Go early to avoid the massive queues.
Unique Suggestions: When you see Rome on tv or in films you always see the Collaseum. Like the Eifel Tower in France or the Taj Mahal in India. So you should visit it whilst in Rome just so you can point and say 'been there' .
Fun Alternatives: No alternative. Just go and have a look-see.
Large crowds and long waiting time. Watch for pickpockets in the crowds.
Unique Suggestions: If you are a pensioner, remember to take your passport with you to the pay box as its FREE entrance for pensioners. Show the passport to get this. Saves a goodly amount. This also applies to Ostia Antica just outside Rome.
Around the Colosseum there are plenty of vendors selling everything from the usual tourist stuff to water, gelato and things to drink. I actually saw a woman pay 2 euro for a CAN of soda and the same for a small bottle of water.
Unique Suggestions: Bring your own. The new thing now is to bring a backpack so that it's not cumbersome and stock it with bottled water, tissues and hand sanitizer. Believe me if you have to use a public toilet you'll thank me.
Fun Alternatives: Walk ten to 15 minutes away and buy what you need there. The prices will be much more reasonable or find a supermercati which is where the locals shop and their prices will be normal.
Walking outside the colosseum will present a number of challenges. The most common is being approached by touts wanting you to join a tour. "Excuse me. Do you speak English?" They'll then draw you in, take your cash, but you'll have to hang around until they get their quota. Fair enough if you're prepared to wait - and no doubt it could be educational.
There are also plenty of centurians around who will encourage you to have a photograph with them. No problem...but they will expect a Euro or two afterwards, depending on how many were in your shot.
Also look out for the book-sellers. The most common (and they all sell the same thing) is a booklet which shows pictures of ancient Rome, which can be overlaid with the contempary landscape. It comes with a DVD, the contents of which are the same as the book. These people are very persuasive - so expect to part with £10 for this. It may be possible to negotiate the price by a euro or two - but don't bank on it!
Unique Suggestions: When being approached by the tour touts say: "I'm sorry, but I don't speak English!" this will bemuse them sufficiently so you can walk on past -much better than telling them to "clear off" in the language of your choice!
As for the centurians - well, they are part of the experience. Just take it easy with how many you want to be photographed with.
Fun Alternatives: As I said earlier, everyone has to earn a crust, and these scams have a formula the world over. But the Romans are very adept at getting you to part from your cash quickly. If you get the chance, stake the places out first. e.g. get on a hop on/hop off tour bus. They're one of the few good values for money. This will give you a general overview of the places you would like to spend more time in. Most historic places are easily within walking distance - so take your time.....and get a trilby!
If you visit Rome and go straight to the Colosseum as many tourist do, you will end up waiting in a really long queue before actually getting to see the interior.
The tickets to the Palatine are also valid for the Colosseum, so make sure that you go there first. The queue is also much shorter and when you return to the Colosseum, you will not have to wait to buy a ticket as there is a separate entrance for those already having a ticket, so that way you will have a great remembrance of the place.
... just buy the ticket at the Palatinum entrance.
The ticket for Coliseum and Palatinum is the same so you can buy it at the Palatinum and then visit also the Coliseum avoiding the row at the Coliseum ticket office.
if you plan to see the colosseo, the queue is usually very long. but here's the trick: the ticket is for both the colosseo and the palatino hill (right by the colosseo) and it is sold both at the entrance of the colosseo and at the entrance of the palatino (the two are about 200 yards apart). the difference is that few people know and there is no queue at the palatino entrance.
so, my suggestion is that you buy the ticket at the palatino entrance, visit the palatino if you want (a nice quiet walk trough the ruins of the imperial palace) and then go to the colosseo and skip the long queue with your ticket.
Ok, I think everything about the colosseum is really touristy, and paying the eight euro to see inside really isn't worth it. I personally think the best way to see the colosseum is to take the subway there, because when you get out of the subway, there it is, residing over everything. I just thought walking out of a blatently 21st century institution and seeing a massive piece of history was really cool. Of course, if you've started at the monument for Vittorio Emmanuelle, and you just walk over, it's like, there it is. Wow, it's getting closer. Oh, here it comes. Now we're there. And stay away from the gladiators. One licked my boob.
When you visit the Colloseum there will probably be what seems to be a long queue to get in. When you join it, some people (usually women) will offer you the chance of a guided tour and the chance to by-pass the queue. Now they will give you a guided tour and they do know what they're talking about, however you have to wait until they have 60 or so people by which time you'd probably have been inside if you had queued and they do charge about 10 euros more than the asking price. My friends and I estimated that they make about 600 euros per 40 minute tour. No need to be a math genius there.
Better to queue and buy a guide book also avoids having to wander about with a load of whining children in tow.