After that whole near death experience, (okay, I really mean to say near pick-pocketing experience. I’m just being dramatic) I was ready to leave it behind and just go do some touristy things.
Our first stop (besides lunch) was of course, the Colosseum. Well, almost our first stop. We stopped by a church on our way. The Basilica dei Santi Quattro Coronati. We didn’t go inside because it looked like it was abandoned, so we just walked around on the grounds.
Finally, we found our way to the Colosseum. Our first glimpse was actually from a small pizzeria from a side street, and even that was amazing.
To get inside the Colosseum, you need a ticket. I believe it is 16 Euros for a combined ticket to the Colosseum, the Palatino and the Roman Forum. However, if you’re planning on staying in Rome for a couple of days, the best way to get your moneys worth is to buy a Roma pass. You should buy it at the train station (Roma Termini) because when we tried to buy it at the Colosseum, they only had three passes left – and we needed four. Luckily, the metro station had it for sale. It’s 36 Euros for a three day pass (cash only). With this pass, you will get unlimited use of the city’s transit system (buses and trains) starting from the first day you use it, until the third day at midnight. You also get free admission to the first two sites that are on the participating list of Roma pass sites. So this means, you want to use your first two “comped” tickets for the most expensive sites. And I did the math for you. It’s the Colosseum and the Borghese (which I’ll tell you about in another post) After that, you get a discount for any other participating museums you want to visit. It’s a little annoying because you won’t find these discounted prices listed anywhere online. If you really want to find out, you’ll have to call or email that specific museum.
But back to the Colosseum. With the Roma pass, you also get to…wait for it….SKIP THE LINE!
And take my word for it. You’ll want to skip the line. It’s a real time saver. Not to mention, it’s filled with with tourists who didn’t know any better, and kids from school class trips.
Once you get in, you’re free to explore! The first level is more for photo ops. The second level is also for photo ops but you also get a museum around the circumference. There are various spots where you can get the perfect shot of the whole colosseum.
For the next part of your combined ticket (and yes, you have to visit all three at once), you have the Roman Forum. It’s bigger than it looks, and it’s also more walking (and slope-y) than it looks, so you definitely want to make sure you’re wearing the right shoes. If you can’t decide which shoes, just pretend you’re going hiking because that’s almost what it was.
Everything was in ruins, which was the most interesting part. I kind of wish I had taken a guided tour of some sort, in order for it to be more meaningful. But we were pressed for time, so a self-guided tour had to suffice.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to visit Palatine Hill. We thought it was with the forum, so we thought we had covered all the grounds. We only stumbled upon it when we were trying to figure out where Circus Maximus was. I guess it’s just another thing to add to my list of ‘places I missed out on in Italy’.
Another thing worth mentioning is that when we left the Colosseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill vicinity, there were men dressed as gladiators everywhere. Luckily, my trusty Fodor’s travel guide had already warned me about them. If you take a picture with them, they will demand money from you afterwards. Best to say, “no grazie” and just keep on trekking!