Getting tickets to the Colosseum in Rome is easier than you can imagine. Continue reading to find a way that suits you!
You have finally arrived in Rome, the Eternal City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you’ve had a great time till the moment you’ve laid foot there. The Colosseum from a distance looks mighty, and you can’t wait to get in and explore it. Yet, getting tickets to visit this incredible landmark is not nearly as straightforward as it should be.
In this post, I will explain everything you need to know before visiting the Colosseum. With my tips and guidance, you are guaranteed to have a great time!
Why You Must Visit The Colosseum When In Rome
Of all the things to do in Rome, visiting the Colosseum should be at the top of your list.
This is one of the symbols of the Eternal City, heritage of the Roman Empire. Known as the Flavian Amphitheater, its construction started under Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD. The site was completed under Titus in 82 AD. This is where the battles between gladiators and wild animals, as well as other shows of ancient Rome would take place – in front of a massive audience of up to 80,000 spectators.
The views of the Colosseum are one of the most iconic views in Rome. You can see it from many places in town – up close and from a distance. You can even see it from a plane, if you are landing in Rome Ciampino Airport. Beautiful during the day, the view is even more impressive at night, when the site is illuminated with colorful lights.
Touristy as it is, there is no way you should miss visiting the Colosseum when in Rome. This is a place where you can learn about the incredible past of the Italian capital, and the legacy of the Roman Empire.
For a more complete visit, you should also go to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill – tickets are included in that of the Colosseum, anyways.
Located right by the Colosseum, at the time of the Republic the Roman Forum was a thriving place, with food stalls, temples, brothels and the House of the Senate. The stalls were later substituted with a proper mall and tribunals, and the Forum became a ceremonial center during the empire.
The Palatine Hill is where, according to legend, twins Romolo and Remo were raised by the wolf, and Romolo, having killed his twin brother, founded the village that later on became Rome. Historically, this was where the emperors and the aristocrats lived.
Is the Colosseum always packed?
The Colosseum is – by far – the most iconic attraction in Rome, if not in Italy. In 2019, a whopping 7.6 million people visited the Colosseum – which means that it received on average more than 20,000 people per day, with some days seeing up to 30,000 visitors. This numbers were drastically reduced in 2020, but the procedures for visiting the Colosseum changed, and booking tickets in advance is ever more so a requirement.
As of 30 September 2018 all tickets to the Colosseum have to indicate a specific entry time. At the time of writing, only groups of up to 20 visitors – including children and a guide – can enter the colosseum per time slot – every 5 minutes. Each group or person entering at a specific time slot must follow a marked path.
Since the number of visitors per time slot is so limited, and the ticket office at the site is closed (with no indication of when it will open again) booking in advance is a requirement – whether you want a plain ticket or a guided tour.
Visiting the Colosseum more in depth
The basic tickets to the Colosseum include visits of the main floor and the second tier – it will take you about one hour to visit them. This part of the site can be a bit bare, as throughout the centuries it’s been plundered of its marble and all the other decorations (did you know that in medieval times it was used as a quarry?).
All basic tickets also include admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill on the same day.
If you want to visit the arena, the underground and the third ring you will have to get special – more expensive – tickets called “Full Experience Arena,” and factor in more time for your visit. These tickets are valid for two days, which means you have more time to enjoy each site.
Although Full Experience Arena tickets are slightly more expensive, I wholeheartedly recommend them – they will take you to the most interesting and best preserved parts of the site.
The underground has pretty much remained buried from the end of the Roman Empire until around 100 years ago. There are gorgeous marble coatings; some of the structures built on orders of Domitian and even traces and parts of the elevator that lifted wild animals and gladiators to the arena floor.
The Full Experience Arena tickets also allow you to see the channels used to carry water inside the Colosseum. In fact, the arena floor would get flooded to recreate the perfect environment for naval battles!
The third ring can be accessed through some steep steps. Getting there isn’t the easiest thing – so perhaps not a good idea if you have mobility issues – but that’s where you’ll get the best view of the interior of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the nearby Constantin Arch. Again, you need a Full Experience Arena ticket to access the third ring.
Finally, continue reading to discover the best ways of getting tickets to the Colosseum.
How To Get Tickets To The Colosseum
There are several ways to get tickets to the Colosseum. Continue reading to discover the various solutions and pick the best one for you, based on your interest and budget.
Way N. 1: Buy the official Colosseum tickets online
The most budget friendly way of getting tickets to the Colosseum is via the official retailer – click here to be directed to the site. All tickets include admission to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
The prices of the basic tickets are as follow:
ADULTS – €18 – that’s €16 for the actual ticket, and €2 for the online handling fee.
PEOPLE BETWEEN 18 AND 25 YEARS OLD – €4 – that’s €2 for the ticket and €2 for the online handling fee.
CHILDREN UP TO 18 – Free.
AUDIOGUIDES – €6.
Basic tickets are valid for 24 hours starting from the moment you enter the site – either at the Colosseum or at the Roman Forum.
To visit the arena, the third ring and the underground you will need a Full Experience Arena ticket. Prices are as follow.
ADULTS – €24 – that’s €22 for the actual ticket, and €2 for the online handling fee.
PEOPLE BETWEEN 18 AND 25 YEARS OLD – €4 – that’s €2 for the ticket and €2 for the online handling fee.
CHILDREN UP TO 18 – Free.
Full Experience Arena tickets are valid for up to 48 hours from the first access to the site.
You will have to print your ticket at home.
The official website makes no mention to changes of the reservations and refunds in case of cancellation.
Way N. 2: Get tickets via a third party booking site
Third party booking sites such as GetYourGuide or Tiqets are a great resource to buy attraction tickets. As they typically buy tickets from the official resellers in bulks, this means they almost always have availability. Tickets may be slightly more expensive than on the official site (though this isn’t always the case) but you have the benefit of a site that is significantly more user friendly, of a 24 hours customer service line in your language of choice, and very flexible cancellation and modification policies.
Tickets to the Colosseum bought via third party sites cost €24 vs. €18 on the official site.
You can book your Colosseum ticket here.
Way N. 3: Take a guided tour
This is by far the best way of visiting the Colosseum, as you will get lots of information about the site, its architecture, history and significance. All guided tours include skip-the-line access. The size of the group varies depending on whether you book a group tour – in which case you can expect up to 20 persons, including the guide; or a private tour – in which case it will literally be just you / your friends and family, and the guide. Private tours are obviously more expensive!
You also have the option of picking between the basic tour that goes just to the main parts of the Colosseum, the Forum and the Palatine Hill, or more in-depth visit that also go to the arena, underground and third tier. And if you are traveling with children, you can even pick a family friendly tour.
The starting price for guided group tours is €32.90 – which is a great price, considering what you get! Private tours have a starting price of €90 – with some tours being sold per group, rather than per person.
For the most budget friendly tour of the Colosseum, click here.
For the best reviewed tour of the Colosseum, click here.
For a more comprehensive tour of the Colosseum, click here.
For a family friendly tour, click here.
All guided group tours of the Colosseum follow a more or less strict schedule, so you can’t really stay at the Colosseum after the tour, unless your tour is only focussing on the Colosseum, without the Forum and the Palatine Hill.
Way N. 4: Visit the Colosseum after closing time
If you think that the sight of the Colosseum during the day is amazing, try picturing it at night. This is my favorite way of visiting the Colosseum, because it’s when it is truly quiet. Only a handful of guided groups are allowed at night, so the experience is truly a private, special one.
Night tours of the Colosseum start at 7:30 pm, and last around 2 hours. They give you access to the main areas, the first and second ring, and the arena floor. As the number of night tours on sale is very limited, you will have to book your tour well in advance if this is something you are keen on doing.
Night-time tours of the Colosseum are on sale for €79 and can be bought here.
Way N. 5: Take a guided tour of Rome
If you have very little time in Rome but still want to make the most of it, you may want to opt for a guided tour of the city that takes you to all the most famous attractions. Most tours include a guide (some have an audio-guide); all of them provide skip-the-line entrances to the various attractions.
For a full day guided tour of Rome that for €99 includes a visit of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, click here.
Way N. 6: Buy the Rome City Pass
If you are planning to visit many attractions when in Rome, consider getting a Roma Pass. This generally includes tickets to an incredible number of attractions – including, obviously, the Colosseum.
The Roma Pass will only give you basic skip-the-line tickets – so it’s not a viable option if you’d rather have a guided tour. Also be advised that once you get your Roma Pass, you will have to make separate reservations to each and every attraction you intend to visit.
For a more comprehensive pass that includes access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, as well as the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, click here. It’s on sale for €85 and it includes an audio-guide.
Way N. 7: Buy your tickets at the ticket office of the Roman Forum
I am leaving this as the very last option as at the moment it is not available – the ticket boot at the Roman Forum is temporarily closed. But when it is open, it indeed a very viable way of getting your Colosseum tickets without the hassle of the lines that at times form outside the Colosseum ticket office.
This is really the most budget friendly way of getting your ticket – only €16! However, keep in mind that entrance to the Colosseum is timed and certain time slots may not be available if you are visiting Rome during peak season. Even worse, tickets may be sold out!
Anyways, let me tell you a bit more about this solution.
Whenever you buy tickets to the Colosseum, regardless of which one you purchase, you’ll get a pass for the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. The vice-versa is also true: in other words, if you buy tickets to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, you can also visit the Colosseum.
You can opt to visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill first, then go to the Colosseum. The basic ticket is valid for 24 hours from the moment you access the first site.
Other Useful Information For Visiting The Colosseum
Book in advance
All visits to the Colosseum must now be booked in advance. While same-day bookings are accepted during the week, weekend (Saturday and Sunday) visits, and visits during national holidays must be booked at least 24 hours in advance, either online or by calling the official booking site at +3939967700.
You are advised to arrive at the gate about 10 minutes before your allotted time slot. The gate is located close to the Arch of Constantine, by the Sperone Valadier. The personnel actually does check the time on your ticket and won’t let you in if you are late!
What to do if tickets to the Colosseum are sold out
If you visit Rome during the busy summer months, you may find that you can’t find a suitable time slot for the basic entry tickets to the Colosseum that are on sale on the official site. Should this happen, there are high chances you can still find tickets by browsing third-party booking sites or by joining a guided tour.
For last minute Colosseum tickets, click here.
To book a guided tour, click here.
How to get to the Colosseum
The main entrance to the Colosseum is by the Sperone Valadier, close to the Arch of Constantine. The best way to get there is to either get subway B getting off at Colosseo, or the cablecar n. 3. If you are traveling by bus, you have various options: buses number 51, 75, 81, 85, 87, 118 will all take you to the Colosseum.
The Colosseum is open daily from 10:30 am to 7:15 pm (last access is at 6:15 pm).
The site is closed on the main Italian national holidays – January 1st and December 25th.
Modifications to the reservation and refunds
There is no mention of chances to the reservation and refunds for tickets sold on the official website. On the other hand, tickets and tours bought via third-party booking sites have very flexible cancellation and modification options. Make sure to always read the fine print before getting your ticket!
Official prices and free visits
Basic tickets to the Colosseum for adults cost €16 + €2 mandatory reservation fee. Tickets include admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and are valid for 24 hours from the moment you enter the first site, with one entry per site.
Full Experience Arena tickets cost €22 + €2 mandatory booking fee. Tickets include admission to the Arena and the third ring, as well as the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and they are valid for 48 hours from the moment you enter the first site.
Italian and European Union between 18 and 25 year old pay €2 + the €2 mandatory booking fee.
All citizens under 18 can get in for free.
As of April 2016 new security policies have been adopted for people visiting the Colosseum, by which everyone has to go through strict security checks and have their bags scanned. Expect to wait in line for that and avoid carrying large backpacks or bags – bring in just a small purse / daypack and your camera for your visit. There is no cloak room at the Colosseum but you can leave your bags in a luggage storage nearby (more about this in a bit). Alternatively, plan to leave any bulky item in your room.
Toilets and other facilities at the Colosseum
Toilets are available on the site. There is no coffee shop or cloak room.
Accessibility of the Colosseum
Despite being such an ancient building, the main areas of the Colosseum are actually quite accessible. There are no steps to get through the main entrance in Via dei Fori Imperiali, and there is an elevator for visitors with limited mobility so that they can access the arena floor. There are signs that point to the accessible route.
Much like the rest of the historical center of Rome, the area right outside the Colosseum is cobblestone – so not exactly easy for people with reduced mobility.
Luggage storage facilities near the Colosseum
There is no luggage storage facility at the Colosseum, and since you can’t bring bulky items inside, make sure to leave your large bags in storage at your hotel or at a luggage storage facility in town. The closest one is in Rome Termini train station, from where you can hop on Metro B to get to the Colosseum. You must book it in advance here.
Other attractions near the Colosseum
Other than the above mentioned Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, within easy walking distance from the Colosseum you’ll find about a million other attractions. To mention a few: the Circus Maximus, the Baths of Caracalla and the Capitoline Museums. At further (walking) distance, you’ll find the beautiful Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) in Piazza Venezia, and the archeological site of Largo di Torre Argentina, now one of the most famous cat colonies in the Italian capital.
For more information on how to make the most of Rome, great itineraries and tips to skip the lines, make sure to read the following posts:
- A Complete Guide To Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica Dome
- Seven Smart Ways To Get Galleria Borghese Tickets And Skip The Lines
- A Guide To Visiting The Pantheon, Rome + What You Should Know About Pantheon Tickets
- The Perfect Itinerary To See Rome In 2 Days
- A Fantastic Itinerary For 4 Days In Rome
- A Wonderful Itinerary For 5 Days In Rome
- A Great Itinerary For A Fabulous Week In Rome
- 31 Incredible Places To Explore Rome Off The Beaten Path
- 20 Great Day Trips From Rome
- All The Food In Rome You Should Eat: 25 Delicious Dishes
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