The Colosseum is one of Rome's (and the world's) most popular monuments, and every day it welcomes thousands of visitors eager to see its galleries, its intricacies and its spectacular stands.
Getting tickets to the Colosseum is easy. There is quite a varied offer on the Internet (I recommend 100% avoiding the long queues at the ticket offices) and, unfortunately, it is difficult to find discounts and practically impossible to find free tickets.
However, there are always exceptions. Read on to see if you are one of those who have access to cheaper tickets for the Colosseum.
Visit the Colosseum with direct access without queuing at the ticket office and at the best price.
With skip-the-line tickets you can tour the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill at your own pace with a digital audio guide at a very reasonable price.
This is one of the most famous and therefore most visited monuments in Rome, so the best idea is to buy your tickets online in advance to avoid the long queues at the ticket offices. Thanks to these digital tickets for the Colosseum, you won't have to print anything, just show them at the access point. What's more, they are cheap tickets, as they include access to the three monuments: the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
With the digital audio guide that you can download you will be able to visit the three great monuments, understanding the historical context and the value they represent for Roman history and for the world in general.
Recommended if... If you want to travel back in time and discover what it was like at the height of the Roman Empire's splendour.
Who can benefit from reduced-rate tickets to the Colosseum?
Certain groups are entitled to free or reduced-price tickets. The following is a general list of people who are eligible for discounts:
- Italian teachers who are properly accredited
- Teachers specialising in History of Art accompanying a group can also check whether they are entitled to free or reduced price tickets.
- Disabled persons and their accompanying members of the health and social services.
- Official guides and tourist interpreters from the EU who are working in their professional activity.
- Art history and secondary school teachers who are properly accredited.
- Teachers and students of Architecture, Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Educational Sciences and Literature or literary subjects with archaeological or art-historical direction.
Children have access to tickets at a reduced rate
Children under 18 years of age do not have to pay the full price when buying tickets to the Colosseum, but must always be accompanied by an adult. However, they must always be accompanied by an adult.
Also on guided tours of the Colosseum they are entitled to a discounted tour. For example, a guided tour that costs around 58 € for an adult, a child under 18 can get it at a lower price. However, they will need to bring an ID document at the entrance to the Colosseum to verify their age.
How to get cheap tickets to the Roman Forum
Here you're in luck: almost all Colosseum tickets and guided tours also include a visit to the Roman Forum, so you won't need to queue or pay extra to visit the archaeological area of the Forum.
Therefore, the aforementioned discounts and reduced rates will also apply to the Roman Forum. The Palatine Hill is also included in the vast majority of tickets and visits to the Colosseum and Forum. However, if you want to visit the Palatine Museum you should make sure that your ticket includes Full Access to all areas of the Colosseum and its surroundings.
When is it free to enter the Colosseum
On the first Sunday of every month, the Colosseum opens its doors for free to all visitors who wish to tour the interior. As you can imagine, the queues are enormous and the large crowds can spoil the visit. If you are determined to make the most of the occasion, I recommend you get up very early and be there early in the morning: it will be the only way to secure your place in the world's most coveted amphitheatre.
How can I save on tickets to the Colosseum?
Another way to reduce the cost of your visit to the Colosseum is to purchase the Roma Pass. If you plan to visit several of the city's museums and monuments, you may want to buy this tourist card, which gives you access to them at a "flat rate" price.
For more details, check out my article on how it works and everything you need to know about the Roma Pass.
Save money with your combined ticket to the Colosseum and the Vatican
Italians are into everything, and being the Vatican and the Colosseum the two most visited monuments in the city, there is the possibility to buy a combined ticket for the Vatican and the Colosseum with which you will visit both in one day and you will be accompanied by an expert guide at all times.
The best thing about this option is that you will save not only money but also time, as you will be able to skip the lines at both the Colosseum and the Vatican. Highly recommended!
So, what can I see for free in the Colosseum area?
If you're on a really tight budget and want to keep your spending to a minimum when visiting the city, you can always pop into the area anyway to get the best images of the Colosseum and Roman Forum in your mind. One option is to buy a single ticket to the Colosseum (around €17) and just see the rest from the outside. Take note of the following places that will be essential to visit the Colosseum and its surroundings for free:
The best views of the outside of the Colosseum
Walking around the huge perimeter of the Colosseum will help you get an idea of its magnificent dimensions and the enormous capacity of its stands. It will also allow you to see it from different angles (some parts are better preserved than others and turning around will surprise you).
You can also go to the stairs leading up to the Monti district (located at the top of the Piazza del Coliseo metro stop) and stop there to enjoy the views. Being fairly high up, you'll be out of sight of the traffic and crowds that characterise the place, allowing you to take the best pictures. The sunset from there is magical and the colours of the sky with the Roman Forum and the Colosseum will not leave you indifferent.
The best panoramic view of the Roman Forum
There is a large part of the Roman Forum that can be seen perfectly from the Via dei Fori Imperiali as you walk between the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia. If you can make this walk on a Sunday, you will see that the grand avenue is closed to traffic and is pedestrianised. A real treat for tourists and Romans alike, who take the opportunity to enjoy the open air and these magnificent views.
Another key place that I personally recommend visiting 100% is the highest part of the square where the Capitoline Museums are located. If you go up here in the late afternoon, when the Colosseum and the Forum are already closed and empty of tourists, you will be practically alone in front of the immensity of Ancient Rome. It's true that from here you won't have the closeness and detail that a walking tour inside the Forum offers, but I assure you that the panoramic view has nothing to envy the walk through the Roman Forum.
A relaxing stroll through the Circus Massimo
The Circus Massimo, where the popular horse races were held in Ancient Rome, is relatively close to the Colosseum and next to the Roman Forum. Unfortunately, little remains of the site that once held 250,000 spectators, but it does not require an entrance fee and is free to walk around. You can stroll around it as and when you like, and the green area surrounding it makes it a very pleasant walk and, of course, free of charge.