The Colosseum is one of the easiest of the 8 Wonders of the World to get to. Just because it’s easier than the others doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing! Located in the heart of Rome, the Colosseum is a monument to the Roman Empire’s architectural skill – and, at some level, their brutality.
General Info About the Colosseum
Location: Rome, Italy
Nearest Major Airport: Leonardo da Vinci – Fiumicino International Airport (FCO)
Overall Difficulty to Visit (ranked among wonders, 1 is the most difficult, 8 is the least difficult): 8
Why That Difficulty Rating? Rome is a major city, with lots of public transportation (incredibly crowded transportation, but it’s there!). That makes it easy to get around – especially from the airport to the Colosseum. FCO is a fairly major European airport, so that also allows you to find cheap, easy, and convenient flights. The Colosseum is one of the few wonders that’s reasonably easy to do in a long weekend from the US.
How Much Is The Colosseum Entry Fee?
General entry to the Colosseum is 12 Euro for adults, which works out to about $15. When you buy the ticket from the Colosseum offices (either online or in person), you can use it for entry to the Colosseum and also for entry to the Forum/Palatine Hill. If you go with one of the Roma passes, the terms are a bit different so make sure to read up on those!
If you’re going in high season, it’s wise to buy the tickets ahead of time online and print them at home. Sometimes the line for the tickets can be quite long. If you’re going in the off-season or you’re planning to go at a somewhat odd time, you’ll likely be fine just buying tickets at the site itself.
Should I Take a Tour to the Colosseum?
If you’re unfamiliar with the history of the Roman Empire, and you potentially want access to some of the traditionally off-limits places of the Colosseum, a guided tour can be a great idea. The other time it’s a great idea is if you’re trying to jam in a whole lot of Rome in not a lot of time. Finding a Colosseum/Vatican/etc combo tour can help you accomplish a lot in a day!
If you know something of the history and want to take your time appreciating the building, there’s no real need to take a guided tour.
What to Know About The Colosseum Itself
How long do you need to see the Colosseum? It depends on how long the lines are to get in, but you’ll have pretty fully explored the Colosseum within about 2 – 3 hours. The public areas are well-marked, and you’ll be able to go up and down the stairs to the various areas, but the site isn’t nearly as large as the Pyramids or Petra. It’s a much faster visit! Be prepared for the crowds, though!
What are the key things to see at the Colosseum?
The Colosseum is simple and straightforward – you’ll want to see the building itself, and follow the general marked areas to see from different angles.
It’s next door to the Forum and the Palatine Hill, so it’s worth taking the extra time to see those as well!
Pictures in the Colosseum
Pictures at the Colosseum are basically a competitive sport of their own. You are allowed to bring in selfie sticks, and there are a number of people who will take pictures for you. On the main level, there’s a lot of jostling for positions to take pictures at the railing with the Colosseum in the background. Stick with it, and you’ll be able to get some decent shots.
If you want pictures outside the building with the whole thing in the background, you’ll want to get there extremely early. Even then, given that the Colosseum is right in the midst of things, you’ll still probably want to take multiple images and edit out the people.
Places to take the best pictures of the Colossem
You’ll definitely want to have pictures in front of the main arena floor.
If you take a private tour, you’ll be able to get down further, with better photo opps.
Take a few pictures outside, and make sure you find the pomegranate statue outside – it makes for some cool photos!
Compared to many of the other wonders like the Pyramids, Petra and the Taj Mahal, you won’t find as many scammers at the Colosseum. There are the ubiquitous “friendship bracelet” people around, but they’re pretty easy to avoid. (Truthfully, you’ll have more problems with scammers towards the Vatican.) Especially once you’re inside the Colosseum, it’s a pretty hassle-free visit.
What else should you see in Rome?
Rome is an incredible city with so much to see! From the Spanish Steps to the Vatican, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and everything in between, there’s so much else to see and discover. You could spend weeks just trying to appreciate it all!
The one thing I would recommend trying to do is the Vatican Scavi Tour. It’s a tour that takes you into the necropolis under St Peter’s Basilica, all the way down to the bones of St Peter himself. It’s absolutely incredible.
What About Taking a Tour Group Through Rome and Italy?
This is going to be based largely on your preferences. There is no giant safety reason you need a group tour for Italy. They can be convenient if you like someone else to attend to all the details of your trip. A group tour will let you see a whole lot of Rome, and Italy in general in a short amount of time. For the Colosseum, a group tour will also mean you’ll get some sort of site tour where you can learn a lot more about the history. Some will even let you in early or late, so you can get great pictures without all the tourists in the background!
Italy Tours I’d Suggest:
Low-End: Intrepid Travel has a number of options for low-cost Italy tours – starting around $1,000 per person for 8 days. Depending on your desires, you can focus on Rome and the northern areas (Florence, Venice, Pisa, etc) or Rome and the more southern areas (Naples, Sorrento, Capri).
Mid-Range: Perillo Tours specializes in Italian vacations, and does so well! Their tours with Rome last about 8 days and start at about $2200 per person. One unique thing they offer is a tour that focuses just on Rome and the surrounding areas over a week. Most tour companies try to cram Rome into a day so you can see more of Italy. If you want in-depth “Rome” then Perillo is an excellent option!
High-End: For luxury, it’s hard to beat Abercrombie & Kent. 11-day Italy tours start at about $7,000 per person, and include a very luxurious take on Italy. You’ll get to stay at incredible hotels, eat incredible foods, and see some exclusive sights on the tours.
How Much Does it Cost to go to the Colosseum?
Like everything, the cost for a trip to Italy depends on your taste and how you like to travel. You can easily spend quite a small amount. Or, you can spend tens of thousands of dollars on a Roman vacation.
If you want to know how much I spent visiting, you can read through my costs to visit central Italy.
Here are rough ranges you should expect to spend (in USD). This assumes you’re making a trip to and from the US.
Here are some ideas of how much things cost and how much to budget:
Low End Italy
This assumes that you’ll be doing as much as possible on your own and with just the basics! At the low-end side of things, with a budget-minded hotel, food, tips, and the odd souvenir here and there, will total $900-$1,200 per person. Add about $600 – $1,200 per-person for flights from the US, and your total for a long weekend in Italy to see the Colosseum will be about $1,500 – $2,400 per person.
Mid Range Italy
Some per-person ranges, assuming you like a bit of comfort but not a lot. A mid-range hotel, plus food, tips, and souvenirs is likely to total $2,500 – $3,500 per person for a week. Add about $600 – $1,200 for airfare from the US, and you’re at about $3,100 – $4,700 per person for a week.
Higher End Italy
This is the side of things where things get really fun – but expensive. If you want to rent a penthouse with a view of the Colosseum, you can easily spend $1,500+ per night on the room. Add the best foods, tours, first-class airfare and more and you can easily spend $15,000+ per person for a week in Rome!
Is the Colosseum Worth Visiting?
Yes! I heard that a lot of people thought that it was smaller than they expected when they finally saw it. Whatever they might say, I was impressed! This being one of the easiest world wonders to visit, it’s especially worth it to marvel at the architectural prowess of people who lived thousands of years ago! I loved imagining the part where they flooded it for sea battles. I still don’t even understand how they conceived of that!
Italy as a whole is also a remarkable country. The food, the culture, the art, and so much more makes it a joy to visit!
Want to learn more about the other wonders of the world?