Symbol of Rome, one of Europe’s most famous iconic landmarks, it’s impossible not to be visiting the Colosseum if it’s your first time in Rome. With thousands of tourists standing in line every day, carefully planning your visit is a must. This is why we have packed a list with our top tips to make the most out of your visit to the Roman Colosseum.
We are going to cover every aspect you need to know before you visit. Factors such as how long you should allocate to your Colosseum tour, admission price and different types of tickets, the Colosseum’s opening hours, how to get there, and what services you can expect are only some of the pieces of information you are going to find in our Colosseum guide.
It doesn’t really matter how many days you will stay in Rome, because for sure, either from outside or inside, you will be visiting the Colosseum. Here, we will share precious tips for a smooth experience, how to skip the line, which ticket or tour to opt for, what to wear, and what is not allowed to carry.
My Best Tips for Visiting the Colosseum
Crowded any day, any time, sometimes visiting the Colosseum can be intimidating. Long queues and 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
Whether it’s summer or winter, there is not really a season travelers give up on visiting the Colosseum.
As a piece of general advice, I can suggest that the best way to see the Colosseum is to go when it’s not raining. 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 at 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 fewer queues 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. The ticket is valid for 48 hours, so you can visit the second attraction the day after.
A trick to skip the line when visiting the Colosseum can be to head to the Roman Forum first, which we usually found less busy. The ticket is valid for the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, 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.
>> Insider’s tip: I suggest visiting the Colosseum in Rome early morning in the summer months because too hot later in the day, and in the early afternoon in less busy months like February and March because otherwise, it’s too cold.
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.
How much does it cost to visit the Colosseum in Rome?
The ordinary ticket for the Roman Colosseum costs 16€ (16+2€ if you book online) and gives you access also to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. It’s valid for 24 hours and allows for one entry to each attraction. For EU citizens between 18 and 25 years of age, the ticket is 2€.
For the Colosseum with the Arena and the Dungeon included, the Full Experience ticket is 22€ (+2 € if you book online) and you will visit each area with a guide.
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.
Entrance to the Colosseum is free every first Sunday of the month.
How to buy the Colosseum tickets
IMPORTANT: To visit the Colosseum you MUST book your spot so that you have an allocated date and time, otherwise you can’t enter.
From October 18th, 2023, it’s mandatory to have a nominative ticket for all types of entrance tickets, whether you buy it on travel websites, from the call center, or at physical ticket offices.
Also on October 18th, 2023, the ticket office in Via Salara Vecchia opened for the sale of tickets to individual visitors while supplies last.
Until December 15th, 2023, the Colosseum tickets will cost 1€ extra as part of a fundraising initiative to help the areas hit by the floods in Italy.
Apart from buying them at the entrance, you can purchase your tickets in two more ways:
- online by purchasing your ticket from the official website or online vendors like Get Your Guide. If you have already purchased a Roma Pass or Omnia Card and have free skip-the-line access, you still need to reserve your entrance. You can do so from the website of the official partner Coopculture. If you scroll down, below the opening hours, you will find additional information for Roma Pass holders.
- over the phone by calling the number +39 06 39967700.
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.
READ MORE: Planning a trip and not sure where to book your hotel? Here are the best areas to stay in Rome.
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 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.
By booking your online ticket on Get Your Guide, you will be asked to choose a time slot.
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 others. This costs 16 € and buys you 1 entrance to all the sites Visitors are required to show their 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 Hill). The ticket includes also the guide.
Colosseum opening times
The Colosseum opens every day at 9 a.m. and closes an hour before sunset. These are the Colosseum opening times for every season:
- January 2nd to February 15th, 9 am–4.30 pm
- February 16th to March 15th, 9 am–5 pm
- March 16th to March 26th, 9 am–5.30 pm
- March 27th to August 31st, 9 am–7.15 pm
- September 1st to September 30th, 9 am–7 pm
- October 1st to October 30th, 9 am–6.30 pm
- October 31st to December 31st, 9 am–4.30 pm
The ticket office of the Colosseum closes an hour before closing time.
The Colosseum will remain closed on December 25th, 2023 and on January 1st, 2024.
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 require a different ticket or 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 a guide from the Colosseum’s official website, you will easily access the arena and the underground. The arena is where gladiators engaged in the fight, which 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.
Even though Constantine the Great banned the gladiators’ shows in 326, the fights in the Colosseum carried on until 404 when Honorius put an end to them after a monk was stoned to death during a show.
This marked the end of the gory parades but also the beginning of the consistent sacking of the Colosseum. Its marble was turned into lime building material, and its stones were used to build churches and palaces. Adding the heavy damage caused by several earthquakes, it explains some signs of fixing and why some parts collapsed, such as the southern third.
Only in the 18th century did Pope Benedict XIV put an end to the systematic depredation because of the belief that the Colosseum in its heyday had also been used as a place of martyrdom for early Christians. Even this fact didn’t really find historical confirmation, the pope consecrated the amphitheater, making it a symbol of both pagan and Christian times.
New panoramic elevator in the Colosseum
Recently, a panoramic glass elevator sponsored by the Italian Cinema Orchestra was opened to further increase the already extensive usability of the Colosseum. The elevator guarantees all visitors, with greater attention to those with mobility difficulties, to overcome the 100 steep steps that separate the first tier from the intermediate gallery, thus enjoying a unique view of the entire monument.
Built fully in line and with full respect to the original construction and fitting harmoniously into the monument, the use of pressure anchor points guarantees the total reversibility of the work.
The construction of the lift allows everyone, nobody excluded, to reach the gallery between the 2nd and 3rd levels that has been opened to the public after a painstaking work of restoration and conservation. The history and life behind this newly open space can be experienced thanks to the suggestive lighting system that enhances the construction, the plastered surfaces and graffiti, and an educational set-up to allow for an evocative visit and time travel.
Visiting the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
Included in the ticket to the Colosseum is also the entrance to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. These are very interesting archaeological sites because they give a good picture of what life in ancient Rome was like.
While the Roman Forum was the place where daily trading, administrative, and religious life took place, Palatine Hill is home to several imperial villas.
In May 2022, the southern slopes of Palatine Hill reopened for tourists to visit. However, they remain closed from October to spring.
On the same Palatine Hill, however, there still are some places closed to the public. These are:
- Domus Transitoria (Emperor Nero’s first palace)
- Casa di Livia (Livia’s House)
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 when it was built in the 1st century AD.
The world’s largest amphitheater, the Colosseum started its decline in 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, a hospital for animals, and even housing. Until only recently a painstaking work of archaeological digging and renovation shed light on its original functions.
Practicalities: Colosseum information + tips
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, and 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: the 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.
Services for disabled people
The Colosseum features an elevator for disabled people to access the upper floor. You need to ask the staff at the ticket booth and you will be accompanied and on top, there will be more staff to assist.
The complex has also accessible toilets equipped for people with physical disabilities. For this, too, ask the staff.
Ask emperor Nero for info
A new service in the Colosseum and Roman archaeological park is the digital information service with the help of emperor Nero, nonetheless. Whether it’s historical information or practical information for visiting the Colosseum that you need, you just need to ask Nero and he will deliver. Even with more grace he was known for at his time.
Open the official website of the ancient site with your smartphone or tablet and on the bottom left side, your chat box with Nero will open. If you are shy, the emperor will break the ice: “Let me introduce myself. I am Nero, Roman Emperor from 54 to 68 AD… I am here to give service information about the Colosseum Archaeological Park. Dead? Well, yes… but I have been brought back to life as artificial intelligence.”
Start from here and ask him anything, who better than him will know Rome’s imperial times?
What to wear when visiting the Colosseum + 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 sunscreen with you. The Colosseum is open-air and has hardly any covered space so you will be exposed to the sun almost all the time.
- 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. You can refill your bottle from the fountains inside the Colosseum and the Roman Forum
- DO NOT bring a large backpack, wheeled suitcase, or trolley. These are not allowed and there is no cloakroom so you won’t be allowed in. Pick a small backpack, a purse, or a crossbody bag instead.
- 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.
- DO NOT bring spray bottles. Do I need to explain this? Well, it has already happened that vandals ruined historical landmarks by spraying with a paint can, so these will be confiscated.
- DO NOT bring your pets. Animals are not allowed.
READ MORE: Want to know more about the history of this famous Rome landmark? Check out our article on the Colosseum facts and history.
Where to stay near the Colosseum
If you are staying in Rome for two days or so, I suggest booking your hotel around the city center where is the largest concentration of historical landmarks. If it’s your first trip to Rome, chances are you are going to be visiting the Colosseum, so booking your room in Monti or around is a good idea.
Keep in mind that at the entrance of the Colosseum there will always be a long line. Even though booking your ticket online you will skip the queue, if you are staying nearby, you will have more chance to reach earlier.
Here are some hotels near the Colosseum we suggest checking out.
- High-end: Hotel Palazzo Manfredi – with Colosseum view
- Mid-range: Hotel Capo d’Africa – Colosseo
- Budget: Domus Aurea B&B and Suites
- Apartment: Luxury Domus Apartment 1
Check out our full guide to the best hotels near the Colosseum.
Where to eat near the Colosseum
The Colosseum is possibly the most popular attraction in Rome so it’s only normal that all around it’s one of the most touristy areas in the city. When you are looking for a good, authentic restaurant, this doesn’t help. Here are some of the names, if you want more options, we have written a full list of the best restaurants near the Colosseum.
- Contrario. Vineria con Cucina (Via Ostilia 22). Very close to the Domus Aurea and Parco Archeologico del Colosseo, this cozy restaurant serves seafood dishes and handmade fresh pasta.
- Crab (Via Capo d’Africa 2). Gourmet seafood restaurant with a rich raw menu and oyster selection.
- Aromaticus Monti (Via Urbana 134). Less than 1 km from the Colosseum is the lovely Aromaticus restaurant. Just like Aromaticus Trastevere, they serve very healthy foods and well-balanced dishes. Plant-based and high-quality, they often enrich their recipes with the addition of fermented foods and drinks such as kefir and kombucha.
- Maido (Via Urbana 122). Japanese-style street food place serving specialties like yakisoba, onigiri, miso soup, and the typical savory pancake okonomiyaki.
- Cuoco & Camicia (Via di Monte Polacco 2/4). Cozy and stylish, this modern trattoria serves creative dishes borrowed from tradition and revisited with the personal chef’s touch.
What to see near the Colosseum
If you have some more time after visiting the Colosseum, there are many places to add to your bucket list.
- Basilica dei Santi Cosma e Damiano. For beautiful mosaics.
- Baths of Caracalla. Well-preserved large Roman baths with a Mithra temple underground.
- San Clemente Basilica. A fascinating church where you can see several layers of history from the modern street-level medieval Basilica to the early-Christian church to the ancient Roman street and Mithra temple and school.
- Fori Imperiali. This long road from the Colosseum to Piazza Venezia displays the fora of the Roman emperors.
- Trajan’s Markets. Important administrative office building serving the Forum of Trajan and now hosting the museum of the Fori Imperiali showing buildings and decorations found in the imperial fora.
- Piazza Venezia. One of Rome’s most famous piazzas, here you can see the Vittoriano complex, the Altar to the Fatherland, Palazzo Venezia, and Via del Corso shopping street.
- Capitoline Museums. One of the most important museums in Rome to learn about the city’s history, art, and culture.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the best way to see the Colosseum in Rome?
Being such a popular and crowded landmark, there are some considerations to make when planning to visit the Roman Colosseum.
- Plan ahead. Decide what ticket you want, what you want to visit, and if it’s the case to book a private tour.
- Book your ticket online. This allows you to skip the line at the entrance and choose your time slot.
- Visit also the arena and the underground. For these, you will need to either book a tour or purchase the “Full Experience” ticket for 22€ that includes a certified guide.
- Get there at least 15 minutes earlier. If you book online, you will have the right to a fast entrance but you will still need time to find your entrance, and if you have a specific slot, you should enter at your allocated time.
- Avoid the first Sunday of the month. The ticket is free but the crowds are huge and you will hardly enjoy your visit.
- Consider a guided tour. I always suggest visiting the Colosseum in Rome with the help of a local guide because private tours usually include a skip-the-line entrance, detailed historical information, the entrance to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and visiting straight the most important landmarks in each of these archaeological sites.
Is the Colosseum in Rome worth visiting?
Absolutely yes! The Colosseum, known as the Flavian Amphitheater because built by the emperors of the Flavian Dynasty, rises in the heart of Ancient Rome. Its gory history and sophisticated architecture attract thousands of visitors every day.
Since its construction in the 1st century, the Colosseum has been the theater for popular shows such as hunting and gladiators’ games and fights. Even though centuries have gone by, the Colosseum shows no sign of cooling. The largest amphitheater in the world, its awe-inspiring appearance is always a source of surprise for first-time spectators.
In ancient times, it was the symbol of the glory and power of the Roman Empire. Now, even though not hosting unconventional shows any longer, it still is an iconic building of Rome revealing its past culture and social habits.
How much time do you need at the Colosseum?
If you have only one day in Rome and rushing as many attractions as possible, you can buy the basic ticket granting general admission to the first and second floors and be done in an hour or so.
If, on the other hand, the Colosseum is a landmark you have always wanted to visit and wish to explore properly and completely, you should set aside at least 2 to 3 hours. Take your time to see all the floors, stop at the Arena, and walk around the underground and dungeon where the gladiators waited to take part in the shows.
Do I need a guided tour of the Colosseum?
Booking a private guided tour is not mandatory to visit the Colosseum. You can book a basic single ticket and visit the areas open to the public, or a Full Experience ticket to be granted access to the arena and the underground. The Full Experience ticket is more expensive than the basic single admission and it includes also a guide.
The benefits of a guided tour lie in a more complete and deeper experience you can get out of your visit. A guide will tell you about the history and the facts of the Colosseum more than what you are going to find in the displayed panels.
With a guide, you will also waste less time looking for ways, stairs, and the different attractions inside the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and also Palatine Hill.
Of course, as a downside, a private tour is certainly more expensive than purchasing a single ticket.
Is there a dress code to visit the Colosseum?
There is no dress code to visit the Colosseum. Not being a holy place, there is no need to keep knees and shoulders covered. However, I suggest wearing comfortable shoes or walking sandals, comfortable trousers, and a hat if it’s summer because the Colosseum is mainly open-air.
Is there a toilet in the Colosseum?
Yes, in the Colosseum there is a toilet that’s also accessible to mobility-impaired visitors. You will find a toilet also inside the Roman Forum.
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