Things to do in Rome

The ultimate guide to exploring Colosseum the right way

Last Updated:

Nested in Southern Europe, Italy’s capital city, Rome is one of the most thrilling cities in the world that receives a footfall of more than 7.6 million tourists each year. While the wanderlust in you will be spoilt to choose from a wide array of attractions like the Pantheon, Roman Forum, the Trevi Fountain, the Vatican City, etc., you cannot miss one of the most revered historic sites in the world, the Colosseum.

The Colosseum, Rome

An enduring icon of the Roman World, the Colosseum is a 620 by 513 feet elliptical building, once the site of an artificial lake. The lake was drained to make way for the Colosseum, to signify the end of a tyrannical rule. Built to accommodate 60,000 seated people and another 10,000 standing guests, at any given time the amphitheatre was crowded with at least 70,000 spectators.

Take a look at what Sara, our resident expert from Headout, has to show you in the video below -

The Colosseum - Handy Information

Colosseum Rome
Rome Colosseum

Handy information

📍 Best Entrance:Sperone Valadier
⏰ Suggested Duration:3 hours
☀️ Best Time to Visit:9 am
💜 Must See:Colosseum by Night
🎟️ Colosseum Ticket: €21
😍 Colosseum Underground Tour:€104
🎫 Colosseum + Vatican Museum:€46.07

Must-see at Colosseum

Columns and arches
Flavian Amphitheatre Plaque
The Hypogeum

Things To Know

Number of visitors per year: 6 million
Founded in: 70 AD
Builder: Vespasian, Titus
Architectural style: Ancient Roman architecture

Opening Hours And Address

Jan 2 - Feb 28: 9am - 4:30pm
Mar 1 - Mar 26: 9am - 5:30pm
Mar 27 - Aug 31: 9am - 7:15pm
Sept 1 - Sept 30: 9am - 7pm
Oct 1 - Oct 30: 9am - 6:30pm
Oct 30 - Dec 31: 9am - 4:30pm

Piazza del Colosseo, 1,
00184 Roma RM, Italy
Get Directions

Why Visit The Colosseum?

You don’t want to skip the bustling attraction aka the Colosseum on your Roman Holiday. One of the most visited monuments in the world, it receives a footfall of 4 million visitors each year. The Colosseum, an engineering marvel, holds the records for many firsts.

While most amphitheatres in the era were circular, the Colosseum was elliptical. This feature allowed the spectators to get a bird’s eye view of the arena or place of action. With the Colosseum designed to hold 80,000 spectators, it was built using no modern machinery or any heavy equipment. An epitome of grandeur, the structure had 80 ornate entrances and a dozen inner doorways, tunnels, staircases and corridors. So include the Colosseum in your itinerary and walk through the same path as the gladiators and experience this ancient ruin!

You can also figure out a Guided Tour of the Colosseum to take to explore all the different aspects of this historic monument.

Colosseum History

Joan Miró Foundation

Did you know Rome's Colosseum was constructed as a gift to the Roman people by the emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty? While the construction began around AD 70-72, this engineering marvel took more than a century to complete. Titus, the son of Emperor Vespian inaugurated the structure in AD 80. Dubbed the Flavian Amphitheatre, the grand opening of the site included hundred days of entertainment- gladiatorial games and wild animal fights. Over time, Romans used the Colosseum to host dramas, mock fights, and carry out public executions.

It is believed the Colosseum was also used as a church and a fortress by Roman families and served as a quarry. While the Romans actively made use of it during the peak of the Roman Empire, by the 20th century it fell into disrepair because of natural calamities-earthquakes and lightning, vandalism and neglect, with almost two-thirds of this magnificent structure destroyed. Thanks to the restoration work that began in the 1990s, today the monument is ancient Rome’s most renowned heritage, drawing in millions of tourists from around the world.

What did the Colosseum look like?

What's super fascinating is that despite the damage by Earthquakes in 847 and 1231, the Colosseum has stood the test of time, remaining a testament to the engineering marvels of ancient Rome. Its elliptical shape created a vast stage for gladiators to engage in combat, thrilling thousands of spectators. Intricately, the structure was layered with Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns, adding aesthetic appeal and strength. Originally, the Colosseum boasted a grand retractable awning, known as the velarium, sheltering spectators from the harsh sun. This massive amphitheatre had a capacity for over 50,000 people, who streamed through its 76 archways to witness the spectacle. Incredibly, the Colosseum maintained its role as a premier entertainment venue for over seven centuries.

Colosseum Architecture & Design

Measuring 189 metres long, 156 metres wide and 50 metres in height, with a total surface area of almost 6 acres, the Colosseum still holds the Guinness World Record for the largest amphitheatre in the world. Made using travertine stone as its primary material and concrete, the four-storied Colosseum was one of the most complex man-made structures of its time. The Colosseum’s columns, and arches decorated with statues of gods and emperors, are its most prominent features.

The outer facade of the building, equivalent to a 12-story building, has columns and arches built using different styles. Instead of arches and columns on the fourth level of the Colosseum, the building features small windows. While the rest of the Colosseum was mainly white, the Colosseum Arena was made using red and black stone blocks. The Romans covered the arena’s wooden floor with sand to prevent the combatants from slipping and make cleaning easy post gladiator fights!

The arena also had lifts, special machinery and trap doors to release animals into the action floor. A special structure, called the Hegmata, was used to lift heavy animals from the hypogeum (an underground network of tunnels and chambers) onto the arena. Combatants entered the arena through a Gate of Life whereas the Gate of Death was used for the exit of the victorious and gladiators killed during the fight! While the Underground and the Belvedere (the top level) were not accessible to the public for the longest time, don’t miss out on travelling back in time as these exclusive areas have recently opened to tourists.

While the first storey columns are done in Tuscan style, the second story features more elaborate Ionian columns and the third floor has intricate Corthinian style columns. The fourth floor is mainly decorated with rectangular columns. And if you are a keen observer, you will notice how the lower three-stories have so many arches but the fourth floor lacks them and instead has small windows. The arena or the venue of activities, had 36 trap doors to make impressive entries into the arena and for special effects during performances.

The Roman Colosseum also has a two-level underground network of corridors and cells called the Hypogeum. Animals and gladiators were kept here before their entry into the arena. The state-of-art facilities at this wonder of the Roman Empire had hundreds of fountains to quench the thirst of spectators. To control the entry and exit of spectators, the Colosseum had 80 entrances. The Colosseum was also equipped with a Velarium to protect spectators from the sun and the rain.

Colosseum Entrances

The Colosseum has 3 entrances: one entrance for individual visitors, the group entrance and the entrance to the arena. The entrance facing the forums for individual visitors is called Sperone Valadier and is the only entrance currently in use. The arena entrance, named Stern is only used for guided tours with a visit to the arena. Entry to the Colosseum from the Varco Stern entrance is currently suspended.

Here's everything you need to know about Colosseum entrances.

Colosseum At Night

The Colosseum at night is a magnificient sight to see. It has stood through centuries of culture, war and it's significance is just as relevant as on the day it was built. Looking at it's glory at night would give you new perspectices while there are a ton of night markets and food streets to explore as well. Including a night time visit to the Colosseum could be enticing. A night-time Colosseum tour is rather personalised as there is a minimum crowd and the weather is pleasant too. Soak in the shadows of this majestic structure while you also enjoy the view of Rome by the night.

What To See At The Colosseum

1Columns and Arches

Each archway, in all the levels, is numbered. These numbers allowed spectators to find their seats. 76 archways served as entrances to the Colosseum. These were used by the public. The remaining four were reserved for entrances by important people- emperors, senators, and visiting dignitaries.


2Flavian Amphitheatre Plaque

A plaque attached to the Colosseum facade shows the name of the monument as the Amphitheatre Flavium, indicating the Flavian dynasty that built it. This plaque can be seen at the wall of the Colosseum that faces the Temple of Venus.


3The Cross

A large wooden cross is erected in the interior of the Colosseum. It was placed there by Pope John Paul II in 2000, to commemorate all the Christian martyrs.


4The Entry and Exit Gates

The archway between 57 and 58 is called the Gate of Death or the Libitinarian Gate. It was used to remove the dead and the not-so-victorious out of the arena. The archway between 19 and 20 had the Gate of Life. Gladiators entered the structure using this gate.



The Colosseum Arena had wooden panels and was covered by sand. While most of the flooring is lost, a part of it is visible. The arena was the ‘place of action’ or where gladiator and animal fights were held. Don’t miss the opportunity to get the feels of a battleground!


6The Hypogeum

While the floor panels of the arena are now missing, you can see the walls of the hypogeum. This labyrinth of service corridors and cages offers a glimpse of where animals and gladiators were kept before their fights. This maze also had 36 trap doors to add special effects to performances. To experience the Hypogeum, make sure your ticket allows access to this part of the Colosseum.


7Permanent Exhibition

Archaeologists excavated many artefacts around the Colosseum. The second level of the Colosseum has these artefacts- cups and spoons, on display. These were used by vendors to serve spectators! Oyster shells and nutshells excavated from the site suggest Romans loved their fruits!


Top Recommended Colosseum Tickets

Visiting the Colosseum is a dream a very few might realise in their lives. Make sure you make the most of your visit by seeing and learning about this ancient and modern wonder of the world. We would recommend taking Guided Tours of the Colosseum so you can make the most of you visit!

Colosseum Rome Passes

Best City Passes that include access to the Colosseum

The Roma Pass Card

The Roma Pass is a special tourist-cultural card. It can be used to visit museums and archaeological sites including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Palatine Hill. The pass also includes free use of the city’s public transport network, for the entire validity of the card. According to the length of your stay, you can purchase this card for two or three days here. If you opt for this pass, you have to make a reservation for the Colosseum.

The Omnia Card

Opt for an Omnia Card if you wish to cover Vatican City on your Roman Holiday. The Roma Pass, a card of the City of Rome is included under the Omnia Card, the one with a validity of 72 hours, allowing you to enjoy the Vatican City and Rome under one pass. You can book your pass here.


This Rome City pass offers flexible options for 2, 3 and 6-days. All their passes include free public transportation, skip-the-line free entry to the Colosseum and to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica. You can book this pass here.

Getting There

There are plenty of ways to reach the Colosseum. Here we’ve listed the public transport options that take you to the popular tourist site.

By Metro

Colosseo is the closest Metro station to the Colosseum. Taking any metro on Line B takes you to the Colosseo station. The Colosseum entrance is less than a 5 minute walk from there. If you board the metro from Roma Termini (the main connecting hub in Rome), it will take you 5 minutes to get to the Colosseum.

By Bus

You can make your visit to the Colosseum budget-friendly by opting for a bus ride instead. Bus routes 75, 81, 673, 175, 204 take you to the Colosseum. A bus ride from Roma Termini will take about 15-20 minutes depending on the route and the traffic congestion. The bus timings are 05:30 am to 12:00 am. The night buses operate from 12:00 am to 05:30 am.

By Tram

Taking tram line 3 will take you to the Colosseum.

On Foot

If you wish to walk from Roma Termini, the main station, the walk to the Colosseum would take you 30 minutes. You can opt for this if you've got time in hand and don't mind a leisure stroll.

Best Time To Visit The Colosseum

The Colosseum receives maximum footfall in the summer months between April to September. So if you’re the kind who doesn’t like big crowds, planning your visit between November to March will make your experience worthwhile! Brace for pleasant weather during this time.

You can also try and visit the Colosseum on weekdays, especially during its opening hours to avoid large crowds and the scorching sun. Opting for an entry slot towards the end of the day will allow you to experience a lit up Colosseum and Rome, perfect for an impressive yet ancient feel to the place!

Additionally, you can read more about Best Time To Visit Rome

Colosseum Facts You Probably Didn’t Know

  • The Colosseum had a Velarium or a cloth roof to cover the arena. It worked as a sun shield if it got too sunny and also offered protection if it rained.
  • It is believed that the Colosseum was also used as a church and a fortress by Roman families. It also served as a quarry for its stone reserves for building projects.
  • It took manpower of ten thousand slaves, over ten years, to build the Colosseum.
  • The arena of the Colosseum is so big that it could fit a modern-day football pitch inside!
  • Emperors used the Colosseum to gain popularity! They funded the major events, often paying for it themselves, and making the entry free for spectators. They even served free food sometimes to win the support of the Romans.
  • Most of the professional combatants who entertained spectators with their fights at the arena of the Colosseum were men. It is believed there were some female gladiators too! These gladiators were generally slaves, criminals or prisoners of war.
  • 36 trap doors in the arena were used to add special effects during a performance. The labyrinth of underground passages was used to hold wild animals and gladiators before a fight.
  • At a time, the floor of the arena was flooded with water, up to a few feet, to mock sea battles.
  • Look out for the Colosseum in Italy’s five-cent euro coin!

Read more Colosseum facts here!

Insider Tips For Visiting The Colosseum

  • The queues at over-the-counter ticket lines at the Colosseum can be very long. You might end up spending over 2 hours just waiting for your turn hence wasting a lot of time. Avoid this situation and book your Colosseum tickets online. This allows you to skip the long queues for the admission ticket, breezing past the crowds and heading straight in for a tour of the ancient ruins.
  • The Colosseum tickets sell out really quickly and you may not find your preferred time slot available. So it is recommended to book your tickets in advance, especially if you are visiting during the peak tourist period. Online Colosseum Rome tickets offer a fast-track pass and help save time!
  • The Colosseum has different parts to it. Depending on your interests and what you’d like to explore, choose a ticket in advance as this allows you to make informed decisions. Since the area of the Colosseum is huge, it means lots of walking. So make sure to address your hunger pangs and eat a heavy meal before starting your tour.
  • Even though this archaeological site is well-maintained, not all its walking areas are smooth. So keep your flip flops and heels aside for safety reasons and wear comfortable shoes with a good grip.
  • Choosing the best time of the day is paramount for your visit. Arriving before 8:30 am will not only allow you to bypass huge crowds but also allow you to soak in some clean morning air.
  • Show up at least 15-20 minutes before the time-slot mentioned on your ticket. This leaves room for some buffer time to finish mandatory security checks at the site.

Top Things To Do Around The Colosseum In Rome

The Colosseum is surrounded by prominent landmarks of the Roman empire. Here we list out the top things to do around the Colosseum:

Restaurants Around The Colosseum

The Colossuem is ancient and offers many things to explore in and around. Make sure you don't walk in an empty stomach. Hence, here are a list of the top food joints and eateries for a hearty Italian meal.

Ai Tre Scalini

An ancient winery, the place serves Italian cuisine and is vegetarian friendly, has vegan options, and gluten free options. Since this is one of the top rated places near the Colosseum, make sure to reserve a table beforehand!
Address: Via Panisperna 251 Rione Monti, 00184 Rome Italy

Rome Colosseum
Trattoria Luzzi

A 6 minute walk from the Colosseum, deport yourself to an old tavern of the past by visiting Trattoria Luzzi. The place offers some local experience, the best recipes of the Roman tradition, and some great food at affordable prices. You can check the menu here.
Address: Via Celimontana, 1, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

Rome Colosseum
La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali

AA family-operated trattoria, this restaurant in the Monti neighbourhood is often populated with a lot of tourists! If celebrities like Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, and Bruce Springsteen have all dined here, this is another reason to visit the tavern. You can book ahead here! .
Address: Via Labicana, 125, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

Rome Colosseum
Alle Carrette

A traditional Roman pizzeria, it is a 10 minute walk from the Colosseum. If you're looking for some authentic wood-fire oven pizzas, this local stop will satiate your taste buds like no other. Cheap, friendly and delicious, head here for some authentic experience. .
Address: Via della Madonna dei Monti, 95, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

Find More Colosseum restaurants here

Shopping Around The Colosseum

If you’d like to take back a bit of Rome with you, there are many small stops near the Colosseum selling a wide range of souvenirs- magnets, postcards, Roman gladiator helmets and wooden swords, keychains, etc. Souvenir stands next to the Colosseum and even sells funny placards with Italian slogans. Pick out the perfect souvenir to remember your Roman holiday from one of these shops:

Colosseum FAQs

What do Colosseum tickets include?

Do all Colosseum tickets include access to the Underground?

What is the maximum size of a Colosseum guided tour group?

How long does it take to tour the Colosseum?

What is the cancellation policy for Colosseum tickets?

Are discounts available on Colosseum tickets?

Is the Colosseum wheelchair friendly?

Is there a left baggage storage available at the Colosseum?

What is the dress code to keep in mind before your visit to the Colosseum?

In what languages are audio guides available inside the Colosseum?

More Recommended Experiences in Rome

While the Colosseum is a must-see in Italy, here are some other attractions that are now open to the public that cannot be missed! Check out more top things to do in Rome. Don't forget to read and bookmark our Rome Travel Guide packed with itineraries, tips for first timers, local recommendations, restaurants, hotels & more.

Colosseum Rome Guide