A trip to the Colosseum is an absolute must if you’re visiting Rome, but many tourists end up either being denied entry, blistering their feet, or altogether having a forgettable experience. And no, it’s not because the Colosseum doesn’t live up to expectations – quite the contrary!
It’s because a trip to the Colosseum requires a little bit of pre-planning.
In this guide, we’re going to go over 10 mistakes to avoid when visiting the Colosseum, so you can make the most of your trip and avoid common tourist pit-falls. Let’s take a look!
Forgetting to book tickets in advance
The Colosseum is one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions, which means that it’s always crowded and almost always fully booked for the day. It’s important to remember that you can only enter the Colosseum with approved Colosseum tours and tour guides, so it’s highly recommended to book your tickets online in advance. Not only will this ensure that you gain entry to the site, but it’ll also save you time spent waiting around in long lines.
Not wearing comfortable shoes
It’s easy to forget how much walking you’ll do when visiting the Colosseum, but you’ll be doing a fair bit of it! Not only that, but the grounds of the Colosseum are quite uneven and rocky, so it’s important to wear comfortable shoes that provide good support. Flip-flops are a definite no-no, as are high heels; opt for trainers or hiking boots if you want to make sure your feet don’t get too sore during the day.
Not scheduling enough time
With all the things to see at the Colosseum, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of time to explore everything it has to offer. Many tourists end up skipping incredible sites, such as the Roman Forum, as they don’t programme enough time for sightseeing into their day. This is another reason that pre-booked tickets are a must!
Visiting during high season
If you’re visiting the Colosseum during the high season, you can expect to encounter large crowds and long waiting times – even if you have a pre-booked ticket. One of the easiest ways to avoid the tourist crowd is to visit the Colosseum during quiet periods, such as the winter months. While you can still expect to run into crowds, it won’t be nearly as hectic as during the summer months.
Not bringing a water bottle
Lots of walking + unpredictable Italian weather = dehydration. Make sure to bring a bottle of water with you when visiting the Colosseum, especially if it’s hot out; dehydration can set in quickly with all the walking! Plus, Rome is filled with public water fountains where you can fill up your bottle for free, so it’s a must-have for any sightseeing trip in the Italian capital.
Getting the wrong ticket
When booking your tour tickets for the Colosseum, it’s important to remember to pick a tour that actually interests you; there are different tickets for different sites, such as the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. You can even opt for an audio tour, which is great for those who are interested in learning more about the historical sites while also wanting to explore the site at their own leisure.
Going at the wrong time of day
Just like the high seasons, certain times of day are more crowded than others at the Colosseum. It’s best to avoid visiting during peak hours (between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm), as this is when most tourists flock to the site. Try and visit in the early morning if you want to be one of the first visitors to the famous amphitheater.
Bringing a rolling bag or large rucksack
Getting denied entry to the Colosseum can put a damper on anyone’s holiday, but this can easily be avoided by paying attention to the size of your bag. Due to security concerns, rolling bags, suitcases and large backpacks are strictly prohibited in the Colosseum – make sure you check the size of yours before heading off! If you’re looking to do a quick tour of the Colosseum on the day you leave for the airport, you can easily find somewhere to store your luggage for the duration of your tour.
Bringing prohibited items
Alongside large bags and suitcases, there are also a number of prohibited items that could see you being denied entry to the Colosseum. These include pets, sharp objects (including small scissors), glass bottles, and selfie sticks (yes, really!) You’ll also be unable to enter the Colosseum if you have an aerosol spray with you, so if you’ve been carrying deodorant in your handbag to combat the summer sweats, make sure you’ve disposed of this before trying to enter the site.
Forgetting to use sun protection
In Rome, temperatures can easily soar in the summertime – meaning it’s important to remember to bring sunscreen with you, even if you’re visiting in the Autumn or Winter months. Rome weather can be incredibly unpredictable, and you don’t want to leave your holiday with unsightly, painful sunburn! Apply sunscreen before your visit just in case – you never know when a Rome heatwave might decide to hit.