You should skip one of the most famous landmarks of the city, one of the most famous buildings in the world: The Roman Colosseum.
Yes, yes you should still go outside and get pictures while admiring the circular, arched beauty of the decaying structure. But you should skip going inside the Colosseum.
1. You’ll be exhausted after the Roman Forum
One ticket gets you into both the Roman Forum (Foro Romano) and the Colosseum. I started with the Roman Forum because the ticket line is shorter. After walking around under the beating sun and climbing staircases to the viewpoint, I was exhausted and hot. The prospect of waiting to then get into the Colosseum afterwards was tiresome. The whole trip would take about four hours if you did both at the same time, which (if you go inside the Colosseum) you probably have to do at the same time, in order to save time and transportation to get down to the site.
2. It’s still beautiful from the outside
The Roman Forum was more impressive to walk around inside than the Colosseum was — probably the biggest surprise from my trip to Rome. Pictures of the Forum may not look interesting (hey it’s a pile of rocks) but in person you can feel the history and huge scale of the ancient Romans, especially from the panoramic view at the top overlooking the ruins of a 2,000 year old city. The Colosseum, on the other hand, is more awe-some from the outside. It’s round and recognizable. But inside, much of the decor, floor of the arena and bleacher seating is gone, leaving a shell. The Colosseum is one monument where seeing it from the outside can do it justice, in my opinion. Especially if it would’ve saved us 12 euros each, and that’s without a guided tour that people were offering for 15 more per person.
3. The line to get in
That line. First I should explain that the first time I went, we went to the Forum and then realized the Colosseum was closed at 6:15 p.m. and we missed it by a minute. When we returned Sunday, we took the bus down, walked a mile and bought our ticket at a secret entrance so there wasn’t a line. However, from there we walked to the Colosseum, and had to get in line for those who had tickets. That was an hour wait — even though we had a ticket. The line to buy a ticket at the Colosseum was even longer.
Since it’s July, it was above 90 degrees F every day here. Luckily there were some clouds when I was in line, but normally the sun would be burning the attendees alive.
All in all, I am glad that I could say I went to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. But I’m not doing the former again. Sore feet, sunburns, time lost and an empty wallet are only some of the drawbacks.