When I returned to Rome in January after spending the holidays back in the United States, I spent an afternoon at the Colosseum. I got to see the inside of this spectacular building for the first time. During all of my trips to Rome, I never managed to get there — most of the time put off by the long lines. So how can you visit the Colosseum with the least amount of fuss?
You need to book!
You can book a visit the Colosseum? You sure can! Here’s how:
Go to this web site, Coopculture, and book your tickets — there are a variety of tours and entrance fees to choose from. If you just want to explore on your own, you can just book a general entrance to the monument. I would suggest that you book a guided tour. I took one with two of my friends, and we were blown away by the quality of the tour and how professional our guide was. She really knew her stuff, and I was amazed at some of the things that I learned, and I know a lot about the Colosseum. Also take note that your ticket to the Colosseum is also good at the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum, so you can see a good part of ancient Rome for a pretty spectacular price!
If you book, you can jump past the long line of people waiting to buy tickets. There are two or three dedicated windows just for people who have booked — although sometimes you will find yourself waiting as these people often have a lot of down time and will help ease the line. But we only waited a few extra minutes and much less time than if we waited in the regular line. I found that it was worth the trouble of booking, and you can book way before you even get to Rome. I just showed the cashier the email from my mobile phone by passing my phone to her, she looked up my reservation, printed the tickets, and we were on our way. If you do a guided tour, you will also receive stickers that show which tour and time you are signed up for. Just follow the instructions from the cashier and/or the signs to join up with your tour guide.
Not only do you get to walk around inside, but you can also climb up the some of the levels of the building and get some amazing pictures of the inner workings of the Flavian Amphitheatre as well as some great views of ancient part of Rome as well as a good view of the skyline. The undergound of the Colosseum is also open, but this is only for guided tours. We were not able to do this, but I would recommend it. You can see this wondrous part of the Colosseum, and I plan to go back in the spring when another friend comes to visit to repeat the tour.
The steps inside the Colosseum are quite high so bring some comfortable shoes and be prepared to do some hard climbing on your way up. There is also a gift shop inside the Colosseum and other exhibits that many of the guides use to talk about the monument as well as to demonstrate how it was used and other useful facts about the site.