What are the best things to do around the Colosseum?
In order to make the most out of your time in Rome, it helps to plan your day according to the area of town you will be exploring. Here is a list of the top 5 things to do near the Colosseum:
Explore the underground levels of San Clemente. Don’t let the unassuming exterior fool you, the basilica of San Clemente is one of Rome’s most unique and interesting churches. The 12th century church is filled with intricate marble floors, frescoed ceilings and a golden mosaic apse...but it is what lies beneath that truly draws visitors in. Purchase your ticket and descend down into the layers of Roman history as you visit a 4th century church, a 3rd century pagan temple and the remains of a 1st century residence. The fountain-like sounds from the Cloaca Maxima, Rome’s ancient sewer system, add to the cool, damp atmosphere of these underground treasures.
ADDRESS: Via Labicana 95 (entrance opposite side on Via S. Giovanni in Laterano)
OPENING HOURS: 09:00-12:30 & 15:00-18:00 (M-SAT); 12:15-18:00 SUN. Last entrance to underground 30min prior to closing time.
PLEASE NOTE: the same rules for modest attire apply to all churches in Rome. Knees and shoulders must be covered.
Take a tour of Nero’s Golden House, the Domus Aurea. Don a hard hat and take a tour of the sumptuous pleasure palace of the infamous Nero. New innovative multimedia experiences in the Domus Aurea allow visitors to envision the exaggerated opulence of this once-massive area. An archaeologist accompanies small groups throughout the site and includes an impressive video presentation as well as a virtual experience. The site is only open on weekends and tickets must be purchased in advance.
ADDRESS: Via Della Domus Aurea (in the Oppio Park at the start of Via Labicana)
OPENING HOURS: SAT & SUN ONLY
PRICE: €16.00 including reservation fees
Have a picnic in Villa Celimontana. Just a few minutes walk from the Colosseum is the Villa Celimontana. These lovely grounds are filled with benches, pathways, trees and grassy areas...the perfect place to escape the crowds and heat of the city. Take Via Claudia from the back of the Colosseum (near the Tram #3 stop). Before heading up the road, make a quick stop at either Carrefour (Via Santi Quattro) or Tuodi (Via Annia, 20) and pick up picnic supplies.
ADDRESS: Via Della Navicella, Piazza SS. Giovanni e Paolo
OPENING HOURS: 07:00 until dusk
Explore 13th century frescoes in Santissimi Quattro Coronati. The church of the Four Crowned Saints is truly one of Rome’s hidden gems that sits atop the Celian Hill just a few minutes’ walk from the Colosseum. Look for the sign indicating the Chapel of San Silvestro, once inside the entryway you must ring the buzzer and wait for one of the nuns to buzz you into the chapel. It is a small and intimate space filled with beautifully preserved frescoes that depict the conversion of the emperor Constantine by the Sylvester. The rest of the church grounds are beautifully tranquil and worth a visit.
ADDRESS: Via Dei Santi Quattro 20
CHAPEL OPENING HOURS: 09:30-12:00 & 16:30-18:00 MON-SAT; 09:00-10:40 & 16:00-17:45 SUN
PRICE: Church is free, Chapel of S. Silvestro €1/person
Check out the view from the Knight’s of Malta keyhole. While the Priory of the Knights of Malta is a good 20-30 minute walk from the Colosseum, the route includes some worthwhile sites to visit along the way. Walk down Via di San Gregorio, past the entrance to the Palatine Hill, and you will come upon the Circus Maximus, the site of chariot races in ancient Rome. Across the circus lies the Aventine Hill, cut through the rose garden and continue straight up the hill. The Basilica of Santa Saba will be on your right, enter into the adjacent Giardini degli Aranci to get a sweeping panoramic view of Rome. Then head back to the road and continue on to the Priory of the Knights of Malta. Take a peek through the green door’s keyhole to capture an amazing view of St. Peter’s Dome.
ADDRESS: Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta 3
OPENING HOURS: Always open.