Via dei Fori Imperiali cuts through the centre of the Rome/Colosseo district, connecting Piazza Venezia with the Colosseum. It is well served by buses, although if you are into serious sightseeing you are likely to want to walk instead as the Roman Forum is on your right for most of the journey. After the Colosseum, the road becomes Via Labicana and takes you close to San Giovanni. Buses serving Via dei Fori Imperiali include No. 75, which connects Termini Station with Aventino- Testaccio and No. 85, which connects Piazza San Silvestro in the Modern Center (close to the Trevi Fountain) with San Giovanni. The Colosseum has a metro stop on Line B, two stops from Termini station in the direction of EUR. It will also be a stop for the new, and very much delayed, Line C, and the Colosseum end of the Via dei Fori Imperiali is presently made unattractive by the construction site.
Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- Colosseum, Piazzale del Colosseo / Via dei Fori Imperiali, ☎ +39 06 700 4261. open daily October-January 15 9AM-3PM, January 16-February 15 9AM-4PM, February 16-March 17 9AM-4.30PM, March 18-April 16 9AM-5PM, April 17-September 9AM-7PM. Known properly as the Flavian Amphitheatre, this most famous of Roman landmarks takes its name from the giant statue of the emperor Nero that once stood near this location. Originally capable of seating some 50,000 spectators for animal fights and gladiatorial combats, the amphitheatre was a project started by the Emperor Vespasian in 72 and completed by his son Domitian sometime in the 80s. The Colosseum when completed measured 48 m high, 188 m in length, and 156 m in width. The wooden arena floor was 86 m by 54 m, and covered by sand. Expect a long queue and an even longer wait. You can skip the queue if you decide to take a tour, but if you don't want a tour, you can STILL skip the queue. If you walk to the entrance for the Roman Forum, you can buy various one or three-day passes which allows you to bypass the queues. You can also buy tickets online. There are lots of people offering tours in English just outside the entrance to the Colosseum. Inside you can take a tour (English, Spanish, or German) every 30 minutes or so for an additional fee of €4.50 per person. The tours are given by knowledgeable archeologists, but they don't take you to any areas you couldn't visit on your own. Admission €12; €7.50 EU citizens ages 18-25, free for EU citizens under 18 or over 65. You can purchase tickets in advance online from the official ticket office, which costs an additional €2 booking fee. The tickets include access to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and are valid for 2 days. Free entry on the first Sunday of the month (no reservation possible).
- Palatine Hill (Right next to the Roman Forum). Contains the ruins of several large villas that belonged to wealthy Roman families. You can buy a combined ticket for the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum here, avoiding the long lines at the Colosseum.
- The Roman Forum (Foro Romano). Open Mo-Sa 9AM-6PM (summer), 9AM-3PM (winter), Sundays 9AM-1PM year-round. If stones could talk: these hallowed ruins were the most powerful seat of government in the world. The Forum is much less crowded than the Colosseum and, from a historical perspective, much more interesting. To stand in the political, legal and religious centre of the whole Roman Empire brings shivers down one's spine. It is the best way of imagining the splendour and glory of ancient Rome. Located in a small valley between the Capitoline and Palatine hills, access to the Forum is by foot only, from an entrance on the Via dei Fori Imperiali. Wheelchair access is available for most of the Forum but be aware that the path is often bumpy due to it containing original stones from the ancient Roman period. The Forum is often less crowded than the neighboring Colosseum, but holds even more history. Tip: It is possible to hire an audioguide for €4 from a small booth just above the Arch of Titus near the Colosseum. These audioguides contain an audio jack meaning that two people can easily share one. Admission is €12, and the ticket is valid for two days and includes entrance to the Colosseum and Palatine Hill as well.
- Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina (Tempio di Antonino e Faustina). Built in 141 AD and dedicated to the empress Faustina; after her husband emperor Antoninus Pius died in 161 AD the temple was rededicated to the couple.
- Basilica Aemilia. Completed in 179 BC.
- the Curia (Senate House) - the 4th rebuilding of the meeting place for the Roman Senate, once converted into a church during the Middle Ages, but now restored since the 1930s
- the Lapis Niger (Black Stone)
- the Arch of Septimius Severus (Arco di Settimio Severo) - erected in 203
- the Temple of Saturn (Tempio di Saturno)
- the Temple of Julius Caesar (Tempio di Giulio Cesare) - finished in 29 BC, marks the spot of Caesar's spontaneous cremation and Mark Antony's funeral speech, made famous by Shakespeare in his play Julius Caesar ("Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears....")
- the Temple of Castor and Pollux
- Arch of Titus. Built in 81 AD by the emperor Domitianus in dedication to his brother Titus, who died earlier that year and reigned as emperor from 79-81, overseeing the opening of the Colosseum in 80 and the eruption of Mt Vesuvius the previous year.
- Tabularium, Foro Romano. The remains of the ancient Roman archives, where Cicero and Seneca did research. Visible from the Forum and accessible through the Capitoline Museum.
Detailed ticket tips
When visiting the Colosseum in late spring, summer, or early fall, it is not unusual to see long lines at the entrance, where the admission fee is €12. The ticket is valid for two days and includes admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill as well as the Colosseum.
It is possible to purchase an admission to the Palatine Hill (or the Roman Forum) for the same sum, which also provides direct access to the Colosseum via an automated entrance.
The ticket for the Colosseum, Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill (one ticket for all three sites) can be ordered online from the official ticket office and printed at home. The ticket is valid for two days. Please notice that, even with the printed tickets you do have to stand in the line for the Colosseum, since there is a security check first. This line goes quite fast and isn't nearly as long as the line for the ticket office. When you have passed the security check, you can walk right to the ticket barriers. People who bought the ticket at the Colosseum have a small (metro style) ticket with a magnetic band. Your printed tickets won't fit in the machine. Therefore, make sure you use a barrier with a member of staff attending to it, they can scan your ticket with a hand scanner and let you pass. If no staff member is at the ticket barriers, go the reservations office at the right, near the barrier.
If you already have a ticket (from the Colosseum or Roman Forum or printed at home) and want to visit the Palatine Hill, make sure you don't stand in line at the entrance at Via di San Gregorio. The entrance near the Arch of Titus is closed. The line at the entrance is for people without a ticket. If you have a ticket, enter the entrance building at the right side of the line. People with small tickets issued at the Colosseum can use the automated ticket barrier at the right side in the building, people who have home printed tickets should use the entrance on the left in the building, right after the ticket office. There is a member of staff with a hand scanner who can scan your ticket.
Near the Arch of Titus at the entrance to the Roman Forum, you might be approached by young, native-English speakers (often students) offering you free guided tours of the Forum. This is not a scam and is done as a way for tour companies to promote their other tours (i.e. at the end of the free tour, the guide hands out a brochure telling you about other tours around town that do cost). Even if you're not interested in the other tours, take the free one and you'll learn a lot about the most important archaeological site in the city.
- Arch of Constantine. Located a short walk west of the Colosseum, this well-preserved monumental arch was erected (soon after 315) to commemorate the victory of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, over his rival Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. In general design, the Arch of Constantine imitates the century-earlier Arch of Septimius Severus (nearby in the Forum) - the quality of its sculptural decoration, however, betrays the slow degradation that Classical Roman sculpture had experienced in the 3rd century AD. Free to view.
- Piazza del Campidoglio. On top of the Capitoline hill. The piazza was designed by Michelangelo. The Capitoline Museum is housed in the palaces flanking the piazza. You can walk behind the Palazzo Senatorio, where Rome's government meets, to a wonderful viewpoint which overlooks the entire Roman Forum. In the centre of the square you can admire an exact copy of the Statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback; the original is kept in one of the two museums, to preserve it from pollution.
- Piazza Venezia (at the opposite end of Via dei Fori Imperiali to the Colosseum). More of an enormous traffic circle than a piazza, but a good central location. The centerpiece is the enormous Vittorio Emanuele Monument (aka the Wedding Cake or the Typewriter) with the Capitoline hill next door. Mussolini used to harangue Romans from the first floor balcony of Palazzo Venezia (see under Museums), to the west of the square.
- Vittorio Emanuele Monument. Built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, this vast structure may appear to be solid white marble but actually contains many rooms inside. There are two permanent museums, one on Italian Reunification and one on emigration from Italy, as well as other spaces that host rotating exhibitions. A walk through the Flag Room leads to the tomb of the unknown soldier. Good views from half-way up but you can also pay €7 and take a lift all the way to the top.
- Colle Oppio. This is the attractive park on the hillside directly west of the Colosseum. Visible ruins in the area come from the Baths of Trajan. These baths were built on the top of the ruins of Domus Aurea - the Golden House of Nero (the Colosseum was built on the drained site of Nero's lake). The area underneath the park contains an enormous area from Nero's villa. It was restored at great expense in the 1980s and 1990s, opened to the public, and then closed again after a few years when it began to leak!
- Trajan's Markets (Mercati di Traiano) (enter from Via IV Novembre, which leads off from Piazza Venezia). On the other side of the Via dei Fori Imperiali to the Roman Forum. Well-preserved market area that doubled as a way of stopping the Quirinal Hill from collapsing. Below in the Forum is Trajan's Column, built in 113 with reliefs depicting the Emperor Trajan's vistories in battle.
- Mamertine Prison (San Pietro in Carcere) (underneath the Capitoline Hill behind the Victor Emmanuel Monument). Leaders of Rome's defeated enemies were imprisoned here where they either died of starvation or strangulation. According to legend, St. Peter was imprisoned here.
- San Clemente, Via Labicana 95, walk round church for entrance (A short walk from the Colosseum), ☎ +39 06 70 45 10 18. A great little cathedral to visit, lovingly looked after by Irish Dominicans. There is an excavated older church below the medieval church you enter and a Mithraeum (temple to Mithras, whose cult was very popular with Roman soldiers from the 1st to 4th century A.D.) below that. The only place in Rome to hear the underground river that flows beneath the city.
- San Stefano Rotondo, 7 Via di Santo Stefano Rotondo (From behind the Colosseum take Via Claudia almost to the top. Turn left and you are there.). Dating from the 5th Century this is believed to be the largest round church in the world. The national church of Hungary in Rome and dedicated to St. Stephen. Charles Dickens described its wall paintings of martyrdom and butchery as ‘hideous”. A good starting point to visit the attractions of the Celio Hill (see Rome/Aventino-Testaccio)
- San Pietro in Vincoli, Piazza San Pietro in Vincoli, 4A, ☎ +39 06 48 82 865. Daily 7AM-12.30PM/3.30PM-6PM. The chains that allegedly held St. Peter are displayed in a case before the altar. More importantly, contains the impressive statue of Moses by Michelangelo. It's close to the Colosseum, but a little hard to find. Take the steps opposite the Colosseum on Via dei Fori Imperiali, cross the road at the top and seek directions. Also reachable through steps to the right leading off Via Cavour.
- Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Piazza del Campidoglio 4. Ballroom-like church which crowns part of the Capitoline Hill. Don't be fooled by the plain stone exterior.
Museums and galleries
- Musei Capitolini (Capitoline Museums), Piazza del Campidoglio, ☎ +39 06-6710-2071, e-mail: email@example.com. open Tu-Su 9AM-7PM. Admission to both museums €6. The two museums are located on opposite sides of the Piazza del Campidoglio, It is recommended to book tickets online Ordinary €6,50 (+ €1,50 for exhibitions), Concessions €4,50 (+ €1,50 for exhibitions) Free entry on the last Sun of each month.
- Museo Capitolino (Capitoline Museum). Built in the 17th century to a design based on an architectural sketch by Michelangelo. Highlights include the ancient Colossus of Constantine statue (the Colosseum was probably named for another giant statue, the Colossus of Nero which stood near the Flavian Amphitheatre as the Colosseum was originally known), The Dying Gaul, a magnificent marble sculpture that copies a bronze Greek original of the 3rd century BC and the Capitoline Venus. It also contains the remarkable original gilt bronze equestrian statue of emperor Marcus Aurelius (the one in the piazza is a replica).
- Palazzo dei Conservatori (Palace of the Conservators). Also based on a Michelangelo architectural plan, this compact gallery is well endowed in classical sculpture and paintings. Highlights include the small 1st century BC bronze Lo Spinario, a Greek statue of a little boy picking a thorn from his foot; the Lupa Capitolina (Capitoline Wolf), a rare Etruscan bronze statue probably dating from the 5th century BC; and (in the entrance courtyard), the massive head, hands, foot and kneecap from a colossal statue of Constantine the Great. The palace also contains a Pinacoteca (Picture Gallery) with paintings mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries - highlights include: Caravaggio's Fortune-Teller and his curious John the Baptist; The Holy Family, by Dosso Dossi; Romulus and Remus, by Rubens; and Titian's Baptism of Christ.
- Palazzo Venezia, V. del Plebiscito, 118, ☎ +39 06 6780131. Tu-Su 8:30AM-7:30PM, ticket sales end 6:30PM. In the very heart of the city center, the building was for centuries ago the seat of the Venice embassy. Today it houses a museum and art galleries. €5, €2.50 for EU citizens aged 18-25.
- Archeo Art, Via del Teatro di Marcello. Not far from the bottom of the Campidoglio steps. This shop sells beautiful reproductions of ancient sculptures; not the tacky kitsch sold by many of the street vendors, but museum quality miniatures that look incredibly close to the real things. Not cheap, but definitely unique and classy souvenirs. Also stocks reproductions of ancient Roman arms and armour, including full centurion outfits!
Many places in this area are aimed at tourists and as a result don't have to offer high-quality food to do well. The best lunch spot near the Colosseum, if you like pizza, is Pizza Forum, at the end of the first block heading up the narrow Via San Giovanni in Laterano from the Colosseum (in the opposite direction of the Roman Forum and city centre). At Pizza Forum you will get huge, delicious woodfire oven pizzas starting at about €5 each.
- Ulpia, Overlooking the West end of Trajan's Market, Mercati Trianei (Go down the steps near Largo Magnanapoli where Via Nazionale and Via IV Novembre join. Turn left on Via Sant Eufemia. It is on your left (the North side) just before the road dead ends.). In a delightful location you might expect that the food could be second rate but Ulpia does not disappoint. Both food and service are good. A wide choice of menu items and a varied wine list and you can eat inside if the weather is too cold to enjoy the terrace over Trajan's Market. The inside has heavy Roman decorations. Lunch, including a bottle of good wine €35.
- Il Gelatone, Via dei Serpenti 28 (near the Colosseo).
- La Dolce Vita, Via Cavour 306 (near the Colosseo).
- Shamrock. If touring the ancient sites of Rome is wearing you out and you're dying for an afternoon beer, head to this quiet Irish pub in a little laneway just off the right side of bottom of Via Cavour, which is a busy street that is more or less parallel to the Via dei Fori Imperiali, Mussolini's thoroughfare that links Piazza Venezia with the Colosseum.
- Cafè Cafè, Via dei Santi Quattro 44, ☎ +39 06 7008743, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cozy and quite cheap, this tea room is very close to the Colosseo, and it's ideal to have nice meeting with friends or a more intimate date. Very good sweets and tea, the choice is also good. Open all day and after dinner..
- Enoteca Cavour, Via Cavour 313 (towards the bottom of Via Cavour, near the Forum). Closed Sundays. Great wine bar with a selection of wines by the glass and hundreds of bottles to choose from. Wooden decor, paper tablecloths and wines stored overhead. Good food too.
- Hotel Adas, Via Cavour 233, ☎ +39 06 4741432. This two-star hotel has single, double, triple and quadruple rooms with private bath. From €70 for a double..
- Hotel Ivanhoe, Via De' Ciancaleoni, 49 (Via Urbana 50), ☎ +39 06 486813, fax: +39 06 4828761. Cozy two star hotel offering 24 rooms – single, double and triple - hidden in a little side street. Located above the Roman Forums and next the Colosseum. From €70 for double rooms.
- Hotel Labelle, Via Cavour, 310, ☎ +39 06 6794750, fax: +39 06 69940367. A family run two star hotel. At the bottom of Via Cavour, close to the Forum. From €88 for double rooms.
- Sandy Hostel, Via Cavour, 136, ☎ +39 06 4884585. Inexpensive, friendly and clean, located half way between Termini and the Forum. Dorm beds starting from €9.
- Sunset Roma Guest House Rome, ☎ +39 06 479933, fax: +39 06 485836. Via dei Serpenti 97. Cosy guest house of Rome with the following bedrooms: dus, twin, double, triple, suite and a large apartment of 55 square metres with one bedroom, a living room with a sofa bed and a kitchen. All the accommodations present satellite TV, internet wi-fi and private bathroom. The breakfast is included and the rates are €90-150.
- YWCA Foyer, Via C. Balbo 4, ☎ +39 06 4880460, e-mail: email@example.com. Youth Hostel is four blocks from Termini on the Via C. Balbo. Rooms are spotless, bathrooms are extremely clean, and towels and linens are changed once a day. Internet for €1 per hour. Fridge on every floor. Continental breakfast included in room rate. €26 per person per night for a bed in a 4-person room. €31 for a double, €47 for a private room. You have to be female to reserve a room; however, men can stay if accompanied by a woman..
- Angelus B&B Rome, Via del Boschetto 13, ☎ +39 06 4821196, fax: +39 06 48930421. The Angelus is a small and cosy bed and breakfast of Rome with five bedrooms divided in single, twin and triple. All with private bath, shower, internet, TV and telephone. Single €80. Double €120. Breakfast included.
- Antica Residenza Monti, Via dei Serpenti 15, ☎ +39 06 4815736. Short let apartments are available in this guest house in Monti district. It's possible to choose between an apartment with two rooms, and a studio apartment with one room, both are self catering with kitchens. €120-140 per day.
- Hotel Lancelot, Via Capo D'Africa 47 (in the built-up area behind the Colosseum, close to San Clemente church). Cosy hotel in an interesting area. For a three-day stay or more half-board is offered. €120 single, €180 double.
- Hotel Richmond, Largo Corrado Ricci 36 (At the bottom of Via Cavour..), ☎ +39 06 69941256. A three-star hotel with single, double, triple, quadruple rooms, and suites. The average price for a double is around €175..
- Hotel Forum, Via Tor de' Conti, 25-30 (close to where Via Cavour joins Via dei Fori Imperiali). Grossly overpriced hotel close to the Forum. But it does have a roof garden restaurant with great views! €300+ for double or twin.
- Torre Colonna Guest House, Via delle Tre Cannelle 18, ☎ +39 06 62289543. The Torre Colonna is a guest house hosted in a medieval tower, 100 meters away from Piazza Venezia. The five bedrooms with private bath are divided in double, twin, triple and family. Rates go from €230-300.
|Routes through Colosseo|
|South ← Aventino-Testaccio ←||SW NE||→ Modern Center → North|