At the height of its power, the ancient city of Rome was home to millions and the capital of a vast empire, crowded with monumental temples, civic buildings, and villas. Today, visitors can get a sense of the ancient city’s wealth and power by visiting the archaeological ruins covering the Palatine Hill in the center of modern Rome, including the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Temple of Julius Caesar, and Arch of Constantine.
The archaeological ruins of ancient Rome include some of the most iconic sights in Italy, and they’re visited by millions of tourists each year. Long entrance lines are common at the Colosseum and the Roman Forum (especially in summer), so consider booking a guided tour or skip-the-line access in advance. A half-day tour with a small group can cover most of the sites on the Palatine Hill, while a private Colosseum tour offering evening access is an excellent way to enjoy the ancient amphitheater without the crowds. For a unique experience, consider booking a Colosseum underground tour to understand the inner workings of this iconic stadium.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A family-friendly group tour with an expert guide is a great way to make these important sites come alive for kids.
- Most of the archaeological sites and monuments dating from ancient Rome are open air, so be sure to wear a hat and suitable clothing.
- The Colosseum and other Ancient Roman sites are accessible to wheelchairs.
How to Get There
The most famous ruins of Ancient Rome are concentrated on Palatine Hill, and they can be reached from the Colosseo station on Line B of the city’s underground metro system, which also stops at the main Termini train station.
When to Get There
The sights of Ancient Rome are most crowded at midday, so consider scheduling your Rome tour around a visit in the early morning or late afternoon. Summer is the busiest season, when skip-the-line tickets or a private tour guide are essential; the sites are less crowded during winter.
Discovering the Circus Maximus
The newly excavated and restored remains of the Circus Maximus, ancient Rome's largest stadium, offer a fascinating look into Roman life. The site of chariot races and other sports and entertainment for almost 1,000 years, this immense venue could hold up to 150,000 spectators.