Day three already! This one was not the greatest for me, as I found myself on the brink of sunstroke after being in the oppressive afternoon sun. Queuing and exploring in the baking 35 degree sun got the better of me, but thankfully I managed to gulp down a few bottles of water, eat an emergency hot dog and stayed out of the sun for the rest of the day, and I escaped being seriously ill. It was a slightly concerning few hours, though.
We did a lot when the sun wasn’t quite so intense, including going into the incredibly iconic colosseum. We managed to get in for free, and I’ll explain how you can as well. I also have tips for visiting the Roman Forum, and can recommend a beautiful free sunset spot with a great atmosphere.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy vlog number three in Rome, and read on for my recommendations.
Free colosseum entry
On the first Sunday of every month, the Italian government offer free entry to all state-owned museums to get more people interested in art and culture. Some of the top attractions are located in Rome, including the Colosseum and lots of other museums. Beware, though. These days are very popular with both tourists and locals, so get there early and be prepared to queue.
We arrived at the Colosseo metro stop at around 8.20am. The view immediately outside the metro entrance is actually one of the most iconic, so it’s definitely worth taking a few minutes to let your jaw drop. There were already hundreds of people in a snaking queue outside the ancient ruin – I dread to think how early the first people arrived.
Once we were out of the sun, the queue was very manageable and we were inside just over an hour later. Although entry was free, we decided to share an audio guide which was around five euros. It was well worth it. Although there were only a few stops on the tour, it gave crucial context.
While tour groups do get to skip the long lines outside, they are rushed around the site very quickly, and often in very crowded groups. I would definitely recommend the cheaper audio guide over an official tour.
I have to admit that I don’t remember a huge amount of this part of the day.
Admission was also free thanks to the government initiative, so there was a line of people waiting to enter, standing in the hot early afternoon sun. It was boiling. I was so happy to finally get into shade on the other side. I definitely recommend taking a huge bottle of water here and filling it up whenever you see a water fountain.
Also, an audio guide is probably worth it here. They have lots of different spots to listen to the guide, and little is explained on physical signs, though there are a few dotted around.
The site itself is very interesting as it had been used for so many different functions throughout history. If I visit Rome again, I’ll definitely come here before the sun is too strong so I can properly take in all the information.
After a siesta and dinner, we trekked up the steps at the back of the Piazza del Popolo just in time to see the sun setting. There were lots of other people with the same idea, but it felt surprisingly calm. The steps are quite steep at times – and there are a lot of them – but it’s definitely worth the trek for the panoramic view of the city.
We then found a shortcut through a huge park, which meant we didn’t have to walk down the hill to climb back up it again to reach our hotel. On the way, we saw a gathering of dogs and owners which was rather adorable, and then it was time for another well-earned sleep ready for our final day in Rome.
Stay tuned for the final installment of my holiday diary, coming next Monday.