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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 emblematic points of the city.

Both the Colosseum in Rome and the Vatican Museums receive many thousands of visitors every day and, in both places, you have to get in with a ticket and, if you don't want to spend hours in a queue or run the risk of being left without a ticket, 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.

The best option
Rome: Vatican Museums and Colosseum Skip-the-Line Tour

Get into the Vatican and the Colosseum at the best price, with this money-saving package.

Perfect if you don't want to leave Rome without visiting two of its most emblematic places: the Vatican, with its famous Sistine Chapel, and the Roman Colosseum with its Forum, where you will take a real trip back in time.

Duration: 9 hours
From £77 at Hellotickets

With this option you will gain peace of mind to make the most of your time in the Eternal City, ensuring you visit its two main landmarks without queuing for miles in the sun. Plan these two visits in advance and dedicate the rest of your time to wander the streets of Rome, to look up and marvel at its statues and buildings, to feel the essence of history in every corner and to taste the best pizza and pasta dishes without rushing. It will be worth it.

The best thing about this option is that you will be accompanied by an expert local guide who will explain the most important aspects of each of the places you visit. What's more, by concentrating the two visits in one day, you'll free up your travel schedule for the following days and you'll be able to explore the city at your own pace, at your own pace.

Recommended if... you are thinking of visiting both places. You should also know that this is the most economical option, as if you book both tours separately, you will end up paying a higher price.


What's included in the combined ticket to the Colosseum and the Vatican

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

Guided tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

The Colosseum ticket is a full ticket that 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.

Guided tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica

Vatican tickets actually refer to the entrance ticket for 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.

How much does it cost to buy a ticket to the Colosseum and the Vatican?

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

Buying the combined ticket to the Colosseum and Vatican will cost you around 100 € in Hellotickets and you will have, in addition, access without queues and you will make the visit accompanied by a local expert guide who will explain you the most relevant of the Vatican and the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.

It is best to book this option in advance and online so you can compare times and availability, and above all, so you don't end up paying separate ticket prices 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.

How much does it cost to buy a combined ticket?

Sistine Chapel| ©Unsplash
Sistine Chapel| ©Unsplash

Yes, if you had to buy both tickets separately or book the guided tours 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 (yes, hours, plural) at both sites, as 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.
  • Access to a specialised guide who will explain interesting things about the places of interest and who you can also ask about curiosities or local recommendations so that your visit to the city is even more authentic.
  • Guided tours included: If you decide to buy the combined ticket for the Colosseum and the Vatican, guided tours of the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill, the Arch of Constantine and the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica are also included.

Organise your joint visit to 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 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're staying in the centre of Rome (the city is generally quite accessible for walking) or by public transport. In any case, once you've booked your tour, you can ask for directions to the site and they'll tell you how to get there.

Date of the tickets

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.

Language

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

Lunch information

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

Visit the Colosseum and the Vatican with children

If you are planning to do this tour with children, keep in mind that they may 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 3,000 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 of St. Peter's Square| ©Unsplash
Colonnade of 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 based 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'll also tell you what you have to see in the Vatican Museums to make the most of your visit:

Interesting details

  • All the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel (highlighting 'The Creation of Adam' or 'The Last Judgement') by artists such as Michelangelo or 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.

Useful tips 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 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, don't wear brand new shoes.

Don't take a large backpack or luggage, as you won't be allowed to pass through with such items at either site.

Don't get separated from the group

Keep track of your time on the route. They will wait for you if you are running a little late, but that means not only that you will slow down the whole group, but also that the next attraction you see 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.

Photographs

Don't forget to charge your mobile 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 on trips, if I don't have my camera with me or I don't want to carry a lot of power and I'm going to use my mobile, is to put my phone in aeroplane mode (so I can take advantage of the situation and disconnect) and use only the camera.

Guided tours of the Colosseum and the Vatican

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

If you are looking for a detailed, in-depth tour of 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 are going to see are explained, I recommend you to book the Colosseum guided tour or the Vatican Museums guided tour, of which I have also written articles so you can evaluate all the information. Here you can read Best Vatican guided tours 's article and here Rome Colosseum Tours's article.

Roma Pass and Omnia Card: the tourist card for visiting 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 it 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 all the detailed information about Rome Pass and other passes here.

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

With this option you will see the two great wonders of Rome, but there is 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 are 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 about 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 Best Rome Tours.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the advantage of buying a combined ticket?

    If you want to visit the Colosseum and the Vatican Museums, buying tickets together will save you money and allow you to enjoy a guided tour of both sites.

  • What is the etiquette for visiting the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum?

    For the Vatican Museums, the only rule is that both women and men must cover their knees and shoulders. In the Colosseum there is no specific rule, so you can uncover your shoulders (if it's very hot you'll appreciate it). However, I recommend that you bring a cap or scarf to cover yourself from the sun, as there is little shade in the Colosseum.

  • Is it possible to take photos inside the Vatican Museums and inside the Colosseum?

    Inside the Colosseum you won't have any problems, you can take as many photos as you want. In the Vatican Museums, you will find restrictions only in the Sistine Chapel. The guide will remind you anyway.