On our last full day in Rome, we visited the Colosseum. Marco purchased tickets in advance which saved us from standing in two lines--ahem, we learned our lesson, clearly--and waiting in the freezing winds. Don't let the sunshine fool you, it was quite chilly.
We took the hop-on/hop-off tour bus, which was about 5km away and were so surprised to see...
...just how massive this place really was (duh, right?). And crowded. All the crowds. For low season, all of Italy was very busy so I can only imagine how crowded it gets come June, July and August.
We admired the views from the outside as we waited in line before getting inside to see and imagine what it must have been like during those times of Gladiators.
Once inside, you can take a self-guided tour of the grounds, on the upper and main levels. You can walk all the way around, read various facts and information about who would fight, when it would take place and why. There were also a couple gift shops where you could purchase memorabilia and books.
The open-concept floor (below) was my favourite. Essentially, they have kept the underground open, safe a small area of the main 'ring' you can walk on. You can see the various hallways and 'rooms' that the Gladiators and behind-the-scenes people would have been using and walking through.
Afterwards, we headed into Palatine Hill, which is lush grounds located directly beside the Colosseum. Our ticket included entrance here, so we took advantage of it to explore. The Hill was huge and there were multiple buildings, hills, various gardens and more to explore and just really take it all in.