a visit is really worth it, however, is questionable. You mostly have to wait a long time and then take a picture in a hurry. If you want to go there, you should be there as soon as the church opens, at 9:30 in the morning.
Our suggestions for the afternoon
If you have visited the Colosseum Archaeological Park in the morning, here are some suggestions for the afternoon.
To get to the city center, take the bus 87 from the metro stop Colosseo to the Risorgimento stop near Piazza Navona
To get to the basilica of St. Paul outside the walls, take the Metro B to the Basilica of San Paolo Station, for the catacombs walk to the Circus Maximus and take the bus 118 from there to the catacombs, for the Basilica St. John tram line 3.
Other suggestions for the morning in Rome
Here you can find some other suggestions on what to do in Rome the morning.