What did I love in Colosseum?
Architecture of course. From secret tunnels to underground chambers and seating aisles to main arena, this is the heart of the modern day architecture. It is hard to believe that this arena is once filled with water to demonstrate the naval battles and will be emptied almost immediately for the gladiator battles. On an average, this amphitheater hold 65000 visitors and it only take few minutes to seat all of them using 80 gates around the structure, thus the today’s stadiums arise. Though the history behind it is depressing, thousands of people visit every day to appreciate the architecture of this wonder of the world.
Did Colosseum meet my expectations?
Absolutely yes. More than that actually. I am astonished by the details of the building. Like any ancient construction, it is hard to understand how those people pulled off such a structure using giant rocks. And the arena is mind blowing. All the underground chambers for the gladiators and animals, to come up the stage in no time and hydraulic system to mock naval battles is beyond genius. No wonder this building is an example to modern day stadium structures.
How did local people treat?
Everyone who I interacted treated like family. Firstly, my Airbnb host who cared so much that she even packed snacks for me to eat while I am in town. And then the girl who missed her bus just to help me in a language I don’t even speak. Next, my tour guide who shared brilliant experiences and gave very good recommendations. Lastly, bartender at Irish Shamrock Pub told his alien experience which made me love Rome even more. At night, it got little scary at some Piazzas with youth partying but if stayed on path, there shouldn’t be any issues.
Read more about those experiences here : All Roads Lead to Rome
What are the food options around Colosseum?
There aren’t too many classic options just around Colosseum but along the Via degli Annibaldi that leads to Trevi Fountain and around it, there are several of them. Especially, roasted chestnuts – Caldarroste at roadside stall and Pane e Salame sandwich shop are my favorites. Gelato at Giolitti around Pantheon also cannot be missed.
How to reach Colosseum?
Public transportation is the most convenient option. From all around the city, public transport buses run 24 hours a day making them the cheapest and the best. I purchased my pass at Termini Station upon arriving in train from Pisa. The passes range from 100 minute to weekly, with 100 minute most feasible for tourists. This pass did not work from airport transportation, other than that, it works in trams, buses and Metros. There is a metro station just right under Colosseum and buses from various routes drop just around the corner.
Where did I stay?
I stayed in Airbnb about 15 min from Colosseum. This place is suitable for solo travelers, more than the place, the host is more than awesome. She cares and pack snacks for the travels. It is for this local experience, I prefer Airbnbs. There are luxury hotels like Hotel Hassler and best hostel like Generator Rome. Centro Storico is the neighborhood to stay around the tourist places but Testaccio is the coolest.
What and where to shop?
Of course, Italy is known for its fashion and it can’t get any better than Via del Corso. From upscale shops at Spanish Steps to cheap stores spread along, this is one street that cannot be missed. Trastevere has classic stores for perfumes like RomaStore Profumi and other antique stores. Monti is the other neighborhood that can be explored for independent designer shops in classic narrow alleys.
Is it worth all the money and time?
There is a reason why Rome is classified as one of a kind of destination. It truly got something for everyone and then there is Colosseum along with several Roman structures that cannot be missed. They are all definitely worth it and it is not a super expensive trip. It is easy to reach Rome as there are several cheap flights from all around Europe and also trains are comfortable with time and money. There is a reason for “All Roads Lead to Rome”.
Any tips for first time visitors?
Rome is a city where fun doesn’t end ever. Just have to keep few things in mind to have a safe and pleasant trip –
- It is very much recommended to learn few Italian words as local people do not speak much English. It is a surprise for me and Google Translate did help a lot. per favore – Please; grazie – Thanks; Scusi – Excuse Me; Uscita – Exit; Aperto – Open; Chiuso – Closed; Ciao – Informal Hi/Bye.
- Lines at Colosseum can be huge and it is advisable to book tickets in advance online. There are various options to choose from and check them all here. And there are special entrances for group tours, like Stern Entrance which gives the panoramic view of Colosseum but eligible to enter via group tours. Also the underground level and top floor are also for group tours. If you don’t like to book in advance, you can still go and for few extra euros, book a group tour on site discussing all the options with private companies.
- Usually Colosseum ticket does come with free entrance to Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, these places are not to be missed as they got great information and views.
- Colosseum is also available to visit at nights, if interested plan accordingly.
- It is now illegal to eat food in some public Piazzas. Also we cannot sit at Spanish Steps anymore, so look for signs and avoid fines.
- Water is not served at many restaurants for free, so be prepared to spend money or BYOB. There are drinking outlets around Colosseum.
- Use of public transportation is recommended as it is cheap and best. And also it is comfortable to reach Colosseum as there are Metro train stations and bus stations just next to it.
Will I do it again?
Not really for Colosseum. It is really worth the hype and have visited twice in three days. And now there are so many other places in Italy especially the coast which I would love to explore.