The Colosseo district is the heart of ancient Rome and the Roman Empire. It has the Colosseum, the Forum, and the Capitoline Museum.

43 things to do

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Known properly as the Flavian Amphitheatre, this most famous of Roman landmarks takes its name from the giant statue of the emperor Nero that once stood near this location. Originally capable of seating some 50,000 spectators for animal fights and gladiatorial combats, the amphitheatre was a project started by the Emperor Vespasian in 72 and completed by his son Domitian sometime in the 80s. The Colosseum when completed measured 48 m high, 188 m in length, and 156 m in width. The wooden arena floor was 86 m by 54 m, and covered by sand.<p>Expect a long queue and an even longer wait. You can skip the queue if you decide to take a tour, but if you don't want a tour, you can STILL skip the queue. If you walk to the entrance for the Roman Forum, you can buy various one or three-day passes which allows you to bypass the queues. You can also buy tickets online. There are lots of people offering tours in English just outside the entrance to the Colosseum. Inside you can take a tour (English, Spanish, or German) every 30 minutes or so for an additional fee of €4.50 per person. The tours are given by knowledgeable archeologists, but they don't take you to any areas you couldn't visit on your own.

The Roman Forum

If stones could talk: these hallowed ruins were the most powerful seat of government in the world. The Forum is much less crowded than the Colosseum and, from a historical perspective, much more interesting. To stand in the political, legal and religious centre of the whole Roman Empire brings shivers down one's spine. It is the best way of imagining the splendour and glory of ancient Rome. Located in a small valley between the Capitoline and Palatine hills, access to the Forum is '''by foot''' only, from an entrance on the Via dei Fori Imperiali. Wheelchair access is available for most of the Forum but be aware that the path is often bumpy due to it containing original stones from the ancient Roman period. The Forum is often less crowded than the neighboring Colosseum, but holds even more history. Tip: It is possible to hire an audioguide for €4 from a small booth just above the Arch of Titus near the Colosseum. These audioguides contain an audio jack meaning that two people can easily share one.

Palazzo dei Conservatori

Also based on a Michelangelo architectural plan, this compact gallery is well endowed in classical sculpture and paintings. Highlights include the small 1st century BC bronze ''Lo Spinario'', a Greek statue of a little boy picking a thorn from his foot; the ''Lupa Capitolina'' (Capitoline Wolf), a rare Etruscan bronze statue probably dating from the 5th century BC; and (in the entrance courtyard), the massive head, hands, foot and kneecap from a colossal statue of Constantine the Great. The palace also contains a Pinacoteca (Picture Gallery) with paintings mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries - highlights include: Caravaggio's Fortune-Teller and his curious John the Baptist; The Holy Family, by Dosso Dossi; Romulus and Remus, by Rubens; and Titian's Baptism of Christ.

SEE   —  Map

Museo Capitolino

Built in the 17th century to a design based on an architectural sketch by Michelangelo. Highlights include the ancient Colossus of Constantine statue (the Colosseum was probably named for another giant statue, the Colossus of Nero which stood near the Flavian Amphitheatre as the Colosseum was originally known), ''The Dying Gaul'', a magnificent marble sculpture that copies a bronze Greek original of the 3rd century BC and the ''Capitoline Venus''. It also contains the remarkable original gilt bronze equestrian statue of emperor Marcus Aurelius (the one in the piazza is a replica).

SEE   —  Map

Arch of Constantine

Located a short walk west of the Colosseum, this well-preserved monumental arch was erected (soon after 315) to commemorate the victory of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, over his rival Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. In general design, the Arch of Constantine imitates the century-earlier Arch of Septimius Severus (nearby in the Forum) - the quality of its sculptural decoration, however, betrays the slow degradation that Classical Roman sculpture had experienced in the 3rd century AD.

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Colle Oppio

This is the attractive park on the hillside directly west of the Colosseum. Visible ruins in the area come from the '''Baths of Trajan'''. These baths were built on the top of the ruins of '''Domus Aurea''' - the Golden House of Nero (the Colosseum was built on the drained site of Nero's lake). The area underneath the park contains an enormous area from Nero's villa. It was restored at great expense in the 1980s and 1990s, opened to the public, and then closed again after a few years when it began to leak!

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Vittorio Emanuele Monument

Built in honour of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy, this vast structure may appear to be solid white marble but actually contains many rooms inside. There are two permanent museums, one on Italian Reunification and one on emigration from Italy, as well as other spaces that host rotating exhibitions. A walk through the Flag Room leads to the tomb of the unknown soldier. Good views from half-way up but you can also pay €7 and take a lift all the way to the top.

SEE   —  Map

Piazza del Campidoglio

On top of the Capitoline hill. The piazza was designed by Michelangelo. The Capitoline Museum is housed in the palaces flanking the piazza. You can walk behind the Palazzo Senatorio, where Rome's government meets, to a wonderful '''viewpoint''' which overlooks the entire Roman Forum. In the centre of the square you can admire an exact copy of the Statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback; the original is kept in one of the two museums, to preserve it from pollution.

SEE   —  Map

Archeo Art

Not far from the bottom of the Campidoglio steps. This shop sells beautiful reproductions of ancient sculptures; not the tacky kitsch sold by many of the street vendors, but museum quality miniatures that look incredibly close to the real things. Not cheap, but definitely unique and classy souvenirs. Also stocks reproductions of ancient Roman arms and armour, including full centurion outfits!

San Pietro in Vincoli

The chains that allegedly held St. Peter are displayed in a case before the altar. More importantly, contains the impressive statue of Moses by Michelangelo. It's close to the Colosseum, but a little hard to find. Take the steps opposite the Colosseum on Via dei Fori Imperiali, cross the road at the top and seek directions. Also reachable through steps to the right leading off Via Cavour.

San Clemente

A great little cathedral to visit, lovingly looked after by Irish Dominicans. There is an excavated older church below the medieval church you enter and a Mithraeum (temple to Mithras, whose cult was very popular with Roman soldiers from the 1st to 4th century A.D.) below that. The only place in Rome to hear the underground river that flows beneath the city.


If touring the ancient sites of Rome is wearing you out and you're dying for an afternoon beer, head to this quiet Irish pub in a little laneway just off the right side of bottom of Via Cavour, which is a busy street that is more or less parallel to the Via dei Fori Imperiali, Mussolini's thoroughfare that links Piazza Venezia with the Colosseum.

DRINK   —  Via del Colosseo 1/c

Sunset Roma Guest House Rome

Via dei Serpenti 97. Cosy guest house of Rome with the following bedrooms: dus, twin, double, triple, suite and a large apartment of 55 square metres with one bedroom, a living room with a sofa bed and a kitchen. All the accommodations present satellite TV, internet wi-fi and private bathroom. The breakfast is included and the rates are €90-150.

SLEEP   —  +39 06 479933 —  Map

Piazza Venezia

More of an enormous traffic circle than a piazza, but a good central location. The centerpiece is the enormous Vittorio Emanuele Monument (aka the Wedding Cake or the Typewriter) with the Capitoline hill next door. Mussolini used to harangue Romans from the first floor balcony of Palazzo Venezia (see under Museums), to the west of the square.

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San Stefano Rotondo

Dating from the 5th Century this is believed to be the largest round church in the world. The national church of Hungary in Rome and dedicated to St. Stephen. Charles Dickens described its wall paintings of martyrdom and butchery as ‘hideous”. A good starting point to visit the attractions of the Celio Hill (see Rome/Aventino-Testaccio)

Trajan's Markets

On the other side of the Via dei Fori Imperiali to the Roman Forum. Well-preserved market area that doubled as a way of stopping the Quirinal Hill from collapsing. Below in the Forum is Trajan's Column, built in 113 with reliefs depicting the Emperor Trajan's vistories in battle.

SEE   —  Via IV Novembre 94

YWCA Foyer

Youth Hostel is four blocks from Termini on the Via C. Balbo. Rooms are spotless, bathrooms are extremely clean, and towels and linens are changed once a day. Internet for €1 per hour. Fridge on every floor. Continental breakfast included in room rate.

SLEEP   —  +39 06 4880460 —  Via C. Balbo 4

Arch of Titus

Built in 81 AD by the emperor Domitianus in dedication to his brother Titus, who died earlier that year and reigned as emperor from 79-81, overseeing the opening of the Colosseum in 80 and the eruption of Mt Vesuvius the previous year.

SEE   —  Map

Cafè Cafè

Cozy and quite cheap, this tea room is very close to the Colosseo, and it's ideal to have nice meeting with friends or a more intimate date. Very good sweets and tea, the choice is also good. Open all day and after dinner.

Palatine Hill

Contains the ruins of several large villas that belonged to wealthy Roman families. You can buy a combined ticket for the Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum and the Colosseum here, avoiding the long lines at the Colosseum.

Angelus B&B Rome

The Angelus is a small and cosy bed and breakfast of Rome with five bedrooms divided in single, twin and triple. All with private bath, shower, internet, TV and telephone. Single €80. Double €120. Breakfast included.

Temple of Julius Caesar

Finished in 29 BC, marks the spot of Caesar's spontaneous cremation and Mark Antony's funeral speech, made famous by Shakespeare in his play ''Julius Caesar'' ("Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears ...").

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Antica Residenza Monti

Short let apartments are available in this guest house in Monti district. It's possible to choose between an apartment with two rooms, and a studio apartment with one room, both are self catering with kitchens.

Torre Colonna Guest House

The Torre Colonna is a guest house hosted in a medieval tower, 100 meters away from Piazza Venezia. The five bedrooms with private bath are divided in double, twin, triple and family.

Musei Capitolini

Admission to both museums €6. The two museums are located on opposite sides of the Piazza del Campidoglio, It is recommended to [ book tickets online]

Enoteca Cavour

Great wine bar with a selection of wines by the glass and hundreds of bottles to choose from. Wooden decor, paper tablecloths and wines stored overhead. Good food too.

DRINK   —  Via Cavour 313

Mamertine Prison

Leaders of Rome's defeated enemies were imprisoned here where they either died of starvation or strangulation. According to legend, St. Peter was imprisoned here.

SEE   —  Map

Hotel Ivanhoe

Cozy two star hotel offering 24 rooms – single, double and triple - hidden in a little side street. Located above the Roman Forums and next the Colosseum.

Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina

Built in 141 AD and dedicated to the empress Faustina; after her husband emperor Antoninus Pius died in 161 AD the temple was rededicated to the couple.

SEE   —  Map


The remains of the ancient Roman archives, where Cicero and Seneca did research. Visible from the Forum and accessible through the Capitoline Museum.

SEE   —  Foro Romano

National Museum of the Palazzo di Venezia

In the very heart of the city center, the building was for centuries ago the seat of the Venice embassy. Today it houses a museum and art galleries.

Pizza Forum

The best lunch spot near the Colosseum, if you like pizza. You will get huge, delicious woodfire oven pizzas starting at about €5 each.

EAT   —  Map

Santa Maria in Aracoeli

Ballroom-like church which crowns part of the Capitoline Hill. Don't be fooled by the plain stone exterior.

Hotel Forum

Grossly overpriced hotel close to the Forum. But it does have a roof garden restaurant with great views!

Hotel Lancelot

Cosy hotel in an interesting area. For a three-day stay or more half-board is offered.

SLEEP   —  Via Capo D'Africa 47

Hotel Adas

This two-star hotel has single, double, triple and quadruple rooms with private bath.

SLEEP   —  +39 06 4741432 —  Via Cavour 233

Sandy Hostel

Inexpensive, friendly and clean, located half way between Termini and the Forum.

SLEEP   —  +39 06 4884585 —  Via Cavour, 136

Hotel Labelle

A family run two star hotel. At the bottom of Via Cavour, close to the Forum.

SLEEP   —  +39 06 6794750 —  Via Cavour, 310

Hotel Richmond

A three-star hotel with single, double, triple, quadruple rooms, and suites.

Basilica Aemilia

Completed in 179 BC.

SEE   —  Map

Il Gelatone

Ice cream.

EAT   —  Via dei Serpenti 28

La Dolce Vita

Ice cream.

EAT   —  Via Cavour 306

Source: wikivoyage