The Colosseum is the heart of Rome. When you see it, your traveller's soul shrinks a little. You've seen it in photos, films... but when you look up and see it live, you realise that you're finally in Rome. Find out everything you need to know about tickets: how to buy them, prices and opening times.
Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill: skip the line tickets at the box office
Perfect if you want to discover the best of Ancient Rome by purchasing your tickets in advance and with priority access.
With these tickets you can see the inside of the world famous Colosseum, the most famous amphitheatre in the world. I assure you that no matter how many times you see it from the outside and take pictures of its façade, its interior is, if possible, even more amazing. Moreover, you will have access without having to queue at the ticket office, which will save you a lot of time and will include an audio guide that will allow you to learn all about its history and the secrets it hides.
This ticket also allows you to visit the Palatine Hill, which is the most central of the seven hills of Rome and one of the oldest parts of the city. You will also be able to access the Roman Forum, the central area of ancient Rome, a huge esplanade with archaeological remains that, if you manage to enjoy them outside the hot hours, will leave you impressed.
Why choose these tickets: this is the cheapest option to visit the inside of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill without the long queues at the ticket office.
Recommended if... you want to access the inside of the Colosseum and visit the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill at a very affordable price with priority access.
How to book tickets for the Colosseum
The best thing to do, as with virtually all visits in Rome, is to book your tickets online and in advance. Bear in mind that the Roman Colosseum can hold up to 3,000 people and queues at the ticket office can last for hours. Booking tickets to the Colosseum in Rome in advance is the first tip for any visit to the city. On websites such as Hellotickets you will find the best price for both entrance tickets and guided tours and, in addition, you will have the right to free cancellation,
. The best of all is that by purchasing your tickets for the Colosseum you will also have access to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Remember that you can also complete your visit by adding a guided tour or taking an audio guide.
If you're wondering how much tickets or tours cost, I'll tell you more in detail later, but adult tickets can be had for around €24 and guided tours are usually no more than €40, depending on whether you book them in high season, whether you want an express tour or a more complete visit that also takes you through the Forum, etc.
Tickets including guided tours of the Colosseum: is it worth it?
Absolutely yes. The dimensions of the Colosseum, the amount of details it preserves, its stories and anecdotes during Ancient Rome and, of course, the walk through the Roman Forum, are not the same with an expert guide. During a guided tour of the Colosseum you'll make the most of your time: you'll know where and what to look for, you'll understand what you see and you'll go home with a lot of memories.
Another great advantage of visiting the Colosseum with a guide is that there are many timetables available in English, so you won't have to worry about doing the tour in English. On the other hand, and depending on how much time you have (or want to spend), you can choose between full tours that take you around the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum or express tours that only show you the inside of the amphitheatre.
And of all the guided tours offered at the Colosseum, you can also choose between those that include a visit to the Arena and the Gladiators' Gate or those that are limited to a tour of the amphitheatre from the stands. As you can see, there are options, budgets and tastes for everyone, so there's no excuse not to join a guided tour - you won't regret it!
How to buy tickets for the Roman Forum
Tickets to the Roman Forum are included with admission to the Colosseum and with virtually all of its guided tours. Therefore, although it is a paid area, you will not need to pay extra or buy a separate ticket.
If you decide to take a guided tour, the guide will accompany you throughout the entire route, in the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. If you prefer to visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum on your own, you can visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum on different days.
Get your tickets to the Colosseum and the Vatican combined
Yes, you read that right. There is a way to save time and money by getting your Colosseum and Vatican tickets together. Both are not to be missed during your trip to Rome, so I encourage you to get tickets that will give you access to both attractions.
During the visit, you will be accompanied by an expert guide at all times and you will also have priority access, so you can skip the queues at the Vatican and the Colosseum.
Visit the Colosseum Arena
If you are planning your visit to the Colosseum, you should know that there is the option to go down to the Arena of the amphitheatre itself, in order to have a unique perspective of its stands and a much more detailed view of its tunnels and underground galleries.
This part of the visit is, for me, the most interesting: you will feel like a real gladiator and you will complete the experience by visiting a unique part that not everyone has access to (the capacity is more limited and you can only visit it as part of a guided tour, accompanied by an expert guide). For more details, you can read my article about the visit to the Arena and the underground of the Colosseum.
How much does it really cost to enter the Colosseum?
You can get a single ticket for €17 at the box office, but you will have to wait in long queues in the sun. It's best to buy your tickets online in advance.
An express guided tour of the Colosseum, which lasts about an hour, costs about €40 and for a little more (€46) you'll get full access to the guided tour of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
Are there any discounts to enter the Colosseum?
There are no discount coupons or free tickets to the Colosseum as such, but there are reduced rates for teachers, children, art students and people with disabilities.
If you want to know more about what you can see for free or how to get cheap tickets and discounts for the Colosseum.
Colosseum opening hours and days
The Colosseum is open all year round except for Christmas and New Year's Day. Although the opening and closing times are always the same, please note that the last admission of visitors will be one hour before closing time.
My recommendation: if you have decided to buy your ticket at the ticket office, get up (very) early. You can check the Colosseum opening times here.
To control the influx of tourists, whether or not you buy your tickets in advance, you must select an entry time. The last admission is one hour before closing time and you must be at the ticket office (no queues) 30 minutes before the selected time. You may only be 15 minutes later than the selected time. Once inside, there is no time limit beyond opening hours.
Get your tickets to the Colosseum with the Roma Pass
There are so many things to see and do in Rome that if you are going to be in the city for any length of time you will probably already be considering purchasing a pass like the Roma Pass, which saves you time and money on your visits to the most emblematic monuments.
The Roma Pass includes free entry to the Colosseum with an audio guide and allows you to avoid the queues. You can also visit St. Peter's Basilica and other museums with preferential access and audio guide with 20% discount. It also includes the transfer to and from Ciampino or Fiumicino airports.
You have the option to buy it for 48 or 72 hours and during that time you can use all city transport for free. As well as discounts or preferential access at certain museums, with this card you can choose one or two museums of your choice for free entry. Read more about it here: Rome Pass and other passes.
Buy tickets to the Colosseum at the ticket office
If you decide to buy your tickets on the day at the ticket office even though you may encounter long queues, I recommend you go early (even before the ticket office opens at 8:30) or buy them at the ticket office on the Palatine Hill, where there are usually fewer people.
If you still decide to buy your tickets "the old-fashioned way", i.e. at the ticket office, I recommend you bring a hat or cap and a soft drink or bottle of water, as the wait is usually under the sun (there is very little shade in the area).
Best day of the week and time of day to enter the Colosseum
As for your choice of entrance time: avoid the hot hours (which in Rome are very, very hot hours). Of course, the Colosseum has more shade than the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill; keep this in mind if you are going to visit them on the same day.
Another tip I can give you is to avoid public holidays and week ends as much as possible. There are usually more people than usual and this can dampen your experience, as you will have to "sort through" walkers in the Roman Forum.
How to get to the Colosseum
The Colosseum is within walking distance of the centre of Rome, so if you are staying in a central area I recommend the walk; it is beautiful and Rome is a city to be discovered on foot. As a guideline, Google tells us that it is a 20-minute walk from the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain.
In any case, you can take a taxi to Piazza del Colosseo 1 or, if you are a bit further from the centre and don't want to spend too much, take the metro line B to the Colosseo stop or use buses C3, 60, 81, 85, 87, 175, 628 or tram number 3.
The Colosseum is Rome's most emblematic monument, so you won't have any trouble getting there whether you ask on public transport or get disoriented on foot. If you want to organise a visit to the Colosseum in detail, here is my article on how to get to the Colosseum.
How long does it take to visit the Colosseum?
Although it would be ideal to have all the time in the world to visit each of Rome's monuments, the truth is that when we go on a trip we are almost always watching the clock. That is why it will help to know that the estimated duration of the visit to the Colosseum in depth is between 2 and 3 hours approximately. You can see it in less time, but at least 1 long hour to go without rushing.
If you are organising your visit and you want to plan everything in a time-efficient way, I recommend my article on the duration of the visit to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
Where to eat near the Colosseum
Inside the Colosseum you won't find any food, but you might find a street stall nearby for a snack.
However, my advice is to hold your hunger until you finish the combined visit to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum (if you start early, it is feasible) and then look for a restaurant further away from the area to save on price and gain in quality.
Visit the Colosseum with kids
The Roman amphitheatre is a great place to visit with children (remember that children under 18 don't pay admission); especially those who like Roman stories will have a great time running around the corridors.
Remember to bring plenty of water and liquids to keep them hydrated and protect them from the sun with hats, sunglasses and sunscreen. To organise your family trip, I recommend you read my article on visiting the Colosseum with children.
Virtual tour of the Colosseum
If you want your trip to Ancient Rome through its amphitheatre to be even more complete, the virtual reality entrance option is available. It is also available without queues and with an audio guide in several languages and virtual reality goggles at your disposal throughout the visit. It is an ideal option if you are looking for a different experience that takes you directly to the first century without leaving the steps of the Colosseum.
This guided tour of the Colosseum is undoubtedly the most original and informative (and certainly a good choice if you are travelling with your family, as the younger ones won't want to miss any detail of the virtual reality). During the tour of the Colosseum, in addition to the guide's commentary, you will wear virtual reality goggles, which will represent the steps of the Colosseum as they were in Ancient Rome. It is a totally immersive and complete experience.
What to bring on your visit to the Colosseum and other tips
If you are already convinced that a visit to the most famous amphitheatre in the world is a must on your trip to Rome, you just need to take into account the following points to make your visit much more comfortable and adapted to your needs.
I leave this information here, but if you want to know more details, you can consult my guide on tips for visiting the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
- You can enter with a small or medium-sized backpack, but you will have to pass through the metal detector. Forget camping backpacks, bulky bags or suitcases and trolleys; you will have to leave them at the ticket office at the entrance for an extra charge.
- The Colosseum is accessible for people with reduced mobility: there are three wheelchairs on the first floor and five wheelchairs at the main entrances to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
- When you discover the dimensions of the Colosseum you will want to take a thousand and one photos: I recommend that you set aside some time for this before or after the visit and look for a good perspective from the surrounding corners.
- It is essential to bring plenty of water, sun cream and sun protection. In the Colosseum there are many sunny areas where it is very hot and the high temperatures can spoil your visit. I would like to take this opportunity to give you some tips on what to do in Rome in summer.
- If you are interested in an in-depth visit to the Colosseum, you can rent an audio guide, hire a virtual reality tour or, for the TOP level, check out the info on guided tours.
- If you want to use the official audio-guide or video-guide, you will have to ask for it at the ticket office. The first one lasts one hour and 10 minutes and the second one lasts 45 minutes. The audio-guide costs approximately 5.50 euros and the video-guide costs 6 euros; both will be returned at the end of the visit.
- From my point of view, it is a good idea to do both visits in one day and leave the rest of your days to enjoy a pizza, take pleasant walks through its narrow streets or enjoy the nights in Trastevere....
- It is best to buy your tickets online in advance to get a good price for Colosseum tickets.
Ana's Traveller's Tip
Get up as early as you can to visit the Colosseum with a reasonable number of tourists and you will enjoy a more relaxed and less hot visit.
What you need to know before your visit to the Colosseum in Rome
Probably one of Rome's most iconic monuments, the Colosseum was commissioned in 72 AD by Emperor Vespasian and was used as an amphitheatre for performances that were free to the people. The main events at the Colosseum in Rome were the famous gladiator fights and wild animal fights.
The Colosseum is the most famous amphitheatre in the world and one of the most visited monuments; of the six million tourists who visit Rome every year, five million do not leave the city without strolling through its 80 arched entrances, observing its three floors of columns, walking the galleries, watching the arena from the stands and marvelling at the network of underground rooms where the animals were kept.
The history of this marvel of Roman architecture (whose name comes from a huge statue of the "Colossus of Nero" that stood next to the amphitheatre) could fill libraries, but it is better to discover it by exploring its nooks and crannies. To do that, the first step is to get your tickets for the Roman Colosseum.
If you are interested in visiting the Colosseum, you will also be interested in
If you are interested in visiting the Colosseum and ancient history, you might also be interested in visiting Pompeii. You can read this post I made about Pompeii Day Trips from Rome.
If after visiting the Colosseum you want to continue walking the streets of the city, the best thing to do is to hire a guided tour so you don't miss any detail. There is also the option of taking a guided tour of the city at night, where you can contemplate all its illuminated splendour. In this guide, I will summarise what I consider to be the most important sights. Top 11 tours of Rome.