Are you looking for information on how to get tickets to the Colosseum in Rome? 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.
The first questions you may ask are “can you get tickets to the Colosseum at the door?” or “can you buy Colosseum tickets on the day?” and while the answer is plainly yes, it is actually more difficult than that and getting tickets to visit this incredible landmark requires careful planning.
In this post, I will explain where to buy Colosseum tickets, and everything you need to know before visiting the Colosseum. With my tips and guidance, you are guaranteed to have a great time!
GOOD TO KNOW: I often come across people who write Coliseum instead of Colosseum. The correct spelling is, indeed, Colosseum. The Coliseum is a theater in London West End.
Why You Must Visit The Colosseum 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, construction started under Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD and was finished under Titus in 82 AD.
Here, battles between gladiators and wild animals and other games 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. Beautiful during the day, it is even more impressive at night, illuminated with colorful lights.
There is no way you should skip the Colosseum when in Rome. This is a place where you can learn about the incredible legacy of the Roman Empire.
People visiting the Colosseum typically go to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill too – in any case, tickets these also include admission to the other two sites.
Located 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. Later on, 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 crowded?
The Colosseum is the most popular attraction in Rome, if not in Italy. It is estimated that around 6 million people visit every year (but there have been peaks of 7.6 millions in the past!), which means an average of more than 16,000 visitors every day.
As of 30 September 2018 the Colosseum works on a time-slot system, meaning you can access only at the time specified in the ticket, which you must select upon booking. As of 1 October 2021 tickets must also indicate the name of the buyer.
The number of visitors per time slot is limited to no more than 50 visitors and there is a time slot every 15 minutes. While you can get tickets at the door, booking in advance remains a requirement – whether you want a plain ticket or a guided tour.
In any case, avoiding the crowds at the Colosseum is very difficult. Your best bet for a quieter experience is to either travel to Rome between November and February (but not for the Christmas holidays) and to either pick the very first time slot or join a night tour. Don’t worry, I will explain everything!
Understanding the various Colosseum levels
Knowing the difference between the various levels of the Colosseum will help you decide which ticket to get for your visit. Here is a quick overview:
The cheapest Colosseum tickets (sold on the official website) only give you access to the main floor (first tier) and the second tier – it will take you about one hour to visit them.
This part of the site can be a bit bare: throughout the centuries it’s been plundered of its marble and decorations (in medieval times the Colosseum was used as a quarry). From the main level of the Colosseum you can actually see the Arena and the Underground, but you will need a different (and more expensive) ticket or tour to access them.
These tickets also include admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill on the same day (you need to access them within 24 hours of your first admission to the Colosseum).
You can also find plain tickets on third party booking sites here: they sometimes have more availability than the official website.
Visiting the Arena allows you to see the Colosseum from the very perspective the gladiators would have – which is incredible! Now, the Colosseum will never be as packed as in its heyday but you can definitely get a feel of what a gladiator may have felt facing his enemy in front of a massive audience.
From the open bits in the Arena, you can also see the Colosseum Underground (hypogea) below.
If you want to visit the Arena, you will have to get the “Full Experience Arena” tickets on the official website and factor in more time for your visit. Full Experience Arena tickets are slightly more expensive, but will allow you to access the most interesting and best preserved parts of the site.
These tickets are valid for two days, so you have 48 hours to visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill from the first moment you visit the Colosseum.
If the Full Experience Arena tickets are sold out, you may want to join this Colosseum and Arena Floor guided tour – it is slightly more expensive but it has more availability.
The Underground is by far my favorite place to visit inside the Colosseum. It is a bit like visiting the backstage of a theater, where you get to understand and appreciate the incredible engineering skills of the Romans.
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.
You also get to see the channels used to flood the arena floor to recreate the perfect environment for naval battles!
You can only visit the Underground level with a guide. If you want to visit the Underground will have to get the “Full Experience Arena and Underground” tickets, which are also more expensive than the basic ticket.
Again, these tickets are valid for two days, which gives you 48 hours from the moment of your first access to the Colosseum to also explore the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
The best way of visiting the Colosseum if you also want to go to the underground and arena is on a guided tour such as this tour by Touriks, my favorite tour company in Rome.
You can also consider this guided tour by Walks of Italy which is very comprehensive.
From the third ring you’ll get the best view of the interior of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the nearby Constantin Arch. Getting up there can be challenging as the steps are quite steep, but there now is an elevator that goes all the way there and that allows you visitors with reduced mobility to make the most of the viewing gallery too.
This is a very special experience which is not available throughout the day and to independent travelers. Access is limited from 7:30 to 9:00 am and tickets can only be purchased by authorized guides by calling the dedicated CoopCulture number +390639967888.
I recommend getting in touch with Mario Fedele at +393333478374 – he is a local guide (my favorite in Rome), and you can ask him if he is available to guide you and to get those specific tickets for you. If he is not available, you can book an early morning tour and then get in touch with the tour provider suggesting you’d like to add access to the elevator.
Finally, continue reading for more details on how to get tickets to the Colosseum.
How To Get Tickets To The Colosseum
Looking for where to buy Colosseum tickets online? Here we go! Below I will explain where to buy tickets to the Colosseum based on your budget and interests.
Before I jump in to give you all the best options, here is a quick overview of the available options:
- OFFICIAL WEBSITE – Cheapest tickets, but availability can be extremely limited especially in the peak season.
- LAST MINUTE TICKETS – Sold on third party booking sites, can be pricier but there usually is more availability.
- COLOSSEUM, ROMAN FORUM AND ANCIENT ROME MULTIMEDIA VIDEO – There generally is more availability.
- COLOSSEUM TICKET AND ARENA FLOOR – One of the most popular options, but it often sells out too. For a slightly higher fee, you can instead join this Colosseum and Arena Floor guided tour which has more availability.
- COLOSSEUM TICKET, UNDERGROUND AND ARENA FLOOR – This is actually a tour and has significantly more availability.
Way N. 1: Use the Colosseum tickets official website
This is how to buy tickets to the Colosseum if you are looking for the most budget friendly option.
Coopculture is the tickets to the Colosseum official website. You can also use the app Parco Colosseo. All tickets include admission to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
However, let me say that if you want to use the Colosseum tickets official website, you really have to plan well ahead of your visit. Being the cheapest ones, these are the first tickets to get sold out and availability is often limited.
If you decide to buy your tickets on the official website, you can choose among the options I am reporting below.
These are the cheapest Colosseum tickets and will only allow you to visit Level I and Level I – these are the ground floor (first tier) and the first floor (second tier). With the basic tickets, you can see the Arena and the Underground floor from above, but you can’t visit them – for those, you will need a different ticket.
Prices of basic tickets are as follow:
ADULTS – €18 – €16 for the ticket + €2 online booking fee.
PEOPLE BETWEEN 18 AND 25 YEARS OLD – €4 – €2 for the ticket + €2 online booking fee.
CHILDREN UP TO 18 – Free, but a time slot must be selected anyways.
AUDIOGUIDES – €5.50.
Basic tickets are valid for 24 hours starting from when you enter the site – either at the Colosseum or at the Roman Forum. Admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill is included in these tickets, as long as you visit them no later than 24 hours after your first admission to the Colosseum.
Full Experience Tickets
To visit the Arena, the Underground and the third tier you will need a Full Experience Arena ticket (you can get it on the official website here) or a Full Experience Arena and Underground ticket (get it on the official website here).
The prices of full experience tickets are as follows:
ADULTS – €24 – €22 for the ticket + €2 online booking fee.
PEOPLE BETWEEN 18 AND 25 YEARS OLD – €4 – €2 for the ticket + €2 online booking fee.
CHILDREN UP TO 18 – Free, but a time slot must be selected anyways.
Full Experience Arena tickets include admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and are valid for up to 48 hours from the first access to the site.
If Full Experience Arena Tickets are sold out on the official website but you are keen on visiting these levels, you have the option of joining a guided tour. I recommend this tour by Touriks, as it is one of the most thorough – of all the Colosseum tours I have done in Rome it’s my favorite. It also goes to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
Tickets conditions and rules
You can print your ticket at home or show the receipt on your smartphone.
Tickets bought on the official website can’t be cancelled, modified or refunded.
You will have to arrive at the gate about 15 minutes before your allotted time slot. The gate is close to the Arch of Constantine, by the Sperone Valadier. An attendant will check the time on your ticket and won’t let you in if you are late!
How far in advance can you buy tickets to the Colosseum?
Tickets are available on the official website up to 30 days in advance.
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 on these sites may be slightly more expensive than on the official site (though this isn’t always the case) but you have the benefit of more user friendly site compared to that of CoopCulture and of a 24 hours customer service line in your language of choice.
At times, Tiqets may sell them for €18 for same day access – though this really depends on availability.
You can book your tickets on Tiqets here.
At the moment, third party booking sites have no availability for plain tickets. If you are keen on visiting the Colosseum, your best option may be to join a guided tour. Continue reading as I highlight the best options.
Tickets conditions and rules
You can print your ticket or use the easy-to-download app on your smartphone.
Plain tickets bought third party sites can’t be cancelled, modified or refunded.
How far in advance can you buy tickets to the Colosseum on third party sites?
Tickets bought on third party sites are available 30 days in advance, much like those sold on the Colosseum tickets official website.
Tiqets has a great function for early birds that allows you to get a notification as soon as tickets for the day you wish to visit become available.
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 its construction and history. All guided tours include skip-the-line access. You will be provided a meeting point where your guide will wait for you, and after that you will be swiftly taken to the entrance and through security.
There are tons of tours of the Colosseum to pick from – varying in what you get to visit, in group size, style, price. There are even night tours of the Colosseum that offer a more private experience – I will be talking about them in a bit.
If you are keen on visiting the Colosseum Underground, you will need to book a guided tour: no independent visits are allowed there.
The size of the group in guided tours varies depending on whether you book a group tour, in which case you can expect up to 20 or 30 persons; or a (more expensive) private tour, in which case it will literally be just you / your friends and family, and the guide.
As I have said before, you also have the option of picking between a basic tour that only goes to the main parts of the Colosseum, the Forum and the Palatine Hill, or a more in-depth visit with the arena, underground and third tier. There are also family friendly tours if you have children.
Guided group tours start at €40. Private tours have a starting price of €90 – with some tours being sold per group, rather than per person.
Most guided tours of the Colosseum take two hours, some take up to three and even more – the longer tours will also go to the Arena and Underground, and continue onto the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. These are the best options – all have free cancellation until 24 hours before your visit:
This is the best reviewed Colosseum tour, which is also quite budget friendly! The tour lasts up to three hours and it also has the option of visiting the Arena floor. It’s a very well reviewed tour.
This express Colosseum guided tour is one of the most budget friendly options. There also is a similar basic Colosseum tour. In both cases, you will only go to the parts open to the general public – so you won’t be able to see the Arena floor and the Underground. On the other hand, your ticket will allow you to access the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
For the best reviewed tour of the Colosseum, consider this guided tour by Walks of Italy which also goes to the Underground, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. It’s an in-depth tour that lasts 3.5 hours.
My personal recommendation is this guided tour by local operator Touriks: I took the tour myself a couple of times and I continue thinking it is the best one. Touriks is a locally run company I know well. I love their guides (my favorite is Mario) and the tour is truly thorough and in depth.
This private tour of the Colosseum is one of the best available. It lasts 2.5 hours and includes a tour of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
Otherwise, you could consider this more comprehensive tour that lasts 3 hours and also goes to the Underground and Arena.
If you are traveling to Rome with kids you should opt for a family friendly Colosseum guided tour. Your kids will have the chance to play and learn a lot at the same time. I recommend this family friendly tour which lasts 2.5 hours and won’t fail to keep your kids entertained.
For a further selection of tours of the Colosseum, 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.
Way N. 4: Visit the Colosseum after closing time
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 special.
The starting time of night tours of the Colosseum varies depending on the season, with tours in the summer usually starting between 7:00 and 9:00 pm, and winter tours starting between 5.00 and 6:00 pm.
Tours last between 2 and 3 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 well in advance.
Prices of night-time tours of the Colosseum start at around €100, but look out as some of them may be on sale for the dates you are visiting. Below are some excellent options – make sure to check their cancellation policy, as not all of them allow refunds:
My favorite night-time tour of the Colosseum is this VIP Colosseum At Night Tour With Underground & Arena Floor tour – it lasts almost 3 hours and also goes to the Capitoline Hill and along the stunning Via dei Fori Imperiali. This tour offers free cancellation.
You may also want to consider this Colosseum under the moonlight tour that goes to the Underground and Arena. It’s the most budget friendly option so if this the tour you want, you have to book months in advance.
Finally, there’s this night tour that is also quite comprehensive as it goes to the Underground and Arena floor too.
Way N. 5: Take a guided tour of Rome
If you have limited time in Rome, you may want to opt for a guided tour of the city that takes you to the most famous attractions. Tours usually include a live guide; all of them provide skip-the-line access to the various attractions and free cancellation.
The best option is the Rome in a Day tour by Walks of Italy which goes to the Colosseum, the Vatican and the Historic Center of Rome. Walks of Italy is one of the most reputable operators in Europe, and this is one of their best reviewed tours.
For something more budget friendly, you can consider this tour by Tiqets which includes a visit of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.
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 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 good option if you’d rather have a guided tour. Passes can be valid for 24, 48, 72 hours or more, depending on which one you buy.
Once you get your Roma Pass, you will have to make separate reservations to the attractions you intend to visit, unless you get the new Rome city card which gives you the option of booking everything online on the same engine and on the day you buy it.
There is an additional €2 booking fee for holders of the Roma Pass, and you will have to show your Roma Pass upon entering the Colosseum.
Here are the best options:
The Rome City Card allows you to book a time-slot for the attractions you intend to visit at the time of purchase. It includes the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, and a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica.
This more comprehensive pass includes access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, as well as the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. It includes an audio-guide at St. Peter’s Basilica, unlimited public transport and a hop-on hop-off bus tour.
Finally, there’s the option of getting this Rome attractions card by which you can pick the number of attractions you intend to visit in the city – up to seven.
Other Useful Information For Visiting The Colosseum
Can you buy Colosseum tickets at the door?
Yes, there is a ticket office located right in front of the Colosseum that sells strictly same day Colosseum tickets whenever there is availability. However, I do not recommend this as a way of getting your tickets.
With so many tourists in Rome, the Colosseum observes a strict time slot policy, which means that while you may be able to buy Colosseum tickets at the door, you won’t necessarily be able to visit on the spot, but would have to go with the next available time slot.
This may be ok if you visit in the off season (but there hardly is an off season in Rome) or if you are incredibly lucky, but most of the time you may end up showing up at the physical ticket office only to find out that there are no tickets available.
You really should not give this a chance and book your tickets in advance.
Book in advance
If you want to visit the Colosseum during your trip to Rome, getting tickets in advance is pretty much a must. Getting tickets at the door is very difficult! In this post, I have given you plenty of options on how to book Colosseum tickets, so you should be all set.
Same-day bookings are generally accepted during the week, but 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 +390639967700.
Full Experience tickets are more easily available on the same day at weekends.
Colosseum opening hours
The Colosseum is open daily but Colosseum opening hours vary depending on the season. They are as follows:
- 1 September to 30 September – 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.
- 1 October to 28 October – 9:00 am to 6:30 pm.
- 29 October to 28 February – from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.
- 1 March to 25 March – 9:00 am to 5:30 pm.
- 26 March to 31 August – 9:00 am to 7:15 pm.
Last access is one hour before closing time.
The site is closed on December 25th.
How much time do you need to visit the Colosseum?
It depends. If you have a plain skip-the-line ticket and only want to visit the Colosseum, I’d say one hour is about enough time. If you also want to visit the Underground level, you need a guided tour and this will usually also include a visit of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. In this case, you need to factor in about 2.5 to 3 hours.
How much are tickets to the Colosseum?
These are the prices as per the official website:
- Adults €18 (€16+€2 booking fee);
- 18 to 25 years old Italian and European Union Citizens €4 (€2+€2 booking fee);
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);
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.
In the case of both tickets, visitors below 18 years of age get in for free: they must still book a time slot for their visit, but don’t have to pay the booking fee.
Audioguides cost €5.50.
Roman Colosseum tickets bought on the official website can’t be reimbursed or changed to another date or to even another time slot on the same day.
If you are entitled to a free ticket, you must collect your ticket at the desk at the Colosseum or at the desk located in Largo della Salara Vecchia.
Visiting the Colosseum is free on April 25th and June 2nd, which are national holidays in Italy, and on November 4th – but on these occasions you can’t book a time slot.
You will have to get your tickets in person at the ticket desk in Piazza del Colosseo, by the Tempio di Venere e Roma.
Please be advised that there usually are very long lines on free visits day.
What to do if tickets to the Colosseum are sold out
If you visit Rome during the busy summer months, of if you planning a last minute trip, you may be unable to get last minute Colosseum tickets on the official site.
If that’s the case, your best option is to look for tickets on third-party booking sites, or to join a guided tour. The latter usually have more availability.
You can find last minute Colosseum tickets on Tiqets here. It’s one of the best third-party booking sites.
You can also book this very well reviewed guided tour that also includes the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
I also recommend this excellent Gladiator’s Gate: Special Access Colosseum Tour with Arena Floor by Walks of Italy – it is a very thorough tour of the site.
A good in-between option that is a bit more budget friendly and has lots of availability may be this ticket with multi-media video – it accesses the Colosseum via the entrance dedicated to group tours, but it’s just an escorted ticket without a live guide. You can add an audio-guide, and watch a video for some background information about the Colosseum.
Before visiting the Colosseum, you will have to go through strict security checks and have your bags scanned.
There are two separate lines – one of guided tours and one for holders of individual tickets. Security checks appear to be quicker at the dedicated gate for guided groups.
Avoid carrying large backpacks or bags – bring in just a small purse / daypack and your camera. Other items that are not allowed include wheeled suitcases, knives, sharp objects and spray bottles.
Leave any forbidden items in your room, as there is no cloak room at the Colosseum (more about nearby luggage storage in a bit).
Toilets at the Colosseum
There are eight toilets at the Colosseum. The toilets are designed to be accessible for all visitors with varying levels of mobility. Baby changing facilities are available on the second level of the Colosseum.
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, and three wheelchairs are available on the site, one on the main floor, one by the information desk and one by the security desk.
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.
Visiting the Colosseum with a dog
You can’t visit the Colosseum with a dog, unless it is a pet-therapy or a guide dog. If this is the case, you will need to show relevant documentation to take your dog inside.
Luggage storage facilities near the Colosseum
The closest luggage storage is in Piazza d’Ara Coeli 16, by Piazza Venezia where the Altar of the Fatherland is located. From there it’s a short walk to the Colosseum.
You will also find luggage storage in Rome Termini train station, from where you can hop on Metro B to the Colosseum. You must book it in advance here.
How to get to the Colosseum
The main entrance to the Colosseum is by the Sperone Valadier, close to the Arch of Constantine.
You can get there by subway: take line B takes and get off at Colosseo. Otherwise, use tram 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: from Piazza Venezia it is a short walk along the beautiful Via dei Fori Imperiali.
Additional tips and information
Eating and drinking
There are lots of restaurants and cafés in the area around the Colosseum, but no concession stands inside. You can certainly take your bottle of water (there is a refilling station close to the subway station), but eating inside is not permitted (though many visitors completely disregard this rule).
Scams and Pickpockets
The area around the Colosseum is packed with touts and pickpockets. Police always patrols the area, but just keep your eyes open. Beware that the guys dressed in gladiator costumes will require a fee for a photo, and stay away from anyone offering friendship bracelets.
You should also read my post The Worst Scams And Pickpockets In Rome.
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: