The Colosseum is one of the seven wonders of the world and once you’re inside, it’s not hard to see why. We had an hour to look around and honestly, the time went quicker than I thought. On the ground and upper floors, there are some exhibition cases of artefacts and more information on the site’s history. But for me, all I cared about was getting to the top floor where you can walk around the structure and get a feel for what it would have been like watching the gladiators centuries ago.
The Colosseum is the top of everyone’s list when visiting Rome. But not everyone will tell you that you should 100% book a fast-track ticket to avoid the queues. I booked mine through TripAdvisor, however, I probably paid over the odds, as I did it the evening before we planned to visit. So do your research well in advance.
Our fast-track ticket ended up being a group, self-guided tour which allows you and others an allocated time slot to enter the Colosseum and look around. You’ll also have to meet your group somewhere outside and not at the front entrance as the Colosseum employees were quite rude and very unhelpful when I asked where I needed to meet my tour group. That could have just been a one-off but I suspect they were fed up with people asking where to meet third party operators that are not affiliated with the Colloseum’s tours.
2. Fontana Di Trevi
A beautiful baroque style fountain made from Travertine stone with crystal clear water. As the fountain is situated where three roads meet and is in the heart of the tourist district, it was busy pretty much all day. There’s also not a lot of room around the fountain once the tourists stack up at the front, so it can be difficult to get a decent photo without anyone else in it.
However, we were drinking at an amazing rooftop bar pretty much above the fountain at around 11pm and it wasn’t horrendously busy then. Plus, you get beautiful panoramic views from this garden terrace so I highly recommend heading here. Drinks were a little pricey but the views are worth it! Also, whilst we were there, someone proposed by the fountain which was super cute.
3. Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary
This is both an ancient temple ruin and a cat sanctuary. In fact, this sanctuary recently went viral because of that Google virtual tour where the camera turns to the right and there’s a cat looking at you (I’m sure you know the one). Anyway, this combined both my love of ancient ruins and cats, so I had to go.
These temple ruins were discovered in 1929 as part of Mussolini’s rebuilding efforts and lie 20 feet below street level. Torre Argentina was also the location where Julius Caesar was killed in 44 BCE. With links to an Emporer, naturally the cats felt it was good enough for them, so they have claimed the ruins as their home and they are free to roam the grounds.
The sanctuary is free entry and you get to go in and stroke some really chill cats. Kittens and adult cats can also be seen recuperating in cages as the city does a necessary service to capture and neuter strays. You can then adopt if these cats/kittens once they’re better.
You can make donations there, or buy t-shirts or bags to help fund their good efforts. *You cannot take the cats – as much as I wanted to – you cannot*
The Pantheon is a former Roman temple and now a church. The dome (best viewed from inside) is a must-see and is actually the world’s largest structure that isn’t reinforced by concrete.
When we arrived in the morning there were hordes of people at the front queuing, but, by midday, the queues had passed and we were able to pass through quickly. It’s free entry as well, btw.
Even if you’re not religious, you will appreciate the architecture, paintings and sculpture.
5. Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
The forum and palatine hill are part of the ancient city of Rome – a must-see if you are into ruins and ancient history.
Walking up and around Palatine Hill will give you some of the best views over the city and the ancient Forum. You’ll also see the House of Augustus, home to Caesar Augustus during his reign, The Temple of Romulus, Arch of Titus and several tall pillars from the forum that are still standing.
Your ticket to the Colosseum SHOULD include entry to both of these attractions (if bought from a genuine company) so you shouldn’t have to buy separate tickets.
I recommend spending a good couple of hours strolling around the forum as there’s lots to see across quite a large amount of ground. Make sure you bring sunscreen as ancient Rome doesn’t seem to throw a lot of shade. Try cowering in the direct shadow line of an ancient pillar – it provides minimal shade!
If you’re considering another city break, take a look at my recommendations for Prague.