Colosseum in 3 hours with Forum & Palatine · Routes & Times

Colosseum Archeaological Park

If you want to visit the Colosseum, you should also plan a visit to the archaeological area of ​​the Forums and the Palatine. The Colosseum, Forums and Palatine Hill each take an hour. So plan with three hours to see them all.

You can visit the Park of the Forums and Palatine Hill within the 24 hours before or after the booked time for the Colosseum. We recommend visiting the park right before or after the Colosseum.

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The Forums

The Roman Forum is the oldest forum and belongs to the National Museum of the Colosseum. Later Caesar and his successor emperors built further forums. These imperial forums are part of the museums of the Municipality of Rome.

If the Imperial Forums are open, you can visit them with the ticket for the Colosseum and use a passage to the Roman Forum.

The Palatine Hill

The Palatine is one of the seven hills of Rome and was probably settled 3,000 years ago. Later dignitaries and wealthy citizens lived here and the emperors built their palaces here. There are several interesting viewpoints on the Palatine Hill.

You can find more details in our article Ancient Rome.


There are three entrances to the archaeological park consisting of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. There is also the entrance to the Imperial Forums.

Entrances to the archaeological park of the Colosseum
Entrances to the archaeological park of the Colosseum

Depending on whether you visit the park before or after the Colosseum and what you want to see, you can choose different entrances. The entrances are:

  • Via della Salara Vecchia: Entrance to the Roman Forum
  • Via Sacra: Entrance at the Arch of Titus between the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. This entrance is closest to the Colosseum
  • Via di San Gregorio: entrance to the Palatine Hill

There is also the entrance to the Imperial Forums at Piazza della Madonna di Loreto, right at the beginning of Via dei Fori Imperiali.

Routes and times

Forum Romanum and Palatine Hill are very different. In the area between the Palatine Hill and the Capitol there are many ruins of temples to be seen and the Via Sacra ascends to the Colosseum. On the Palatine Hill are a lot of green, gardens and a lot of shade. You may also spot a rabbit and a chicken coop. On the Palatine are also many beautiful viewpoints in all directions. At one point you can see over the city to St. Peter’s Basilica, at another you can see the Colosseum almost from above and from the Imperial Palaces you can see the Circus Maximus, the Baths of Caracalla and all the way to Via Appia Antica.

As part of the Corona precautionary measures, the administration of the museum park has defined some ways to minimize the risk of infection. However, the park is so large that it is not mandatory to choose one of these trails. The paths start at Via della Salara Vecchia and are a good basis for your planning.

Forum Romanum Way Palazzi imperiali

The route “From the Roman Forum to the Imperial Palaces” – “Dal Foro Romano ai palazzi imperiali” includes a visit to the Palatine Hill and has an estimated duration of 2 hours. We like this route best. There are wonderful viewpoints on the Palatine Hill and you have to be careful not to get lost.

Forum Romanum Way La via Sacra

The route “Hiking on the Via Sacra” – “Passeggiando sulla via Sacra” ends at the Arch of Titus near the Colosseum. The estimated time is 90 minutes. However, you won’t see Palatine Hill on this route.

Forum Romanum Way Origini di Roma

The route “To the origins of Rome” – “Alle origini di Roma” runs along the southern slopes of the Palatine and has an estimated duration of two and a half hours. You have to be athletic for the route because there are many stairs. We prefer to take the Via Sacra to climb the Palatine Hill.

Forum Romanum Way La piazza del Foro

Here you are in the center of ancient Rome. The shortest route is called “The Square of the Roman Forum” – “La Piazza del Foro Romano” and has an estimated duration of 30 minutes. However, the route is completely unsuitable to get to the Colosseum.

What you can see in 3 hours

It is generally worth visiting the park in before the Colosseum. You can stay in the park until you have to show up at the Colosseum 15 minutes before the booked time.

To visit the Roman Forum, take the entrance on Via Salara Vecchia. Unfortunately, sometimes there are quite a few queues at this entrance. In the Roman Forum you can stroll between the various ruins or you can head straight to Via Sacra, which from the left of the entrance leads up to the Arch of Titus. Then you only need around thirty minutes to the exit at the Arch of Titus. There you should be 20 minutes before your booked time for the Colosseum.

Palatine viewpoints

But you can also continue to climb to the Palatine Hill. The Palatine Hill is very large and it’s easy to get lost there. If you want to see the different viewpoints and take photos, it will take more than an hour.

On the satellite photo we have marked some viewpoints in red.

Seven unique places

There is a special ticket for the archaeological sites in the park. They cannot be visited with the normal ticket.

It’s called SUPER – Seven Unique Places to Experience in Rome. The ticket is 48 hours and only valid for the park. Visiting the different sites is a challenge because each has different opening times and only a limited number of visitors are allowed at the same time.

For Rome lovers and culture experts, visiting these sites is actually a unique experience.

The opening times are:

House of Augustus 40 minutes max. 23 visitors
House of Livia 30 minutes max. 23 visitors
Aula Isiaca + Loggia Mattei 15 minutes max. 15 visitors

Winter 9 am -12:30 pm, summer (1st April to 30th September) 9 am -1:30 p, closed on Mondays

Santa Maria Antiqua with Oratory of the 40 Martyrs and Ramp of Domitian 30 minutes max. 60 visitors
Temple of Romulus 15 minutes max. 30 visitors

Winter 1 – 3:30 pm, summer 2:30 – 6:30 pm, closed on Fridays

Emperor Nero’s Domus Transitoria

Winter Friday – Monday 9 am – 5:20 pm, summer Friday – Monday 9 am – 6 pm

Palatine Museum ~ 1h
Criptoportico Neroniano 12 minutes max. 35 visitors

Winter 9 am – 3:30 pm, summer 9 am – 6:30 pm

How to get to the archaeological park

To get to the Colosseum, take the Colosseo metro line B station. Tram line 3 also stops at the Colosseum. It goes in the direction of “Valle Giulia” to San Giovanni and on to the zoo, in the other direction to the pyramid, Testaccio and Trastevere. From St. Peter’s Basilica, take bus 40 or bus 64 to Aracoeli / Piazza Venezia.

The entrance to the Roman Forum is on Via dei Fori Imperiali in the middle between the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia opposite the intersection with Via Cavour. The entrance to the Palatine Hill is on Via di San Gregorio in the middle between the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus.

Eating around the Colosseum

There are few gastronomic highlights around the Colosseum. The top restaurant Aroma with a view of the Colosseum is located in Via Labicana on the top floor of the Hotel Palazzo Manfredi Tripadvisor Rome, In Via di San Giovanni in Laterano you can eat very well at Isidoro and there are also some quite nice restaurants in the side streets. You will find a larger selection if you walk down Via dei Fori Imperiali and then turn right into Via Cavour. Angelino ai Fori is just on the corner. You will certainly find what you are looking for there and in the Monti Quarter beyond. You can also go down Via dei Fori Imperiali to Piazza Venezia and then left to Torre Argentina and left again to the ghetto. There you will find mainly Roman cuisine.

Suggested combinations

After you have rested a little, you can think about how to proceed. The obvious thing to do is to visit the Caelius Hill with the beautiful churches that are located there. Or you can go up the Oppius Hill to the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli and continue towards Monti. Or maybe you’d like to go to the city center to see the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, and to do some shopping.

If you want to see more ruins, you can also go to the Baths of Caracalla. With the bus 118 or with a hop on hop off line you can get to the catacombs on the Via Appia Antica.

You can take buses 40 or 64 from Piazza Venezia to the Vatican.

Via San Giovanni in Laterano

Via di San Giovanni in Laterano starts from the Colosseum. Past the excavations of a gladiator school and the Basilica of the Dominican San Clemente, this small, cozy street with nice bars, restaurants and shops leads to the Basilica of San Giovanni and the Holy Stairs and on to Via Appia Nuova.

Oppius Hill

On the north side of the Colosseum rises the Oppius Hill, in which Emperor Nero’s Domus Aurea is buried. The golden palace can only be visited on weekends because excavations are carried out during the week.

There are picturesque streets on the Oppius. The Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli is a well-known attraction.

If you continue along Viale Monte Oppio, you will come to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.

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