There is no time to waste during your visit to Rome. Its squares, little streets, colourful facades, terraces... will instantly steal your heart and you will want to enjoy the city for as long as possible.
To organise your trip well and if you are wondering how much time you really need to enjoy the visit to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, I recommend you to read on.
How much time will I need in total to visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum?
Generally speaking, you will need at least half a day to get a good impression of the whole area, visit the Colosseum inside and walk around the Roman Forum.
Of course, you can extend this time if you want to stop to see in detail the archaeological remains of the Roman Forum, walk around the Circus Massimo, stop to take pictures of the whole area, walk around the Colosseum on the outside... Oh, and the views from the stairs of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Oh, and the views from the stairs leading up to the Monti district (you'll find them just above the Colosseo metro stop) will give you a breathtaking view of the Colosseum.
If you haven't bought your tickets to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill in advance, add up to a couple of hours queuing at the ticket office to all the time you need for the visit.
How long does the guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill last?
Guided tours of the Colosseum vary in length depending on what is included in the tour, expect between 1 and 3 hours in total. For example, there is an express guided tour of the Colosseum which lasts 1 hour and is ideal if you are short on time in Rome, but the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill guided tours usually last around 3 hours.
The great thing about these tours is that the tickets they include have priority access, so you can skip the long lines to get into both the Colosseum and the Forum.
There is also an even more comprehensive (and therefore longer) option that combines a visit to the Colosseum with a visit to the Vatican, always accompanied by an expert guide. Both visits take place on the same day and the total duration of the tour is about 6 hours, so you can expect to spend most of the day busy.
How much time should I spend inside the Colosseum if I visit it on my own?
Another option to visit the area on your own is to buy your tickets to the Colosseum on your own (I recommend you always do it online and in advance to ensure availability and skip the queues on the day of your visit).
If you visit the Colosseum on your own, calculate that you will need at least one hour inside, 20 minutes outside and another hour touring the Roman Forum.
In total, you will spend at least 3 hours in the area if you want to leave having seen all the essentials. If you're walking from the centre of Rome, it will probably take you an extra 30 minutes to get here, but the views are definitely worth it.
How long does it take to visit the Arena of the Colosseum?
You can visit the Arena of the Colosseum with a guided tour that includes this part of the tour (please check before booking as not all guided tours include this part of the tour). This stop is usually included in the 3-hour guided tour and will not add extra time to the itinerary.
However, it will give you a different view of the stands, the underground labyrinths and make you feel tiny in front of the immense size of the amphitheatre. From here you will feel as the real gladiators of Ancient Rome felt when they went out to fight.
Although the price of the visit with the arena included is a little higher than the standard visit (taking into account that it is an exclusive space with reduced seating capacity, the difference is understandable), it is totally recommendable!
How much time do I need to visit the Roman Forum?
It will take you at least an hour to tour the Roman Forum, depending on how thorough you want to be with your visit. The Roman Forum Archaeological Park is located next to the Colosseum (you can't miss it, you'll see it straight away) and with your Colosseum tickets you'll be able to enter the paid part of the Roman Forum.
Along the way you will see the archaeological remains of what were once temples, basilicas and meeting places. What will catch your attention (especially because it is very well preserved) is the Arch of Triumph.
If you want the best panoramic views of the Forum, before or after your visit, go to the top of the Piazza del Campidoglio (where the Capitoline Museums are) and look for the viewpoint overlooking the Forum and the Colosseum. Simply spectacular.
How much time do I need to visit the Circo Massimo?
With a capacity of 250,000 people you can imagine that the Circus Massimo is huge. It's about 600 metres long and 250 metres wide, so a full tour can easily take over an hour, but it's worth booking a guided tour of the Circus Maximus.
Unfortunately, little remains of what was once the most coveted track for horse racing in Ancient Rome, so nowadays you'll only see its surface and in my opinion, it's not really worth a full tour.
If you want to go there, see the panoramic view, marvel at its dimensions and come back, you shouldn't need to spend more than 20-30 minutes in total.
How long will it take me to walk along the Via dei Fori Imperiali?
The stretch of Via dei Fori Imperiali that connects Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum in Rome is about one kilometre long and will take you about 12 minutes to walk. The best thing is that on Sundays they close this great avenue to traffic and you can stroll along it at your leisure as you approach the Colosseum.
The views from any point are spectacular, because you also have an elevated view over much of the Roman Forum, which will allow you to take the best photos of the Forum.
At first you will see the Colosseum in the distance and little by little you will get closer and closer and realise the real dimensions of this enormous amphitheatre. On the other hand, you will find some shade under a tree here, but most of the walk is in the sun, so protect yourself from the heat and the sun's rays with sun cream and refreshments if you need them.
How long will it take me to get to the Colosseum from the centre of Rome?
The "tourist" centre of the city is relatively small and although there are hundreds of streets and squares worth a visit, if you want to walk from the city centre, it will take between 20-30 minutes depending on where you are.
If you want to organise your travels well, here is a brief guide on how to get to the Colosseum.