If you're looking for the best view of the Colosseum, you almost can't go wrong from any angle.
But there are some spots where you can get a truly stunning view (and photograph!) of Rome's most iconic monument.
One of the great things about the Colosseum is how accessible it is.
You can literally walk right up to it and see it from the outside, day or night, 24 /7.
And the surrounding park makes it easy to get wide-angle shots of the Colosseum from different vantage points on all sides.
But if you're looking for the best view of the Colosseum, whether just to take it all in or for a memorable photograph (or for Instagram!), these are the spots:
I live near the Colosseum and have probably photographed it from just about every angle, in all seasons, and at many different times of day.
So believe me when I tell you I know where to get the best view of the Colosseum.
Not only that, but I am also going to tell you what time of day is best for some of these spots.
Granted, a few of the spots on my list are inside locations you may need to pay to enter.
But there are also plenty of opportunities to get stunning views of the Colosseum for free.
I think of this as the back of the Colosseum, but in fact it's technically the western side of it. (There isn't actually a "back.")
Just behind me is the via Sacra that leads to inside the Roman Forum.
To my right is the Arch of Constantine, as you can see from the below photo:
On the northern side of the Colosseum, more or less above the Metro stop, you have via Nicola Salvi (named for the sculptor who designed, among other things, the Trevi Fountain) and an intersecting street called Via degli Annibaldi (named for a powerful Roman family from the Medieval period.)
From this area, you have several different vantage points from which to get some excellent shots of the Colosseum.
And given the height of these streets, your photo will be more or less straight ahead, allowing for a really good capture of the most complete side of the Colosseum.
This whole northern section has several spots where to get the best view of the Colosseum.
Very specifically, you can get it from Via Vittorino da Feltre:
Or from the little footbridge that crosses the busy Via degli Annibali just below:
And one of my favorite secret views of the Colosseum is this peekaboo spot along the Via del Colosseo towards the end where it meets Via Nicola Salvi:
Not far from the above streets lies a tiny park that for years has been sad and abandoned, the "Giardinetto di Monte Oppio."
Only recently (2021), I found it beautifully landscaped and brought back to life.
You might consider this the best view of the Colosseum because you can capture most of it straight on, with almost nobody around you.
You can easily get to this little overlook if you know about it.
It's just past the little foot bridge that spans the Via degli Annibali I mentioned in the previous section.
Of course I love it any time of day, but it's also a lovely spot at dusk, especially if you want a romantic view of Rome!
To get these views of the Colosseum, you will need to go inside the Roman Forum.
This is part of your Colosseum ticket, so if you have visited the Colosseum, you can visit the Roman Forum, too.
From the Temple of Venus and Roma (recently restored and absolutely stunning and worth a visit by itself!), you can get this perfect view of the Colosseum from the Northwest side, where you can easily see how one side still has its outer wall while the other side does not.
The Roman Forum is worth a visit anyway (and I highly recommend a tour as there is a lot to see and so much history.)
And this view of the Colosseum from here is really unique.
The Roman Forum is next to the Colosseum and part of the Colosseum Park.
From inside the Colosseum you can look out and see the Temple of Venus and Roma.
So that's where you want to be to get this straight-on view I showed you just above.
If you do not plan to visit the Roman Forum, you can still get this shot, which is more or less on the northwestern side, from more or less the same spot but from a much lower angle.
In another example of someplace you'll need to pay to get the best view of the Colosseum, the Luxury Hotel Manfredi boasts unique and frankly spectacular views of the Colosseum.
From their Michelin* star restaurant Aroma on the roof you will have this iconic vista while dining.
From their open-air street-level bar, The Court, you will have this view right in front of you while you enjoy your aperitivo.
If visiting a Michelin star restaurant or very highly-priced hotel bar is not on the cards for you, you can head to one of my favorite secret rooftop spots, the Shamrock Restaurant.
They have a lovely rooftop with fair prices and a peekaboo view of the Colosseum:
Many people pass by the Complesso Vittoriano (Altar of the Fatherland, also nicknamed "the Wedding Cake"), without realizing you can go inside for free.
From the upper level, you can get a beautiful view of the Colosseum.
And if you take the elevator (10€) to the tippy-top, you will be blessed with arguably the best panoramic view in Rome, and an amazing birds' eye view of the Colosseum.
Maybe when you are looking for the best view of the Colosseum, you are thinking about it from the outside.
But if you visit the Colosseum, it's also pretty fascinating on the inside.
Granted, the first time I saw the Colosseum on the inside, I was baffled by the missing floor.
Of course now I know all about it, and in fact, have visited the underground many times (that is another "best view of the Colosseum" but of course it's from an unusual angle.)
In any case, you used to be able to visit some of the upper levels of the Colosseum, all referred to as "Belvedere." (Belvedere comes from Latin for "beautiful view.")
There was the 3rd tier, and not long ago, the 4th and 5th tiers opened very briefly.
The 4th and 5th tiers are currently being restored and we don't yet have a date for their reopening.
The 3rd tier would normally be open but has been closed due to Covid.
Hopefully we can visit at least the 3rd ring again sometime soon.
The Palatine Hill offers many excellent views of the Colosseum.
It's a pretty vast park and there are a lot of different corners where you'll enjoy splendid views of all sorts of things, like Saint Peter's Basilica, the Great Synagogue of Rome, the Circus Maximus, and many different views of the Colosseum.
I am on this corner a lot because it's where I cross the street to walk past the Colosseum to go towards the city center.
Without a doubt my favorite time of day to catch this view of the Colosseum is around sundown.
In 2021, they did a huge landscaping job around the Arch of Constantine.
The result is a beautiful green space with some benches and this lovely walkway that takes you right up over the southern side of the Colosseum.
Granted, this may be the least attractive view, since it's of the half of the Colosseum missing the outer ring, and on top of that, it's also the part that was repaired much more recently so it's kind of jarring to see.
Nonetheless, this is an excellent vantage point from which to view the Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine, and even the Arch of Titus farther along the via Sacra.
The space has been nicely curated and it gives you a clear and complete view of the piazza below.
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