Before booking your ticket of Colosseum – The ultimate Rome trip guide

Questions? Doubt no more, I got your back!


Alright, friends, today we are finally going to talk about the main attractions of Rome- Palatine Hill and Colosseum! Hooray!

Let me ask you a question, If someone mentioning Rome to you, what is the first image flying through in you head?

yes…. probably you are going to answer Colosseum! that’s an undeniable truth that Colosseum is THE place of Rome, millions tourists come to Rome every year just to see this iconic ruin, and from our Rome trip, I totally have to say it is so true…which also comes pro and cons when you are planning your trip.

I know there is huge population of tourists who claim they don’t plan for the trip, they want to be surprised and be lost or just wander in a new place… I got it, and I agree it does has its own charm to be in that kinda romantic situation… but Rome, however, my honest opinion is only show her best for whoever is well-prepared for the trip. She may be old, but she will keep you busy! So here I am, sharing with you the common questions that I had planning the trip. It took me days to investigate on the internet and some I wasn’t sure of the answer until I visited, but I am here share all I found and our experience to help you!

ROMA PASS booking ticket Colosseum

Q1: How to buy the ticket?

Do not buy it on the spot. It is risky and can feel like pressure

The official website is best, here is the link: to book the ticket, you only need to buy one ticket and it’s valid for three ruins. The website provides different combinations of experience, such as night tour, undergrounds view or arena view, with tour guides or not.

BUT! don’t book it yet when you read what I just said, please read all the questions I listed to help you get full idea about details of booking.

Q2: How much does the ticket cost?

The official website provide the cheapest ticket price  I found through the internet. no matter what kind of combo it listed. 12 to 30 euro.

Q3: How long does it take to see all three ruins?

The official website’s tour time claims about 1-3 hours but here is the tricky part! please read all the conditions it claims, especially is with tour guide or not? we eventually didn’t book with the official website during to planning too late. therefore we booked with other tour agency. it took us to see all of the three ruins about at least 4 hours.

Q4: How about Roma Pass? does it helps to skip the line?

So here is the thing actually took us brainstorming at the night before the visiting day. We did made a reservation with Roma Pass at the very beginning, which comes with an online reservation fee costs 2 euro per ticket. but we ended up not using it, because we changed the plan to see the arena. Roma Pass will help self-efficient tourists (without tour guide) to see the ruins with only basic entrance, if you would like to have a tour guide, Roma Pass will not help on this part at all.

It does helps to let you go to the skip the line at the set time and date. (They are strict about the time schedule, so don’t be late!)

Q5: I just book with the option of Skip the line with Roma Pass, what should I do after?

So you booked on the official website with Roma Pass option, you will immediately get a email of confirmation, print it out and bring it with you. you need to show your ID and confirmation mail at the booking office at one of the three entrances (Palatine Hill or Roman Forum or Colosseum) AND, you are going to get the real ticket of entrance. NOTE: the email is just a confirmation, you have to transfer into a physical ticket to get in.

Q6: So what is the difference of Normal line, Skip the line, Fast Pass line?

yes… this is the thing really painful to understand on the internet, since everyone only go there once probably, so not much info of comparison. But it is for sure the biggest question you are having right now, as our experience goes and my observation. I can confidently say it out loud here.

Normal line is for someone who has not buying ticket in advance. therefore, it may be the longest line you will see, since it also takes longer to process at the booking office, and you have to wait to compensate the other visitors since the security limited visitors is 3000 in Colosseum at a time.

Skip the line – is for someone who had booked online with email confirmation or had got the physical ticket to get in.

Fast Pass line- is visitors who are with tour guide, usually is a group tour or school tour which they have ticket in hands already and a specific set time to get in that will lead you to certain destination your tour combo claim to be. for example, we booked the tour with Arena view, so we enter Colosseum start from Arena first. Hence, they do divide tourists in a way that is fast than the other two.

Q7: Is the Fast Pass line really worth it?

YES! the answer is totally YES! so the waiting time we had at the entrance of Palatine Hill (we are in a group tour) was less than 10 mins in fast Pass line. On the other side  are the skip the line and normal line which is pretty long at 11 am. I will say it’s about 150- 200 people in total, which on the internet people said it’s much shorter than Colosseum entrance usually. And I see the lines moved really slow…

Q8: What will I need to do at the entrance?

Three of the entrances all have security checkpoint. you will need to open your bag and purse, and they will scan your body as well. it’s said the security check at Colosseum even more harsh that will stop visitor entering with big backpack… so I highly suggest you dress up light.

Q9: Is any difference of the entrances?

Samesies: they all have security checkpoint. all have divided lines: normal line, skip the line and Fast Pass line.

Difference: Palatine Hill and Rome Forum will connect to each other. but Colosseum is completely a different space, visitors have to enter Colosseum only via the Colosseum entrance no matter what.

Q10: Is the guide tour to the colosseum worth doing?

I will say yes, actually, which is surprisingly as I am not that kinda group tour traveler. Since we love photography and we usually buy the guide book to guide ourselves, we hate to be led at certain time or certain space, or to worry about the content the tour guide provides, therefore we never go on group tour. But this Rome trip is a very unique case, since it’s way popular than anywhere else we ever seen, we did with guide tour in the end. Colosseum is actually much giant than you thought, with many tourists at the same space, it is really easy to miss key points or just simply don’t understand what the structure means. A certificated tour guide will teach you a lot in a short time.

Q11: I want to see Arena floor by myself, can I?

So here is the thing connected to Q10, special attractions such as Arena, underground views, and Emperor’s box are not allow to self guide tourists but only guide tours. therefore you do really need a tour guide to lead you to there. And please don’t think to hack the system by joining a guide tour randomly, since every entrance had staff checking with the tour guide about how much people in a group and the names, also every tourist in the group will have a special authorized sticker on their clothes

Q12:  How is the tour guide performance?

Well, I have to tell the whole story of how price affects the performance… We booked with a guide tour agency for Arena view. it was a good deal indeed which put us in the fast line at entrance from Palatine hill and Colosseum. but… it set us with a checking time to see Colosseum that we are only allowed to see Palatine hill and Rome forum in two hours… it’s doable for sure, but it’s kinda pretty rush as we are history buffs… I definitely hoped to spend more time to see the ruins, and without much explanation of ruins… However, in the end we were pretty lucky to get a professional and passionate tour guide at Colosseum, we had learned a lot through the guide which I do recommend this agency. I can only find their Facebook no website so far… and we did joined a Spanish tour with a lovely girl (sadly I don’t know her name), overall I recommend it very much!
On the internet there are hundred of tour agencies you can choose from, the only thing I can say is compare agencies, prices, featured, schedule time, and most importantly- Certificated License of the tour guide, it make the difference of your experience a lot!

Q13: Can I see other ruins, eg: Arc of Titus, Arch of Constantine or Temple of Vesta without buying ticket?

No, you just can’t… that’s the fantasy I had at the very beginning since I saw google map shows like there are all in the area but not close to the entrances, I thought I may see some other ruins without crowd as long as I come early. truth is, all the ruins are in Palatine hill and Rome forum, it’s a giant outdoor area that you will walk though all of them.

Q14: How much time in advance should I buy the ticket?

The early the better seriously. since it’s THE place to see in Rome, you are in the battle field  with other tourists at the same time… I checked the official website for guide tours in summer time which is already sold out very fast…and those special features (Arena, or undergrounds) group tour has limited availability, but don’t lose your hope yet, there are other agencies you can always choose, but act fast!

Q15: What is the best time to see the ruins?

Definitely in the low season time… which is Nov. to Mar. we are there on Mar. 29 2019 which is the end of low season, but we still feel it’s a lot of people… it’s hard to image in high season how the crowd will be :O … And please don’t expect to come early to avoid crowd and get your perfect pictures, it just simply hard to make it, since every tourist think the same that come early, it will be LESS people, but not without people.

Q16: Should I try my luck to buy the ticket at the day in the early morning?

sure, you can always try your luck in any circumstance, and if it work out, then good for you! but! but, Colosseum is probably THE place even not history buff tourists will visit, so you are throwing your luck against tourists who bought tickets or in a group tour, which means the odds are pretty risky…you can see Q6 related question.  

Q17: What should I wear and bring to see the ruins?

Please must wear a walkable shoes, sunglass, hat, camera, water bottle, lightweight bag, lightweight jacket and wear breathable cloth. you basically will walk all the area in outdoor open air space. it’s spring time we were there, and it was getting hot under the sun that we needed to apply sunscreen at some points. But about 5 pm we almost finished the Colosseum on the top floor, it get pretty windy, therefore I recommend you bring a jacket.

Q18: How long should I take to see the whole ruins?

It took us at least 4 hours to see them all, but I did feel it’s a little rushed. People said on the internet that if you really like it you should dedicate whole day or two day to really enjoy it, this give your an idea. I do agree really commit a whole day for sure.

Q19: Is here a child-friendly place to go?

I will be very honest with you… not really. since I have a niece now and I start to care about the parent facility features this year. I often look at how a bathroom or steps are friendly enough for kids… unfortunately, these ruins come with difficulty. we did have a family group with baby stroller in our guide tour, and we can feel they kinda struggle at some points… since it’s outdoor, and rough roads (back to the original ancient Rome). It’s still worth to do with family, I know it’s important, but think about it if you don’t want to get fatigue, or exhausted too soon.

Q20: Other things I should do before I go?

Back to the basic friends, REST WELL and EAT WELL before you commit your day at ruins. There are no any vendors of food here, it’s also not allowed to eat inside the ruins. they only provide water fountain you can fill out, soooo…. eat well to prevent hungry bug bite you…

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Alright… I really hope these 20 common questions will help you on planning the trip. This is the main day of visiting Rome I had spent a lot of time tried to figure out budget-friendly and time-wisely to be able to fully enjoy the ruins with my birthday boy. sure you can always throw the money into the problem easily…. but it’s just not how I do as I think myself as self-sufficient, independent traveler. After all, it may be the once in your life time experience to see the ruins, so you definitely don’t want to miss anything!

Good luck my friends, I truly wish you all enjoy the day there, and feel free to ask me question or comment at here. I would love to hear your experience at Palatine Hill, Foro Romano, and Colosseum. Ciao!

To see other attractions of Rome stories and tips, click each name to see the full post:

Day 1
Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain)→ Pantheon & Fontana del Pantheon→ Obelisco Della Minerva (Elephant and Obelisk)→ Church of St. Louis of the French (San Luigi dei Francesi) → Largo di Torre Argentina→ Capitoline Museums

Day 2
Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) Palatine Hill Foro Romano (Roman Forum)→ Colosseum

Day 3
Domus Aurea (Only open on weekend)→ Galleria Borghese→ Piazza del Popolo→ MAXXI museum

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