Where to Find the Best View of the Colosseum in Rome

If you're looking for the best view of the Colosseum, you almost can't go wrong from any angle. 

rome colosseum with sunsetOne of my favorite ways to see and photograph the Rome Colosseum is with a stunning sunset.

But there are some spots where you can get a truly stunning view (and photograph!) of Rome's most iconic monument.

Best View of the Colosseum - from above and below!

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.

walking right by the colosseumI walk past the Colosseum several times a week and one thing that never ceases to amaze me is how easy it is to just walk right up to it and see it up close and personal even from the outside.

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:

Best view of the Colosseum - when and where

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.

Via Sacra /Arch of Constantine

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.")

western end of colosseum at sunriseI took this shot of the western side of the Colosseum at sunrise. The sun is rising in front of me, which makes for a beautiful glow on the Colosseum as long as you get there early enough as I did here.

Just behind me is the via Sacra that leads to inside the Roman Forum.

blue hour at the colosseumAs I mentioned, I have pix of the Colosseum from just about every angle and also at different times of day. Of course one of the best times to photograph any Rome monument is the "blue hour".

To my right is the Arch of Constantine, as you can see from the below photo:

This strategic spot between the Colosseum, the Arch of Constantine, and the Via Sacra is one place to get the best view of the Colosseum at a very wide angle.

Via Nicola Salvi / Via degli Annibali

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.

Colosseum with seagullI always love this angle of the Colosseum from the intersection of via Nicola Salvi and via degli Annibali. You can also see part of the Roman Forum to the right.

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.

Colosseum from northern sideThis photo is on via Nicola Salvi and the intersecting street Viale di Terme di Tito, where I could stand back a bit and get a wider capture.

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:

beautiful view of colosseum from north side.You can get the best view of the Colosseum on its more complete side when you come to these streets around via Nicola Salvi and via degli Annibali. I love it here at dusk right when the Colosseum lights come on.

Or from the little footbridge that crosses the busy Via degli Annibali just below:

colosseum from north sideGranted, from this bridge you may have some cars in your way, but it's still a nice place to get a beautiful view and photo of the Colosseum.

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:

colosseum peekabooIt's such a treat to walk along via del Colosseo and come to the Colosseum like this, especially at the golden hour when the sun is kissing it.

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Colle Oppio Park - Giadinetto di Monte Oppio

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.

colosseum view from parkThis little park just above the pedestrian footbridge that crosses via degli Annibali is one of my favorite "secret spots" for getting a fantastic view of the Colosseum's best side.

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!

colosseum at duskDusk is one of the best times to photograph the Colosseum as it's right after the lights have come on but before the sun sets, making for a dramatic panorama.

Temple of Venus and Roma

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.

view of colosseum from temple of venus and romaThis strategic spot smack in front of the temple of Venus and Roma inside the Roman Forum gives you arguably the best view of the Colosseum that allows you to see its two sides - one with and one without the outer wall.

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.

colosseum view from Roman ForumOn your way to the Temple of Venus and Roma inside the Roman Forum, you will start to see the Colosseum looming up before you.

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.

guide to where to stand in roman forum for this view

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.

view of colosseum from ground levelIt's not easy to get a full-on view of the Colosseum like this from ground level, and without anyone in it. I took this in May 2020 as we came out of our pandemic lockdown.

The perfect 3-day itinerary in Rome

Trying to figure out how to organize your visit to Rome? I've got the perfect 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors (or those who have not been here in a while.) It works for a 2.5 day visit as well.

In my 3-day itinerary, you'll see all the major must-see Rome attractions like the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant'Angelo, and much more.

And if you have more time, or want suggestions for extra/other things to do, you'll find that there too.

Visit my page with the best 3-day itinerary in Rome for first-timers.

Hotel Manfredi - Aroma or the Court

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.

view of colosseum from aroma restaurant in hotel manfrediThe panorama from the Hotel Manfredi is the best view of the Colosseum from any hotel or rooftop restaurant in Rome.

From their open-air street-level bar, The Court, you will have this view right in front of you while you enjoy your aperitivo.

view of the colosseum from The CourtThis view of the Colosseum from The Court allows you to also admire the Ludus Magnus just below you - it was the training arena for gladiators before battle.

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:

peekaboo view of colosseum from shamrock restaurantI love this mellow rooftop in the heart of the Caelian Hill, and with a peekaboo view of the Colosseum.

Vittoriano / Altar of the Fatherland

Many people pass by the Complesso Vittoriano (Altar of the Fatherland, also nicknamed "the Wedding Cake"), without realizing you can go inside for free.

altar to the fatherland, or "wedding cake"The Complesso Vittoriano, nicknamed "the Wedding Cake", is also known as the Altar to the Fatherland. You can go inside for free.

From the upper level, you can get a beautiful view of the Colosseum.

view of the colosseum from the middle level of the complesso vittorianoIt's worth visiting the Complesso Vittoriano for the various museums inside but also for these great views from the middle level.

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.

view of the colosseum from the roof of the complesso vittorianoThe best view of the Colosseum from a monument has to be this one from the tippy-top of the Complesso Vittoriano. The elevator ride costs 10€ but it's so worth it, in my opinion!

Upper levels inside 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.

view of inside of the colosseumThis is the best view of the Colosseum on the inside. From here you really get a sense of the space and what happened here.

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.)

top tier of colosseumThe views from the top tiers of the Colosseum are indeed breathtaking. Let's hope they open them up again soon!

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 3rd, 4th and 5th tiers are currently being restored and we don't yet have a date for their reopening.

Palatine Hill

The Palatine Hill offers many excellent views of the Colosseum. 

view of the colosseum from palatine hillThis excellent perspective of the Colosseum from the Palatine Hill really allows you to see the different layers of the inner and outer walls.

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.

Southeast corner

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.

sunset on southwest corner of colosseumOne of the best spots to catch a Colosseum sunset is on the Southwest corner.

Without a doubt my favorite time of day to catch this view of the Colosseum is around sundown.

colosseum sunsetWe don't always have dramatic sunsets in Rome, but when we do, I love to catch it right here on the Southwest corner of the Colosseum.

New walkway near the Arch of Constantine

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.

colosseum view from aboveI'm really happy with the new walkway that takes you just above the Colosseum and Arch of Constantine.

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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