A trip to Rome is almost guaranteed when planning an Italy itinerary. It’s just so hard to resist the allure of the Italian capital, especially when it’s home to such iconic attractions as the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and, most importantly, the Colosseum.
Because of its symbolic status, the Colosseum is one attraction that nearly everyone wants to visit, but many fail to properly plan and end up coming away disappointed. To ensure you get the most out of your time there, we’ve put together this guide to one of the most crucial steps – getting your tickets to the Colosseum.
Quick Answer – How to Buy Tickets to the Colosseum: Unless you like spending your vacation waiting in long lines, we highly recommended you either book your skip-the-line Colosseum tickets in advance here or book a guided tour of the Colosseum. Out of these two, the guided tour is the better option as you get to learn about the history of ancient Rome and its most famous emperors from an expert guide.
Best Ways to Get Tickets to the Colosseum
With an attraction as popular and iconic as the Colosseum, it’s understandable that there are many different ways you get your tickets for the Colosseum. Which way you choose to get them will depend on how you like to visit places and whether you have time to book in advance.
1. Line Up In Person (Not Recommended)
Easily the riskiest and slowest option you have for getting Colosseum tickets is to just get them when you turn up. That’s because the lines for tickets to visit the Colosseum are almost as famous as the attraction itself. Wait times in the line can be extremely long, especially in peak season, with times of up to an hour not uncommon.
If you do have to buy tickets in person on the day of your visit, there is one trick that could save you some time: Rather than lining up at the Colosseum, instead head for the Palatine Hill, with its much shorter line, and get your Colosseum tickets there. As it’s just one ticket for the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Colosseum, you can start with the Palatine Hill and then make your way over to the Colosseum next.
2. Book Online
When it comes to booking your tickets to the Roman Colosseum online, there’s some bad news and some good news.
The good news is that the tickets you book in advance online are skip-the-line tickets for the Colosseum. This means you won’t have to line up and will only have to deal with the security check. The bad news is that the official website for the Colosseum where you can buy tickets is really not that great. Its design is not particularly user-friendly, is known for bugs, and sometimes does not accept US bank cards, meaning it’s not a great solution for getting your Colosseum tickets in advance.
Fortunately, there’s a nice and easy alternative that works out to be pretty much the same price. Booking through this link is way more straightforward thanks to a layout that clearly displays all the information you need to know about your visit.
When booking in advance, please make sure to print out your ticket and bring it with you.
As this option is for a visit without a tour guide, you may want to bring your own information to get the most from the experience. We recommend this excellent book so you can read up either beforehand or while you’re there.
3. Book a Guided Tour (Recommended)
If you want to ensure that you get the most out of this experience, it’s worth considering organizing a guided tour. This way, you’ll learn about the history and subtleties of the site as you tour the Colosseum, ensuring you don’t miss a thing during your time there.
One of the nice things about choosing to visit the Colosseum with a guided tour is the different options that are possible. This is one of Europe’s most iconic attractions, after all, so it’s important that you get a tour that properly suits the experience you’re looking to have.
For some that means just visiting with the standard group walking tour of the Colosseum, and that’s it. Others might prefer a more personalized private guided tour where they can ask questions and focus on things about the Colosseum that really interest them.
But there are plenty more tours to choose from. If you’d like to see as much of the Colosseum as possible, it’s best to look at the more thorough Colosseum tour with underground sections included, which provides exclusive access to areas like the Underground, the Arena, and the upper tiers.
Of course, then there are the Rome-in-a-day tours that take you right across the city, with the Colosseum just one of many stops. This is a good option if you’re pressed for time and want to see as much as possible while you can.
One of the more interesting options is to visit the Colosseum on a night tour. Not only do you get to see the Colosseum in a new light with this night tour, but it will be quieter and cooler, which is a big plus when visiting Rome in summer. The night tour of the Colosseum is our personal favorite and we highly recommend doing it.
To summarize, here all the different Colosseum tours available:
- Standard guided tour of the Colosseum
- Private guided tour of the Colosseum
- Colosseum tour with underground
- Night tour of the Colosseum
- Rome day tour incl. Colosseum
4. Purchase a Rome Tourist Pass
Like many popular tourist destinations, Rome also offers a selection of city passes that provide visitors an easy and affordable option for sightseeing. With these passes you get free admission or discounted entry to many different tourist attractions, which can lead to considerable savings for tourists keen on doing lots of sightseeing.
The most popular city pass is the Roma Pass, with which you get to choose free admission to two attractions and discounts for many more. The Roma Pass provides free admission to your choice of the Capitoline Museums, Castel Sant’Angelo, the Colosseum and Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum. Attractions with discounts include the National Roman Museum, Musei Capitolini, and Trajan’s Market.
It’s also possible to get the Roma Pass bundled with the Omnia Card. This way you get all the benefits of the Roma Pass plus the Omnia Card, which is focused on the sights of the Vatican City. The Omnia Card provides free admission to St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, including fast track entrance to the Sistine Chapel.
Useful Information for Visiting the Colosseum
What’s the Best Time to Visit the Colosseum?
To get the most from your visit, it’s useful to think about what time of the day and week you go. Planning your visit properly can lead to a much more enjoyable experience, with fewer people and more pleasant weather.
Unless you’re choosing to do a night tour of the Colosseum, the best time of day is either first thing in the morning or right at the end of the day, although you may feel a little rushed if you go before closing. It’s also wise to avoid weekends from Friday afternoon onwards, as people arrive for their weekend away.
How to Get to the Colosseum?
Once in Rome, you’ll find it quite easy to make your way to the Colosseum. The exact route will naturally depend on where you’re starting from, but generally you have the metro, trams, and buses that can all get you there.
When coming from the historic center of the city near the Pantheon, it’s a 20-minute walk down the Via dei Fori Imperiali or a bus ride from the Corso bus stop. If you’re traveling from Roma Termini, the main train station, it’s just two stops along the B (blue) metro line. You can also take the A metro line to Termini and connect from there. The metro stop at the Colosseum is called “Colosseo”.
How Much Do Tickets for the Colosseum Cost?
The cost of tickets for the Colosseum depend on a few different factors, mainly related to duration and age. Regardless of the ticket type, all Colosseum tickets purchased on the official website incur a €2 online reservation fee.
Adults have the choice of either a 24-hour full ticket for €16, or a 48-hour full ticket for €18. Children under 18 years old enter free, while EU citizens between 18 and 25 years old can get a reduced ticket that just costs the €2 online reservation fee.
The city of Rome provides free entry on the first Sunday of each month to a number of attractions, including the Colosseum. In past years, they have changed this to just apply between October and March, so be sure to check before you visit if you plan on taking advantage of the free day.
How do Colosseum Tickets Work?
Tickets to the Colosseum also include admission to the nearby Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. These tickets include a specific time slot for your visit to the Colosseum due to its visitor capacity. Be sure to arrive at the Colosseum before your allocated time, as they do check the time of your ticket on entry.
For tickets purchased online, there are two options for obtaining your tickets when you get to the checkout stage of the process. The best and safest option is to print your tickets with their barcode shown at home, because you can then head straight to the security line.
Your other option is to take your reservation code with you on the day and collect your physical tickets at the site. While collecting these tickets from the reserved entry booth is much quicker than the regular entry line to purchase tickets on-site, it’s still slower than just printing the ticket at home.
Colosseum Hours of Operation
Under usual circumstances, the Colosseum is open nearly year round, with the following hours:
- From last Sunday in October to 15 February: 08:30 to 16:30
- From 16 February to 15 March: 08:30 to 17:00
- From 16 March to the last Saturday of March: 08:30 to 17:30
- From the last Sunday in March until 31 August: 08:30 to 19:15
- From 1 to 30 September: 08:30 to 19:00
- From 1 October to the last Saturday in October: 08:30 to 18:30
The last admission is always one hour before the respective closing time, so don’t make the same mistake that many do and arrive 15 minutes before closing.
The Colosseum is closed on New Year’s Day (1 January) and Christmas Day (25 December). There are also often reduced hours during Easter, such as closing early on Good Friday, and on Italian National Day (2 June) when it opens at 13:30.
Hotels Near the Roman Colosseum
Staying close to the Colosseum is often the first choice for visitors to the city. While not absolutely necessary, it does mean you’re close to several major attractions and have prime access to Rome’s public transport network. Here are some options if you want a hotel near the Rome Colosseum.
For a special stay in Rome with breakfast views of the Colosseum, travelers will definitely want to look at the Hotel Palazzo Manfredi. Rooms and suites in this five-star hotel are spacious and elegantly furnished, and the hotel features a bar, restaurant and luxury concierge service.
A great choice if you need to balance location with cost and comfort is the Black Rooms Colosseo guesthouse. Not only are you just five minutes walk from the Colosseum, the rooms and studios here are smart and modern, with some offering Colosseum views.
For a budget friendly option, be sure to check out The Roman Empire Guesthouse, also a five-minute walk from the Colosseum. Offering private rooms at an affordable price, the hotel offers rooms that are simple but clean and have all the essentials you could need.
Ongoing Exhibitions at the Colosseum
Throughout the year, the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill area hold a variety of exhibitions that may be of interest to you. Exhibits currently taking place include:
- Pompeii 79 D.C. Una Storia Romana, from 8/02/21 to 09/05/21
Security Process at the Colosseum
With a major tourist attraction like the Colosseum, it’s understandable that there will be considerable security procedures in place. All visitors to the Colosseum have to go through this security process here, so knowing what to expect can save you some stress and hassle.
Even if you’re with a guided Colosseum tour or have bought tickets in advance, you’ll have to line up for the security check before entering the site. This line can take from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the time and season, which is another reason to arrive early with your Colosseum tickets all ready to go.
Some measures in the security process relate to what you can and cannot bring into the Colosseum with you. While some things like weapons, drugs, and alcohol are pretty obvious, others may catch you off guard. All small bags, camera bags, and purses brought in will be inspected. While food and drink is not allowed in, water bottles are ok.
The most important one to know is that large bags and luggage are not allowed in, so if you plan on going straight to the Colosseum when you arrive, it’s best to first store your luggage somewhere. Options for this include your accommodation, dedicated luggage storage facilities, or the Roma Termini Station Luggage Storage.
FAQ – Facts About the Colosseum
While you’ll definitely want a guide or guidebook to fully inform you about the site and its rich history, we can help you with a few common facts about the Colosseum:
When Was The Colosseum Built?
Construction for the Colosseum began in 72 A.D. and was completed in 80 A.D.
How Old Is The Colosseum?
With the Colosseum finished in 80 A.D., that makes it an incredible 1,941 years old.
Who Built The Colosseum?
Roman Emperor Vespasian was responsible for the start of construction on the Colosseum. However, he died a year before its completion, and the amphitheater was finished by his son and successor, Emperor Titus.
Why Was The Colosseum Built?
The Colosseum was built using the spoils of the First Jewish–Roman War as an entertainment venue for gladiator fights and animal hunts.
Where Is The Colosseum Located?
The Colosseum is located close to the geographic center of Rome, in the Celio neighborhood of the city. It sits at the eastern end of the Roman Forum, below the Palatine Hill area.
With all this information, you should now be fully prepared for visiting the Colosseum. Hopefully, you now understand why which Colosseum tickets you get could have a major impact on your experience and enjoyment of this impressive place.