The Best Way To See The Colosseum In Rome! (2024)

A woman standing in front of the colossion in rome.

Having visited Rome multiple times, I’ve discovered the best way to see the Colosseum that every traveler should experience. The best picture-perfect views are from the outside near the Arch of Constantine, inside on the Arena floor, and around the complex at night.

If your goal is to capture the best angles for photos or simply marvel at the Colosseum’s beauty, I’ve got you covered. I’ll share the top 4 spots to view this iconic landmark from the outside and inside, along with insider tips, fun facts, and the best tour options available.

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Best Way To See The Colosseum From Outside

Walking around the massive walls of the Colosseum, you get a view that’s absolutely awesome and free! This ancient amphitheater shows off Rome’s epic history without costing a penny.

Checking out the Colosseum from the outside, you dodge the indoor crowds and still get to marvel at this architectural wonder. It’s the perfect chance to snap those iconic shots or just stand there and soak in one of the most famous spots in history.

Arch of Constantine

Standing by the Arch of Constantine, you’re smack in the middle of a time warp with an unbeatable view of the Colosseum. These ancient ruins have seen more drama than your favorite reality TV show, all bathed in the golden light of Rome.

While you’re snapping pics and soaking in the culture, street performers nearby bring the place to life, adding a modern twist to the ancient scenery. The Arch itself was built to celebrate the massive win over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.

Also see: 12 Beautiful Main Squares In Rome You Need To See!

Via Nicola Salvi

When you stand here, you’re getting a front-row seat to the Colosseum’s northeastern side—think of it as the VIP lounge of Roman vistas. This spot is all about the unobstructed views and the breathing room with no elbowing through crowds.

While here don’t miss the lush greenery that frames this iconic structure, adding a touch of nature to the stone and history. If you have a drone this particular angle lets you capture the Colosseum with a backdrop of Rome’s skyline, making your photos stand out from the usual tourist snaps.

Also see: This Is What To Know For Your First Trip To Rome: 10 Tips!

Palatine Hill

Standing atop Palatine Hill, you snag a panoramic view of the Colosseum that’s unmatched. You’re looking at it from above, capturing both its scale and the life going on around it. It’s much less crowded than the usual spots, offering a more serene experience, but keep in mind, that entry to Palatine Hill requires a ticket.

While you’re up here, you’re not just getting an epic view of the Colosseum because the hill is steeped in Roman history, with ruins and gardens that tell tales as old as time. This viewpoint gives you a stunning backdrop of the Roman Forum, adding layers to your visual experience and photos.

Also see: How To Take An Easy Rome DIY Walking Tour!

Roman Forum

At the Roman Forum, you’re seeing the Colosseum’s majestic side. At this spot, you’re getting two views at the price of one. Not only do you get to admire the Colosseum, but you’re also surrounded by the heart of ancient Rome, with ruins, temples, and vibrant history everywhere you look. When standing here, you’re literally walking in the footsteps of Romans who lived over two millennia ago—how’s that for stepping back in time?

Also see: Rome Bucket List: 50+ Ultimate Things To Do!

At Night

As dusk falls, the Colosseum just hits differently. When it’s all lit up at night and the street artists are doing their thing, it’s quite the show. It stands there glowing, making you feel a bit curious and maybe even a tad sad for the stories it holds in its old, shadowy walls.

Also see: Your Simple Guide To Visiting Pompeii From Rome!

Best Way To See The Colosseum From Inside

Walking into the Colosseum truly changes your view. It’s pretty cool looking at it from the outside, but being inside? That’s a whole other story. You’re looking at history but also literally standing smack dab in the middle of it.

Level 1

On the first level, you’ll spot the intricate network of arches and corridors where the spectators of ancient Rome rushed to find their seats. Don’t miss the exhibitions often set up on this level. You’ll get to see bits of ancient armor, tools, and maybe even some ancient graffiti.

It’s both an eye-opener and a great way to connect the dots of history while standing literally where it all happened. And the view? From here, you have an overview of the inside arena, minus the long-gone wooden floor, revealing the complex underground structure where the magic of the games was orchestrated.

Also see: 3 Days In Rome Budget Breakdown That’s Actually Affordable!

Level 2

Taking the climb to the second floor (and the highest you can go), the elevation gives you a new perspective. You can see the arena down beneath you with a bird’s eye view with more intricate details of Roman engineering and architecture.

Expect to see models of the Colosseum in its heyday, showing off its ingenious design. It’s fascinating to see how this massive structure was brought to life without modern technology. The views are expansive, stretching beyond the Colosseum to the heart of Rome.

Make sure you take that moment of reflection while you’re here. Look down into the arena and imagine the cheers of history that still linger in the air. Level 2 offers a view but also an experience, of the sights, sounds, and whispers of ancient Rome.

Also see: 10 Interesting Vatican City Fun Facts You Need To Know!

Arena Floor

Standing on the arena floor, it’s easy to feel like you’ve just stepped into a time machine. You’re right where the action happened, in the heart of the Colosseum. The view from down here is completely different as you look up, and see the Colosseum’s walls raised high around you.

From this vantage point, you get to truly appreciate the engineering of the Colosseum. You can walk around the arena floor and see up close the underground passages, known as the hypogeum, where gladiators and beasts awaited their fate. These passages were once filled with nervous fighters and now stand open for your curiosity.

Also see: How To Eat Like A Local In Rome + Best Restaurants!

Underground (Hypogeum)

In the Colosseum’s hypogeum, the temperature is cooler, and a little more eerie. Knowing you’re in the same spaces where gladiators and exotic beasts once paced nervously before their grand entrance. Today, the hypogeum is a fascinating maze of passageways and chambers, illuminated just enough to give it a mysterious vibe.

Check out the clever lifting devices that used to hoist fighters and animals into the arena. You can imagine the crowd’s excitement, waiting to see which surprise combatant would pop up next. Even though these devices don’t work anymore, the intellect behind them is still pretty amazing.

Also see: 3 Days In Rome Budget Breakdown That’s Actually Affordable!

Best Tours To Take

The Arena Floor and Hypogeum can only be seen if you purchase a tour with a guide, but it’s definitely worth it if you want more knowledge about the place.

Not only do you get access to these exclusive areas, but you also get the inside scoop on the Colosseum’s history and stories about some of its most famous events. These are some tours to consider booking.

Self-Guided Tour with Skip-the-Line: Have the freedom to explore ancient ruins at your own pace, skip long lines like a VIP, and enjoy the benefits of independent travel with all the necessary insights, without the constraints of a group. Perfect for those who value autonomy and efficiency in their adventures.

Colosseum Tour at Night: Experience Rome uniquely with magical evenings at the Colosseum under the stars, enjoying cooler temperatures for more comfortable exploration. Ideal for anyone seeking a romantic or less crowded visit.

Underground & Arena Floor Tour: Gain exclusive access to hidden parts of the Colosseum, experience the Gladiator’s View from where epic battles occurred, and immerse yourself in ancient history. Perfect for history enthusiasts looking for an intimate exploration of the past.

Where To Stay In Rome!

Your stay should feel like a part of your Roman adventure, cozy, full of comforts, and unforgettable moments. Here’s where to crash in Rome, no matter your needs.

Best Modern Hostel: A social vibe with a modern design, affordable, and lively experience ideal for solo travelers, friends, and digital nomads. Great communal spaces like a garden, bar, and rooftop. Its central location in Rome makes exploring the city’s beauty easy.

Best Hotel with View: A luxurious stay with breathtaking views of Rome. Located near the Spanish Steps, it’s perfect for those seeking a picturesque stay surrounded by historical landmarks, exquisite eateries, and chic boutiques. Right in the city center.

Best Family Vacation Home: A cozy homey stay with spacious, modern rooms perfect for families or large groups. Known for privacy, comfort, and space, including kitchens for simple meals. Is located close to public transport and major sights.

Colosseum Tips & Facts

  1. Seating Order: The Colosseum’s seating arrangement was strictly according to social ranking, with the Emperor and the Vestal Virgins enjoying the best views.
  2. Opening Ceremony: The Colosseum’s inaugural games in 80 A.D. lasted an astonishing 100 days, featuring gladiatorial combats, animal hunts, and mock naval battles.
  3. Free Entry: In its heyday, attending events at the Colosseum was free for Roman citizens, illustrating the political strategy of ‘bread and circuses’.
  4. Underground Marvel: The Hypogeum contained 28 elevators used to hoist animals and scenery to the arena floor, showcasing Roman engineering skills.
  5. Capacity: It is estimated that the Colosseum could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators, rivaling the size of many modern sports stadiums.
  6. Visit Early or Late: To dodge the crowds, consider visiting early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
  7. Guided Tours: Opt for a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the Colosseum’s history and access areas that are not open to the general public.
  8. Be Mindful of Restrictions: Note that large backpacks and suitcases are not allowed inside the Colosseum.
  9. Respect the Site: Remember, the Colosseum is an ancient monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so treat it with respect.
  10. Explore the Surroundings: Allocate time to explore nearby attractions such as the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, which are usually included in the ticket price.

Final Thoughts-

For the best way to see the Colosseum, head to the outside near the Arch of Constantine or inside on the Arena floor, or walk around the area at night. From my expertise when visiting Rome and the Colosseum multiple times, each experience has been truly unforgettable. Share in the comments if you have a trip planned to the Colosseum and what you’re most excited about!

Happy exploring!

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