History, Scale, Impact and awe-struck first impressions - few places on earth have the impact on first time visitors, like the nearly 2,000 year old Colosseum in Rome. I remember being awe-struck, a bit gob-smacked, when seeing this monstrous ancient structure for the first time, when I was much younger.
Yet, even now, when seeing the Colosseum, for the umpteenth time, it never ceases to amaze and impress me. How can anyone not be impressed when standing before this mighty and colossal structure, which is such an important and significant piece of our history.
Here are some hints to help you enjoy the Colosseum:
Hint: When visiting the colosseum, note that you are actually buying a ticket for entrance into the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine Hill areas. Thus, do plan to spend some time here in the heart of Ancient Rome, not just the Colosseum grounds alone.
Hint: Wear decent walking shoes as the Colosseum and Forum grounds are not the best you'll find in Rome, lots of uneven surface time that are best walked with appropriate footwear.
Hint: Visit twice during your trip to Rome. First, visit during the day for your sightseeing and return at night when they light up the Colosseum, creating such a superb image against the dark sky. Also, for great distance and wide-angle photos of the Colosseum, go up the road, Via Dei Fori Imperiali a couple hundred meters, there is an upward hill you can walk, with viewpoints over the city. From here you will have some very nice pictures of the entire Collosseum building, which can be a bit difficult to take up close.
Hint: Best to have a guidebook with you and/or an audio guide, explaining what the 'gladiator games and such' that took place in the Colosseum and the Forum grounds. There are not a lot of signs or information once inside so it can be difficult to appreciate or even know exactly what you are looking at.
Overall, the Colosseum should be at the very top of your list of place so to visit in Rome, especially if you are a first time visitor. Hopefully you've time to spend wandering around the Forum grounds and Palatine Hill as well. Collectively, this makes an excellent way to spend 2-4 hours in Rome.