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 among 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 the plane, if you are landing in Rome Ciampino Airport. Beautiful during the day, it is even more impressive at night, when 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 she-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, and as of 1 October 2021 tickets must also indicate the name of the buyer. At the time of writing, a total of 1695 visitors are allowed per hour. Since the number of visitors per time slot is limited, and there is no ticket office at the site, 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 the Colosseum 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. You can also use the app Parco Colosseo. 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 booking fee.
PEOPLE BETWEEN 18 AND 25 YEARS OLD – €4 – that’s €2 for the ticket and €2 for the online booking fee.
CHILDREN UP TO 18 – Free.
AUDIOGUIDES – €5.50.
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 booking fee.
PEOPLE BETWEEN 18 AND 25 YEARS OLD – €4 – that’s €2 for the ticket and €2 for the online booking 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 or you can also show the receipt on your smartphone.
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 between €21,50 and €24 vs. €18 on the official site. Tiqets may sell them for €18 for same day access – though this really depends on availability.
You can book your Colosseum ticket on GetYour Guide here.
You can book your Colosseum ticket on Tiqets 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 a selection of tours of the Colosseum, click here.
For the most budget friendly tour of the Colosseum, click here.
For a more comprehensive tour of the Colosseum, click here. This is the tour I prefer and recommend.
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 7:15 pm, and last around 2 hours. They give you access to the main areas, the first and second ring, the underground 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.
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.
The best option is the Rome in a Day tour by Walks of Italy that is on sale at €116 and which goes to the Colosseum, the Vatican and the Historic Center of Rome. You can book it here.
For something more budget friendly, you can consider a tour by Tiqets. It costs €99 and includes a visit of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. For more information, 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, unless you get the new city card here which gives you the option of booking everything online.
For the Rome City Card, which allows you to book a time-slot for the attractions you intend to visit at the time of purchase, and which includes the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, and a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, click here. It costs €82.
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 €90 and it includes an audio-guide.
Other Useful Information For Visiting The Colosseum
There is no physical ticket office
Until two years ago, there used to be a physical ticket office at the Colosseum. The lines were ever so long and it was impossible to get a ticket, but a trick I used to get tickets if I decided to visit spontaneously was to go to the Roman Forum, where the line was not nearly as long. In fact, as I have explained before, Colosseum tickets would include admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and vice versa.
However, there now is a strict time slot policy to visit the Colosseum, which means that advanced bookings are mandatory, and currently there are no physical ticket offices for both the Colosseum and the Roman Forum, which means that your only option is to buy tickets online as I have been explaining in this post.
Book in advance
All visits to the Colosseum must be booked in advance. While same-day bookings are accepted during the week, weekend (Saturday and Sunday) visits, and visits during national holidays must typically be booked at least 24 hours in advance, either online or by calling the official booking site at +3939967700.
Full Experience tickets are more easily available on the same day at weekends.
You are advised to arrive at the gate about 15 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 on sale on the official site. However, you may 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.
You can also walk to the Colosseum from the historic center of Rome. Simply get to Piazza Venezia, where the Altar of the Fatherland is located, and from there walk along the beautiful Via dei Fori Imperiali.
Colosseum opening hours
The Colosseum is open daily but Colosseum opening hours vary with the season. They are as follows:
- 1 September to 30 October – 9:30 am to 7:00 pm.
- 31 October to 28 February – from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
- 1 March to 26 March – 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.
- 27 March to 31 August – 9:30 am to 7:15 pm.
Last access is one hour before closing time.
The site is closed on the main Italian national holidays – January 1st and December 25th.
Modifications to the reservation and refunds
Tickets to the Colosseum sold on the official site are not refundable. I tried changing the reserved time slot in the past but the procedure was rather complicated that I simply gave up.
On the other hand, tickets and tours bought via third-party booking sites have very flexible cancellation and modification options. In any case, and no matter which site you decide to use to buy your Colosseum ticket, always read the fine print before hitting the pay button!
Official prices and free visits
Colosseum tickets prices are as follow:
BASIC TICKET – Adults €18 (€16+€2 booking fee); 18 to 25 years old Italian and European Union Citizens €4 (€2+€2 booking fee); reduced fare €4 (€2+€2 booking fee). Citizens under 18 get in for free. 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 – Adults €24 (€22+€2 booking fee). 18 to 25 years old Italian and European Union Citizens €4 (€2+€2 booking fee); reduced fare €4 (€2+€2 booking fee).. Citizens under 18 get in for free. These 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.
AUDIOGUIDES – €5.50.
As of April 2016 new security policies have been adopted for people visiting the Colosseum. You will have to go through strict security checks and have your 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. 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 to 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, leave any large bag 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, the 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 sanctuaries in the Italian capital.
For more information on how to make the most of Rome, great itineraries and travel hacks, 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
- The Best Things To Know Before Visiting Rome
For more tips and ideas about Italy, consider reading: