Symbol of Rome, one of Europe’s most famous icons, it’s impossible not to be visiting the Colosseum if it’s your first time in Italy’s capital. Check out our top tips to make the most out of your visit to Rome’s Colosseum.
My Best Tips for Visiting the Colosseum
Crowded any day, any time, sometimes visiting the Colosseum can be intimidating. Long queues, being unsure of what to see or what you can carry can make you worry beforehand.
These are my top tips to guide you through a smooth experience, from when is the best time to go, what to see, how to access the different areas and how to skip the line and enjoy a fast-track Colosseum entrance.
READ MORE: If it’s your first trip, check out our guide to the top things to do in Rome.
Best Time to Visit the Colosseum in Rome
Summer or winter, there is not really a season where you cannot visit the Colosseum.
As a piece of general advice, I can suggest that the best way to see the Colosseum is if it doesn’t rain. Temperature doesn’t really matter, but since the tour takes place almost entirely open-air, walking without an umbrella is certainly preferred for a smoother visit.
As far as the season goes, summer is packed any time of the day. July and August are crazy busy months, but if this is the only time you can take your holiday, you might want to book online or a tour with a skip-the-line entrance.
Likely, you will find less queue in the afternoon, while in the morning it’s always more crowded. Just keep in mind that you need to allow enough time to queue and visit. Even though the ticket is valid for 48 hours, so you can visit the second attraction the day after.
A trick to skip the line at the Colosseum can be to visit the Roman Forum first, which we usually found less busy. The ticket is valid for both the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, so for the Colosseum, you will enter directly without having to queue for the ticket. The line for the Forum is usually shorter, but again this is not always the case. In the high seasons, mainly summer and December, also here you may find many people.
If you really want to visit the Colosseum before the Forum, try to be there at least half an hour before opening time.
In any case, if you would like to skip the queue, you either book a tour or buy a skip-the-line Colosseum ticket. Read below for more info.
READ MORE: Planning a trip and not sure where to book your hotel? Here are the best areas to stay in Rome.
How to Buy the Colosseum Tickets
Purchasing Colosseum tickets online is your best bet to reduce your queuing time. You can choose to buy only the entrance to the general access area, a fast-track entrance with a video guide, or a private tour that ensures fast VIP-access and a tour guide to explain the different parts of the archaeological site, many of which might not be entirely easy to grasp on your own.
Keep in mind that access to the arena and the Colosseum underground is possible only with a certified guide.
These are the options you have to book the entrance as well as some of the best Colosseum tours to skip the line.
Buy skip-the-line Colosseum tickets online
The first option is to book online your skip-the-queue Colosseum ticket that includes also the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. This is just the ticket and a guided tour is not included. You will be sent also a downloadable map of Imperial Rome.
Click here for more details and to book.
Book a private Colosseum tour
For peace of mind and a more thorough experience, booking a private tour is probably your best option. There are many Colosseum tours so you can choose the one that better fits your needs.
Take Walks offers a VIP-access Colosseum tour that includes also the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, one with also access to the arena and one that includes access to both the arena and the underground.
READ MORE: If you want to delve deep into the history and architecture of this famous Rome landmark, check out our guide to the best Colosseum tours.
Buy official Colosseum tickets
You also have the option to buy your tickets from the Colosseum official site here. There are a few options you can choose from. The ordinary ticket that gives you access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill costs 16 € + 2 € for the reservation and is valid for 1 day and 1 access to each landmark.
Finally, you can buy a ticket to the Colosseum, Roman Forum + Palatine Hill, and SUPER sites, which include the Palatine Museum, Neronian Cryptoporticus, House of Augustus, House of Livia and Temple of Romulus among the others. This costs 16 € and buys you 1 entrance to all the sites Visitors are required to show the ID at the Colosseum ticket office. Don’t be late or you can miss the access, which cannot be refunded. Here you will find more details.
Another option (Full Experience Ticket) is to include also access to the arena or the undergrounds in the Colosseum, for which you must have a guide, as well as the SUPER sites. It costs 22 € and is valid for 2 days and 1 entrance to all the archaeological sites (Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hills).
What to See in the Colosseum
The archaeological site of the Colosseum is very big and includes several areas. The general area is open to anyone with an ordinary ticket, while the arena and the underground are only possible to access with a certified guide.
As you enter, you will have access to the audience area, where spectators used to spend hours, for some occasions even days, waiting and watching their favorite shows. Which included gory sights of hunts, gladiators fighting against each other and against wild animals brought from Africa, sometimes even naval battles.
If you go with a guide, whether you booked a private tour or only the guide from the Colosseum official website, you can also access the arena and the underground. The arena is where gladiators engaged in the fight, that otherwise you can only see from the top, while in the underground you can see the complex architecture that led gladiators and animals up to the arena.
Why You Can’t Miss Rome’s Colosseum
Symbol of the opulence of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum is a monument to human engineering. Today welcomes thousands of visitors every day, going back to its original purpose of when it was built in the 1st century AD.
The world’s largest amphitheater, the Colosseum started its decline from 438 AD, when emperor Valentinian III banned the gladiators’ games. During the Middle Ages, the Colosseum was used for different purposes, such as the place for artisan workshops, animal hospital, even housing. Until only recently a painstaking work of archaeological digging and renovation shed light to its original functions.
Practicalities: Colosseum Information
Last but not least, here is all you need to know before you go. Find the Colosseum hours, the Colosseum ticket price, how to save, where to buy Colosseum tickets.
I will also mention tips on how to get to the Colosseum and what is best not to carry to avoid delays and being refused entrance.
Where it is, Colosseum address
Piazza del Colosseo 1.
How to get to the Colosseum
By metro is the easiest way to get to the Coliseum. Colosseo station along line B is tight in front of the entrance, so this is the best way to get to the Colosseum from Termini or Ostiense/Piramide.
By bus. Some of the buses arriving directly at the Colosseum are n. 51, 75, 85, 87, 118 to Piazza del Colosseo; tram 3 and 8 in Via Celio Vibenna behind the Colosseum. Alternatively, you can get off in Piazza Venezia and reach the Colosseum with a pleasant walk along Via dei Fori Imperiali.
On foot. If you are staying in a hotel in the city center, getting to the Colosseum walking is the best way so you won’t have to wait for the bus and you can already view other buildings and attractions along the way. And if you want a breathtaking view, you can also book one of the best hotels in Rome near the Colosseum.
Colosseum opening hours
Open daily from 8.30 am. Closing time depends on the season: around 4.30-5.30 pm from January to March and November-December; 6.30 pm in October; around 7-7.15 from April to end of September. Ticket office closes an hour before closing time.
Closed on January 1st and December 25th.
Entrance fee and Colosseum tickets skip-the-line
The ordinary ticket is 12 €, if you book online 12+2 €, and gives you access also to Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Valid for 48 hours and one access to each attraction. For EU citizens between 18 and 25 years of age, the ticket is 2 €.
For the Colosseum and the Arena, the ticket is 14 € (+2 € if you book online).
The 48-hour Roma Pass gives you access to 1 attraction for free, while the 72-hour Roma Pass to 2 attractions for free and several with a discount. The Colosseum is among the attractions you can choose to enter for free. You will also have skip-the-line access.
Click here for more info on Roma Pass and to buy it.
What to wear when visiting the Colosseum. Plus what to bring and what NOT to bring.
- Comfortable shoes. Whether you are going to the dungeon and the arena or not, you will walk a lot and climb quite a few stairs, so comfortable shoes are highly recommended. For both the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, as ideally you will be visiting these on the same day.
- Sunscreen. If you are going in summer, don’t forget to wear and bring the sunscreen with you. The Colosseum is open-air and has hardly any covered space so you will be exposed almost always.
- Bottle of water. Especially in summer, but not only, staying hydrated is important. A visit to Rome’s Colosseum does last for a couple of hours, so carry a bottle of water to ensure that. In the hot season I did see some tourists faint, so take care of your hydration and take something for low blood pressure if you are subject to that.
- DO NOT bring a large backpack or suitcase. These are not allowed and there is no cloakroom so you won’t be allowed in.
- DO NOT bring knives or sharp objects. These are not allowed and they will be confiscated. If you don’t want to lose them, don’t bring them with you.
READ MORE: Want to know more about the history of this famous Rome landmark? Check out our article on the Colosseum facts and history.
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