Il Colosseo – The Colosseum

Country: Italy City: Rome Name of Site: Il Colosseo – The Colosseum
General Info:

 The Flavian Amphitheatre – everyone just calls it the Colosseum – was built in 80 AD. In its heyday, it could seat from 50,000 to 80,000 people, and was the setting for all sorts of killing-related pubic spectacles from gladiator combat to sea battles.

Official Website: http://www.isromantique.it/schede/eng-colosseum_3112/
Address/Location: Piazza del Colosseo
Maps:

 
How to Get There:

Metro: Line B, Colosseo

Foot: Walking distance from Ancient Rome sites. Most of Rome is walkable – it’s about an hour walk from the Colosseum, which is one of the most eastern sites, to the Vatican, one of the most western sites, so depending on your hotel location it might be best to walk here. However, most people will find it easier to take the Metro.

Days / Hours: Exterior – All the Time!

Interior – Daily 8:30 AM – 1 hr before Sunset. (Closed 1 Jan, 1 May, and 25 Dec)

Adult Cost: Exterior – FREE!!! Not a bad place to just hang around and enjoy Rome.

Interior – , €12 ticket includes admission to Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Child Cost: Exterior – FREE!!!! Interior – FREE!!!! (Under 17)
Tips – Admission/Free Days: 1st Sunday of the Month is Free for everyone. Of course, this means that it’s more crowded.
Tips – Line: The line stretching outside the Colosseum can be really really long, especially during summer tourist season. A couple of tips to save time: 1. Going in the afternoon, the crowds tend to die down after 2-3 PM 2. Keep in mind that the REALLY long line you see is to buy tickets.  So buy/print your ticket online at www.coopculture.it (with a €2 booking fee), or at a less-crowded ticket office, such as the Forum/Palatine Hill booth across from the Colosseum (remember, your ticket is good at all three locations), or there’s also a booth 150 yards down Via di San Gregorio (the opposite direction from the Metro). Also – if you have the Roma Pass, that also saves you the line.
Free Wifi? Negative, ghost rider. Ancient Romans used to always complain about this, too.
Bathrooms- Free? Baby changing stations? There’s a number of free bathrooms around the area – inside the Colosseum, there’s a few inside the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill as well.
Strollers- parking? Ease of use? Allowed inside?

Strollers can be left inside near the ticket office. They aren’t the best solution inside the Colosseum – too many narrow walkways, steep steps, and people. Just leave it inside and either carry or make your kids walk, depending on their age.

Outside food allowed inside? Nearby food options: No coffee shop or anything inside the Colosseum. We’re big on supermarkets/picnics at HFMT – the closest supermercato is a Carrefour Express, it’s just across the street east of the Colosseum. There’s a neat little park with a bench on the hill to the north that overlooks the Colosseum. Also, take advantage of the water fountains throughout Rome that run constantly with aqueduct water – there’s one just across the street by the Metro stop.
Is it Worth It?

Yes, at least the exterior. This is one of the main reasons you go to Rome. The images are iconic and this is something your family will remember.

If your kids are very young, and you’ve been inside before, I don’t know if you have to go inside again. However, as your kids get older, the more essential this experience becomes. Most kids who travel have been inside a major sports arena, and they can easily compare/contrast the modern experience with this one.

How to Get Kids Excited (books/movies/activities):

Plenty of media about the Colosseum. The movie Gladiator has some good scenes, but they are pretty violent (the movie was rated “R” for violence) so I’d be careful sharing that one.

💡 Things to mention so your family thinks you’re smart:
The Colosseum has all three types of Greek columns – Doric on the ground level, Ionic on the second, Corinthian on the third, and a combination of all three column types on the fourth.

Most of the Colosseum was recycled and now makes up parts of other buildings throughout Rome. Only about 30% of the original structure remains.

There was originally a 100 ft bronze statue of Nero outside the structure. It didn’t survive.

Animals used in gladiator contests included the Rhinoceros, Hippopotamus, Giraffe, Bear, Crocodile, and Ostrich. PETA would not have been happy.

Originally the “playing surface” of the Colosseum was a wooden floor covered in sand (sand in Latin is “arena”).

Nearby Playgrounds:

According to ItaliaKids.com, there are two playgrounds south of the Colosseum, about a 5-10 minute walk from the Colosseum. I can’t vouch for these yet, I’ve searched like crazy on Google Maps and haven’t been able to find them. When we go this summer we’ll take a look and update this page if we see anything. Here’s the information from their website:

Parco Giochi Monte Celio
off of Via della Navicella (from Colosseum, take Via Claudia, and continue straight to Via della Navicella)
Playground and miniature pony rides

Piazza Celimontana 
shady park with playground and swings off of Via Claudia, near Colosseum. A nice oasis to visit after the Colosseum. In the afternoon/evening there is also a donkey cart ride that tours the larger grounds of the Parco Villa Celimontana.

 

Be Careful of:

PickpocketsIn Rome you always need to be wary, but especially among the tourist throngs around the Colosseum.

GladiatorsIf you’re waiting in line, aggressive men dressed as gladiators try to intimidate tourists to pay them too much for a photo. If you really want one, I understand 4 – 5 € is a fair price to pay.