Perhaps Rome's most famous attraction, no trip to the Eternal City can skip a visit to the Coliseum. Large crowds of tourists and street vendors constantly populate the area around the monument, which can get very busy.
Originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Coliseum was commissioned in A.D. 72 by Emperor Vespasian and completed by his son, Titus, in A.D. 80. Vespasian ordered the Coliseum to be built on the site of Nero's palace, to dissociate himself from the hated tyrant. His aim was to gain popularity by staging deadly gladiator combats and wild animal fights for public viewing.
The arena was used for gladiator fights until about 435 and for animal hunts until the early sixth century. On opening day, 9,000 wild animals were killed.
Kids may be intrigued by the newest feature of the Coliseum open to tourists: the underground tunnels and galleries that were such a big part of the blockbuster movie "Gladiator" starring Russell Crowe. If that doesn't excite them, letting your kids pose for a photo with the masked gladiators who entertain the crowds on the outside might do the trick. You may have to negotiate a fee for the picture or at least a tip.
After your feast of ancient Roman history, crowds and traffic, it's time to hop in a cab and head to Villa Borghese, a lush park in the heart of the city. (The cab fare should be approximately 15 euros.)
Piazza del Colosseo
Phone: +39 060608
15.50 euros with discounts for EU residents
You also can buy a ticket at the ticket window on Palatine Hill, normally less crowded, or buy it in advance at www.ticketclic.it/html/musei/colosseo.cfm
Mid-March through August