A fascinating mix of awe-inspiring ruins, historical monuments, and centuries-old artworks, Rome lives on as a symbol of power and intrigue. Once the epicenter of the ancient Roman Empire, the city today gives visitors a peek into the past. But Rome wasn’t always an immense powerhouse. Like every good story, there’s always a beginning. For Rome - that takes place nowhere other than the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum.
An archaeological complex housing the remnants of grand palaces, ancient temples, and more, the Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, and Circus Maximus are often overshadowed by their (very large) neighbor - the Colosseum. But no tour of ancient Rome is complete without a trip into the empire’s once thriving heart.
Fortunately, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum tickets are included with a Colosseum pass. From what to see and when to visit, to how to plan your day and what tour to take, this ultimate guide will ensure you get the absolute most out of your Palatine Hill and Roman Forum tickets!
Palatine Hill and Roman Forum in a Nutshell
2,000 years ago, Rome’s kings and councils strategized the fate of the empire from within the grand palaces and temples of the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Today, over 6.5 million tourists visit this very same historical complex each year to discover and walk the paths that the ancient Romans once did. With stories of monumental architectural feats, fierce battles, and seductive palace intrigue, each monument tells a tale of its own.. From the tall and unique Temples of Saturn and Vesta, to the mighty arches of Titus and Severus, the ruins of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are majestic testaments to one of the greatest chapters in world history.
Must-see at the Roman Forum
- Temple of Antoninus Pius
- Temple of Castor and Pollux
- Temple of Saturn
- Arch of Septimius Severus
- The Curis
- Temple of Vesta
- House of the Vestals
- Arch of Titus
Must-see at the Palatine Hill
- Flavian Palace
- Stadium of Domitian
- Hut of Romulus
- House of Augustus
- House of Livia
Must-see at the Colosseum
- Underground tunnels
- Upper tier
The Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill are open year round, from 8:30 AM until one hour before sunset.
Via della Salara Vecchia,
5/6, 00186 Roma RM, Italy
Make the Most of Your Roman Forum + Palatine Hill + Colosseum Experience
Skip-the-Line Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and Roman Forum tickets ✪
With over 400,000 visitors a month, entrance lines can take up to 4 hours. Bypass the tedious queue with priority access tickets and make the most of your time!
Skip-the-Line Guided Tour of the Palatine Hill, Roman Forum and Colosseum ✪
Explore one of the world’s most famous archeological complexes with an expert local guide. You'll get priority entrance, and the opportunity to dive much deeper into the intriguing history of ancient Rome.
Quick Jumplinks to Navigate the Guide
- Why Visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- Understanding the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Archaeological Complex
- Planning Your Time at the Roman Forum
- Choosing the right entrance
- Choosing the right path
- Beating the queue during peak hours
- Skipping the lines with priority entry
- Useful Information - timings, how to get there, etc.
- Insider Tips
Why Visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
The ‘once upon a time’ story of the Roman Empire begins right at the Palatine Hill - at the Lupercal, a cave situated at the southwest foot of the hill. Legend has it that the founders of Rome, twin brothers Romulus and Remus, were discovered by a mother wolf at the cave’s entrance when they were just babies. An evil uncle had taken them as babies from their mother, and threw them into the River Tiber to drown. Thankfully, the twins (sons of Mars, the Roman god or war) floated to land. The mother wolf fed and cared for them until they were eventually found by a herdsman, who then looked after the twins until they grew up.
The boys went on to build the mightiest and largest ancient empire, which laid the foundation of the world as we know it. The Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum were at the heart of the machination of this empire, in fact, it’s where all the roads in Rome led to!
A delight for history lovers, the ruins of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill evoke the ancient empire’s impressive narrative - bringing its story to life. The complex’s surviving structures, like the Arch of Severus, Temple of Saturn, Flavian Palace and the Stadium of Domitian, have withstood the ravages of time for over 3,000 years. They stand as a testament to both the architectural and administrative acumen of the Roman Empire, reminding the world of it’s incredible growth from a small city, to a massive empire. Whether it’s history, archaeology, architecture or literature that excites you, this is one site you definitely want to dive in to!
Understanding the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Archaeological Complex
The Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and the Colosseum all together form the most ancient part of Rome. The Palatine Hill is one of the Seven Hills of Rome and was at the center of the Roman Empire. It was prime residential estate with its proximity to the Roman Forum in its southwest, the Colosseum on its southeast, and the Circus Maximus to the north. Its monuments include the Houses of Livia and Augustus, Palace of Domitian, Domus Severiana, and the temples of Cybele and Apollo Palatinus.
The Roman Forum is at the foot of the Palatine Hill; it was built on marshy land between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills. The Roman Forum was the administrative part of the city. It was home to important government buildings, temples, and arenas including Curia Julia, the Temples of Saturn, Vesta, Venus & Roma and Romulus, the arches of Titus, Severus & Maxima, the Atrium Vestae and Regia.
Each area has its own separate entrance, which can be accessed by the main roads of present day Rome. However, visitors can walk directly from the Palatine Hill, down to the Roman Forum, and then straight on to the Colosseum.
Planning Your Time at the Roman Forum
The complete archaeological complex, including the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Colosseum, spans a vast geographical area. The gradient also varies - the Roman Forum and Colosseum are on flat ground, while the Palatine Hill requires visitors to do a bit of uphill walking. Because the area is so large, most tickets have a two-day validity, giving you ample time to see the place properly. Nonetheless, there are definitely a few things you should keep in mind to maximize your experience.
Choosing the right entrance:
It is important to select the right entrance and path for the complex because, although these places are adjacent to each other, they are not freely accessible for entry and exit. The Roman Forum has two entrances, one from within the Palatine Hill area and the other on the main road, Via dei Fori Imperiali. There is an exit gate right near the Colosseum; however, you cannot enter from there. This means that it’s easier to start your tour from the Roman Forum and then head to Colosseum; else you will have to enter from the main entrance on the Via dei Fori Imperiali, which is quite a distance away.
Choosing the right path:
If you're planning to explore all three locations in one day, the best order is to see the Palatine Hill first, then the Roman Forum, and end at the Colosseum. This route is the least physically taxing and provides the best visual impact. The walk downhill is lighter on the knees from the Palatine Hill to the Roman Forum. Also, the view of the Roman Forum and Colosseum from atop is brilliant, giving an exciting sense of what’s to come. Since there is no entry from the Colosseum to the Roman Forum directly, the best option is to go from the Roman Forum to the Colosseum. This provides an apt and grand finale to end the day with - the magnificent Colosseum.
To even further ensure your tour is as effecient as possibe, opting for a guided tour is well worth it. You're guide will know the ins and outs of the complex, making sure you don't miss anything you could otherwise overlook by mistake.
Beating the queue during peak hours
Visitors are enamored by the impressive Colosseum and often wish to start their day first at the amphitheatre and then head to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. However, this strategy comes at a cost. It means waiting in a long entrance queue, as well as additional travel from the Colosseum to the Roman Forum entrance on the Via dei Fori Imperiali. To optimize your time, it’s best to first head to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. Generally, the entrances at both of these sites have little to no line at all. Once inside, explore the areas before the sun peaks, and, when you’re finished, exit at the gate near the Colosseum (this would be after you walk through the Roman Forum). Since you would have already entered the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum areas, you won’t need to wait in the ticketing line at the Colosseum and can, instead, just make your way through the security check for a speedy entrance.
By exploring the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum in the first half of the day you will not only avoid the long queues, but also finish exploring before the mid-day sun is over your head. The entire archaeological complex of Roman Forum and Palatine Hill is outdoors, so weather should definitely be taken into consideration.
Skipping the line with priority entry
It’s no secret that the Colosseum and the Roman Forum are must-visit destinations for visitors touring Rome. As a result, you can always expect a steady flow of people entering each site. So what’s the best way to beat the crowds no matter what time of the day it is? Buy skip-the-line tickets online! This means you can avoid the ticketing queue altogether, which can easily save you from 2-3 hours or tediously waiting in line.
The Palatine Hill and Roman Forum require a lot of walking, so eliminating the extra exertion of waiting in line on a hot day can drastically make your overall experience a more positive one.
Timings and Hours
The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are open year round. The gates are open from 08:30 AM until an hour before sunset.
There are several options to travel from the city center to the Roman Forum. While you can always opt for a cab from wherever you’re staying, expect to pay a pretty penny. Cab fares are not cheap and it’s not uncommon for tourists to get overcharged. Instead, checkout some of the (cheap) public transport options below that’ll get you to the area easily and safely.
Line 51, 75, 81, 673, 175, or 204. Alternatively, you can take tram. #30, which has a stop at the Roman Forum.
Line B “Colosseo”
The metro is perhaps the easiest way to reach the Roman Forum. You can get down at the Colosseo Metro Station on the B Line and then walk to the Roman Forum or Palatine Hill. The metro runs from 5:30 AM to 11:30 PM, Sunday to Thursday, and until 1:30 AM on Friday and Saturday.
If you have reached the Termini train station, the main railway station of Rome, there are two ways you can reach the Roman Forum/Colosseum/Palatine Hill area:
1. Via Metro
If you’re short on time, taking the metro from Termini train station would be your best bet. When you disembark the train, follow the white-on-red M signs towards the metro station. Once there, you'll find ticket vending machines. Get your tickets, proceed to the fare gates, insert your ticket and.you’re good to go. Be sure to take the correct line (line B with blue signs) in the right direction (southwards towards Laurentina). The Colosseum is only two stops away. When you exit the station, you will see the monument directly across the street.
2. Via Foot
If you’re in the mood for a leisurely hike through the charming lanes of Rome, you can walk from the train station to the ruins. The average walking time is 30 minutes, so only go for this option if you have ample time on hand.
The entrance to the Colosseum is on Piazza del Colosseo
The only entrance to the Roman Forum is at Via Fori Imperiali
Palatine Hill can be accessed through Via S. Gregorio.
- Most of the attractions are open air; it can get sunny and hot, especially during the summer months from June to September, so be sure to carry sunscreen and a hat to protect from the sun.
- Rome is a cosmopolitan city and there is no dress code required at any of these three sites. However, we recommend you wear light, comfortable clothes with comfortable walking shoes as there is a lot of walking on this tour.
- Carry a packed lunch or snacks to keep your energy levels up while walking around. There aren’t any food stalls or restaurants inside the historical complex, but there are great restaurants and cafes nearby that you can also break at during your tour.
- Carry a bottle of water and make sure you stay hydrated through the day.
- The views of Rome and the Colosseum from atop the Palatine Hill are the best in the city; don’t miss out on bringing a camera!
- Public toilets are hard to find in Rome; however, the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill have at least one toilet each. Make sure you use one when you spot it.
- The entire complex is free for all visitors on the first Sunday of the month. While this is an opportunity to save money, it makes for very, very crowded experience. If you’ve traveled all the way to Rome, better to not compromise the quality of your experience.