When In Rome: The Colosseum, Palentine Hill & Roman Forum

palentine hill

You cannot go to Rome and not go to the Colosseum. I think it’s a travel law. Here is our experience and a few tips to make your ancient Roman experience just as nice as ours!

What I didn’t realize until a few days before we went is that a ticket to the Colosseum also gives you entry to the Roman Forum and the Palentine Hill, and you can do all three in one day. All three are located in the same archeological area.

If you’re like me, you may not have even heard of these other two spots. Either we are normal or super uneducated. Just roll with it. That’s what we do. Roll with it and rock it.


**When in Rome, the best way is to see all this is to start at the Palentine Hill, move on to the Roman Forum, and then use the Roman Forum’s exit gate which leads you to the Colosseum. Not only is this the best way to walk less, you also save significant time by buying your ticket at the Palentine Hill where there are no lines instead of the Colosseum with hour-long lines.**

The Palentine Hill: Quick & Interesting Facts

  • The Palentine Hill is supposedly where Remus and Romulus were saved by the she-wolf. According to the legend, Romulus came back to build a city on that very hill.
  • This was the home to the rich and famous of Rome.

We didn’t take a tour, nor did we read much about these sites before we went. We relied on our eyes to see what surrounded us as well as the plaques that offer great historical information. We like to be free birds as much as possible and not get tied to a tour group. At no point were we disappointed with this choice.

We roamed and roamed (get it? When in Rome… roam.). Trust me, there is SO MUCH LAND FOR ROAMING. We felt like we got a workout in while beefing up our historical prowess.

palentine hill when in rome

roman forum

There’s a really nice museum at the Palentine Hill full of art and artifacts. Not only was it interesting, but it was also a nice air-conditioned step away from the heat of summer Rome.

palentine hill

The Roman Forum: Quick & Interesting Facts

  • This sprawl of ruins used to be a grand spot of temples, hang out spots, and living quarters starting in the 7th century BC.
  • The Roman Forum wasn’t discovered until excavations in the early 1800s, and the process took over 100 years.

roman forum

Beautiful ruins after beautiful ruins after beautiful ruins. That’s the Roman Forum.

when in rome

The Colosseum: Quick and Interesing Facts

  • The Colosseum was completed in 80 AD. It was a 10-year project.
  • 36 trap doors provided old school special effects.
  • The Colosseum held approximately 50,000 spectators.
  • As a sign in the Colosseum explains, the idea of this amphitheater being a place of Christian martyrdom isn’t actually verified at all. Nonetheless, it was a gruesome killing house.
  • It opens to the public at 9am and closes one hour before sunset.
  • Admission is 12€ (again, this also includes the Roman Forum and the Palentine Hill). This is unlike ancient times, when admission was entirely free!
  • The lines are exceedingly long. It is best to buy your ticket at either the Palentine Hill or Roman Forum and hit up the Colosseum last. This way you will only have to wait through the entry line, not the purchasing line.

The truth is when you walk into the Colosseum, you are standing in a beautiful, stunning, awe-inspiring structure…. built by 60,000 slaves and used to murder around 500,000 people and one million animals. It’s a mixed feeling sort of place, as you can imagine.

By the time we made it to the Colosseum, the sun was hot, and we were thrilled that we had already purchased the ticket. We still ended up waiting about a half hour to get in, but the wait was well worth it.

the colosseum

The first thing we noticed was how much smaller it felt in real life compared the visions you get from watching The Gladiator. That did not take away from the feelings of awe. This is an incredible and brilliant feat of architecture.

the colosseum

You are able to see the Colosseum from two different heights. You can go underneath for more money, which we opted not to do (after all, we do travel on a budget). We didn’t feel like we missed out. There were hoards of tourists. You could think of it as frustrating, but considering the Colosseum held 50,000 people, it’s honestly a more authentic experience.

In the shaded walkway areas, they have artifacts, diagrams, and informational signs. They were all extremely interesting and informative. Since we chose to go guide-free, so all this information helped us feel more knowledgeable while we were exploring.

the colosseum

Overall, we spent a little under an hour roaming and taking photos in the Colosseum. It was truly an incredible experienced we enjoyed. It’s always humbling to stand in such ancient history.

when in rome

When In Rome: The Pantheon

the pantheon

On our Rome sightseeing bucket list was the Pantheon. Though not nearly as exciting and/or overwhelming as some of the other sights we have seen (including the incredible Vatican), it was still a wonderful experience. The weather was beautiful and the sky was overcast; we had a lovely adventure!


The Pantheon: Quick & Interesting Facts:

  • Entrance to The Pantheon is free!
  • The first Pantheon was said to be built in 27 BC. It burned in the great fire of 80 AD. Then it was rebuilt and burned again in 110 AD. Then it was rebuilt in 120 AD. Talk about determination.
  • The Corinthian columns weigh 60 tons each.
  • The Pantheon was originally created for all the Roman gods. Later on it was converted into a Christian house of worship.
  • There is a real Egyptian Pharaoh’s obelisk in front of the Pantheon.

pantheonMy sexy man. 

We took a 30 minute stroll from our apartment in Trastevere to the Pantheon. At least, it was supposed to be 30 minutes. We got distracted by cappuccinos. Can you blame us? Then we got distracted by a delicious gluten-free pastry shop. But you know what they say… “when in Rome, eat and drink until you’re a glutton!”

room gluten-free foodThis, my friends, is called a foodgasm.

We finally made our way to the Pantheon and were super happy that the admission was free. The outside structure was seriously impressive. It’s humbling to stand next to such large buildings that have stood the test of time. We were both in awe and did lots of “wide-eyed amazement” stares.


The inside was equally gorgeous. You could opt to buy an audio guide headset, but since it is such a small building, we decided to rely on our eyes and the information signs. I’m perfectly satisfied with that experience and would recommend it.


The whole visit took us about a half hour. The Pantheon is located nearby to both the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain if you want to catch a few sites in one morning.


Attempting to get a cool selfie without people in awkward positions behind us was quite the challenge in the busy Pantheon. I’m pretty sure this was photo attempt #241.

Rome Apartment Tour (New Video!)

rome apartment tour

We found the best little apartment in Rome (Trastevere) on Airbnb, and we wanted to show it to you! Take a sneak peak of our European bathroom, kitchenette, and living room that transforms into our bedroom in our Rome Apartment Tour video.

Bonus: around minute 4, I lose all my cool. That’s the real Taylor for ya!

We highly recommend Airbnb to any travelers. In fact, I have an entire Airbnb 101 post up that you can read HERE. I also have an offer for my lovely blog readers! Using the link below, you can sign up with Airbnb and receive $25 off your first booking.

$25 Airbnb Credit

We honestly couldn’t be happier with our time in Italy so far. It has surpassed all expectations and I am sure I’m going to cry when we leave. This week we head to Florence for a few days (yay!), so look out for those blog posts coming soon.

Love & Hugs,

Taylorrome apartment