How to Buy Tickets for the Colosseum and the Vatican

The Colosseum and the Roman Forum were the epicentre of Ancient Rome. The Vatican, with its Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica are the city's greatest works of art. Both places are essential in Rome. Here's how to get the most out of them by making a combined visit.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

11 min read

How to Buy Tickets for the Colosseum and the Vatican

View of the Vatican | © Mathew Schwartz

To the question "what can't I miss in Rome"? The answer is indeed "the Colosseum and the Vatican". No trip to Rome is complete without a stop at these two iconic sites.

Both the Colosseum in Rome and the Vatican Museums receive thousands and thousands of visitors every day, so both must be visited with a ticket. If you don't want to spend hours in a queue or run the risk of not getting in, it is advisable to book in advance. That's why I recommend buying this combined ticket for the Colosseum and the Vatican online in advance. This way you can fully dedicate yourself to enjoying the magic and history that beautiful Rome has to offer.

Colosseum and Vatican Combination Ticket Prices

Detail of the Colosseum| ©Unsplash
Detail of the Colosseum| ©Unsplash

You can choose to buy tickets to the Colosseum and Roman Forum + Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. This pack of tickets will allow you to enjoy the most emblematic monuments of the Italian capital such as the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum.

You will have all the tickets included and you will be able to use them for 3 days, for an estimated price of 82 euros. I recommend this option if you want to freely explore the city and its attractions, dedicating as much time as you want to each one.

It is best to book this option in advance and online to be able to compare schedules and availability and above all, so you don't end up paying the price of the tickets separately after long queues at both ticket offices. You can always book a guided tour of the Vatican and a guided tour of the Colosseum separately, but doing it in combination will save you time and money.

Book a guided tour of the Colosseum

How to buy tickets for the Colosseum and the Vatican on your own

Vatican Dome| ©Javier Martinez
Vatican Dome| ©Javier Martinez

For both the Colosseum and the Vatican you can buy your tickets online on their respective websites, as well as on different tourism and culture portals.

The Colosseum also has physical ticket offices where you can buy tickets directly, although you may encounter endless queues and waiting times. For the Vatican, on the other hand, you can only buy the tickets that give access to the dome of St. Peter's Basilica in person.

Definitely the best option if you don't want to miss out on these jewels of Roman history is to buy your tickets in advance online. That way you don't have to think and speculate about time and money.

Buy skip the line tickets for the Colosseum

How to get discounted tickets to the Colosseum and the Vatican

Outside the Colosseum| ©Palumbos
Outside the Colosseum| ©Palumbos

The following people are eligible for discounts:

  • Accredited Italian teachers
  • Teachers specialising in Art History accompanying a group can get free or reduced price admission
  • Disabled persons and their accompanying members of the social or health services
  • Official guides and tourist interpreters from the EU, provided that they gain access in the exercise of their professional activity.
  • Accredited Art History and Secondary School teachers
  • Teachers and students of Architecture, Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Educational Sciences and Literature or literary subjects with archaeological or art-historical direction.
  • Children under 18 years of age, accompanied by an adult, can access reduced prices.

In addition to these benefits for those who meet the above requirements, the Coliseum opens its doors free of charge on the first Sunday of every month. However, the queues are usually endless, so if you choose this option, I recommend you get up early and be patient.

Buy skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican

What is included in the combined ticket to the Colosseum and the Vatican?

St. Peter's Basilica| ©Unsplash
St. Peter's Basilica| ©Unsplash

Tickets to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

The Colosseum ticket is a full ticket which also includes a visit to the Roman Forum, the huge esplanade with the archaeological remains that was once the epicentre of the city's social life, and to the Palatine Hill, the most central of Rome's seven hills and one of the oldest points in the city. These three points are very close to each other and are included in the tour.

Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica Tickets

When we talk about tickets to the Vatican we are actually referring to the entrance to the Vatican Museums, one of the largest art collections in Europe. The area in which the Vatican City is located has two main points of interest: the Museums and St. Peter's Basilica, which is free of charge. The joint tour of the Vatican and the Colosseum also includes a visit to the Basilica.

Book skip-the-line tickets for the Colosseum

Does it pay to buy a combined ticket?

Sistine Chapel| ©Unsplash
Sistine Chapel| ©Unsplash

Yes, if you had to buy both tickets separately, you would end up spending more time and more money. Here is a summary of the main advantages of a combined ticket:

  • Save hours of waiting time (yes, hours, plural) at both sites, because by booking your tickets in advance you can access both sites immediately and in perfect order.
  • Better organisation. I always like to leave room for improvisation when I travel and let myself get carried away by the city in question. However, there are always places that you have to see and the fact that they are so mythical means that they are full of tourists and that visiting them sometimes involves added stress (you have to calculate times, how to get there, schedules, waiting...) that can even tarnish the experience of the visit.
  • You save on both tickets: By buying the offer with the pack of these Rome must-sees you will spend less money than if you buy them separately. Check it out and let me know!

Buy skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican

Another option: take a guided tour of the Colosseum and the Vatican

Old paper entrance to the Colosseum| ©Unsplash
Old paper entrance to the Colosseum| ©Unsplash

The good thing about buying this guided tour with tickets to the Colosseum and the Vatican is that the organisation you have to take care of will be minimal; you just have to be at the meeting point at the agreed time and follow the guide through the headphones you will be provided with. Even so, here are a few things you should know:

The meeting point

The meeting point may vary depending on the time of the year, but it will be a central location such as Piazza del Risorgimento, so you won't have any problem getting there either on foot if you are staying in the centre of Rome (the city is generally quite accessible for walking) or by public transport. In any case, once you book the tour you can ask how to get to the site and they will tell you how to get there.

Ticket dates

When booking tickets for the Colosseum and the Vatican as part of the joint tour, you must book them for a specific day. If you have any unforeseen circumstances, please cancel 24 hours in advance for a full refund. The tour organisers will arrange the times to visit each of the points on the tour. However, the departure time will be early, so expect to get up early.

Duration of the visit

The duration of the visit will be around nine hours in total for both sites. Of those nine hours, 2 to 3 hours will be dedicated to the Colosseum and the same to the Vatican Museums. I'm not going to lie to you: it's going to be an intense day, but in my opinion it's more worth it than doing the Colosseum on one side and the Vatican on the other.


This tour includes a headset with audio available in several languages: Spanish, English, French, German, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Lunch information

Food is not included so, although you will be given a lunch break, I recommend that you take some snacks in your backpack and a couple of drinks, so you can kill your hunger if you need to. You'll find plenty of food stalls and restaurants in both areas, though. Here are the best places to eat near the Vatican and here are the best places to eat near the Colosseum.

Visit the Colosseum and Vatican with kids

If you are planning to do this tour with children, keep in mind that they might end up very tired... If they are interested in art, it won't be a problem because they will have a lot of things to see, but if they are too young, choose another option for your visit to the Colosseum and the Vatican. If you are interested, you can read these tips for visiting the Colosseum with children.

About the Colosseum

Roman Colosseum| ©Unsplash
Roman Colosseum| ©Unsplash

The Colosseum is the past of Rome, a Rome of greatness, emperors and gladiators, but also a Rome of the people since it was precisely in this amphitheatre where the Roman population gathered to attend the famous gladiator fights and wild animal fights. Something you should definitely see if you go to Rome.

Interesting details

  • It is the most visited monument in all of Italy.
  • It was built around 72 BC by the emperor Vespasian, who was a professional soldier who later became emperor.
  • That, in case you were wondering, it owes its name to the statue "Colossus of Nero" in front of the amphitheatre.
  • Although now only 3000 people can enter the amphitheatre, its stands had a capacity for 55,000 spectators. If it were a football stadium, its capacity would put it in fifth place among the largest in Italy.

About the Vatican

Colonnade in St Peter's Square| ©Unsplash
Colonnade in St Peter's Square| ©Unsplash

The Vatican, meanwhile, exudes magnificence and ostentation; it is a present marked by the power of religion. The Catholic Church is headquartered in the city of Rome (specifically Vatican City, which is considered a separate state) and you can't help but gawk at its wealth.

Don't miss St. Peter's Basilica, its dome, St. Peter's Square and the Vatican Museums, where you'll find the marvellous Sistine Chapel. I will also tell you what you have to see in the Vatican Museums to make the most of your visit:

Interesting details

  • All the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel (highlighting 'The Creation of Adam' or 'The Last Judgement') by artists such as Michelangelo and Botticelli.
  • You cannot miss paintings by Raphael such as 'The Transfiguration' (his last painting), 'The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple', 'Parnassus' or 'The School of Athens'.
  • Its museums house well-known sculptures such as 'Laooconte and his sons' or the 'Apollo of the Belvedere'.
  • In St. Peter's Basilica you will find the famous "Pietà" by Michelangelo.
  • The view from the top of the dome, which is open to the public, is probably one of the best in Rome.

Practical advice for your visit to the Colosseum and the Vatican

St. Peter's Square prepared for a religious celebration| ©Unsplash
St. Peter's Square prepared for a religious celebration| ©Unsplash

How to dress

If you go in summer, Rome is extremely hot. In the Roman Forum in particular, temperatures are high and there is no shade, so you'll need to bring water, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.

In the Colosseum there are parts that are shaded, but there is also more sun. You'll think: great, I'll wear the coolest clothes I have for the day of the visit. Wrong! A tip for visiting the Vatican: they won't let you in with bare shoulders or in clothes that are too short. You will have to carry a scarf in your backpack and wear it over your shoulders to enter St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums.

An essential tip for visiting the Colosseum and the Roman Forum: wear comfortable shoes, otherwise the nine-hour tour can take a long time. Although it may seem obvious, do not wear brand new shoes.

Do not take a large backpack or luggage, as you will not be allowed to pass with these items at any of the sites.

Don't get separated from the group

Keep track of your time during the tour. They will wait for you if you are a little late, but that means not only that you will slow down the whole group, but also that at the next attraction you see you will have less time and you will have to see it faster. Organised tours are not a time to buy gifts or explore the area at your leisure; you'll have time for that.


Don't forget to carry your phone and camera. I'm not saying this (at all) because you'll be looking at your phone; it would be a shame if you did. I say this because if you are going to take photos of the tour (and not taking them will be very difficult) you might run out of battery (you are going to see a lot of things). Personally, what I do when I travel, if I don't have my camera with me or I don't want to carry it too much and I'm going to use my mobile phone, is to put my phone on aeroplane mode (so I can take advantage of it and disconnect) and only use the camera.

Guided tours of the Colosseum and the Vatican

Visit to the Colosseum| ©Juliana Malta
Visit to the Colosseum| ©Juliana Malta

If you are looking for a detailed and in-depth visit to the Colosseum and the Vatican, this option is not for you. The time to visit both sites will be restricted as the priority will be to see all the sites on the tour as comfortably as possible, but not to explore them in depth.

If you are looking for a longer and more detailed guided tour in which each of the wonders you will see will be explained to you, I recommend you to book the Colosseum guided tour or the Vatican Museums guided tour, of which I have also written articles so that you can evaluate all the information. Here you can read the The best guided tours of the Vatican ⛪ and here the one by Rome Colosseum Tours.

Roma Pass and Omnia Card: the tourist card to visit the Colosseum and the Vatican

Inside St. Peter's Basilica| ©Unsplash
Inside St. Peter's Basilica| ©Unsplash

The best option to take advantage of the tourist pass at these attractions is the Roma Pass and Omnia Card, as with it you can choose to enter for free to two tourist attractions that do not necessarily have to be the Colosseum or the Vatican. Also, with this card you can use the city transport for free, so you will use it to go to the meeting point of the tour and return from there at the end of the day.

In any case, my advice is not to get carried away and before investing in a city pass, make sure you do your homework. You can read here all the detailed information about Rome Pass and other passes.

Buy your Roma Pass and Omnia Card

If you are interested in visiting the Colosseum and the Vatican, you will also be interested in

Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Jimmy Harris
Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Jimmy Harris

With this option you'll see the two great wonders of Rome, but there's so much more to see. With the peace of mind of having covered the essentials, my advice is to organise your visit for the rest of the days to locate the most important fountains, sights, palaces and squares of the eternal city and visit them on foot.

If you're looking for more impressive monuments after this tour, don't miss the Pantheon, Castel Sant'Angelo or churches such as Santa Maria Maggiore or Santa Maria in Trastevere. If, on the other hand, what impresses you most on this tour are the Vatican Museums, be sure to visit the Borghese Gallery. If you want, you can read more information in my post on Borghese Gardens and Gallery Tours & Tickets.

If what you want is a more extensive guided tour of the city, I have also prepared a post about my favourites, so read here everything you need to know about Top 11 tours of Rome.

Buy skip the line tickets for the Vatican