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. Known for its historic ruins and masterpieces, jaw-dropping architecture and extraordinary artworks amongst many others, this European city is an ultimate destination for some unforgettable experiences. 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. Here we list out all the information to make your visit to the Colosseum stress-free.
A mighty wonder of the world
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. The outer facade of the building, equivalent to a 12-story building, has columns and arches built using different styles; Tuscan at the bottom, Ionic in the middle, and Corinthian at the top. 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.
The Colosseum Handy Information
Colosseum - Things to know
Best time to visit - April to September
Suggested duration - 3 Hours
Starting Roman Colosseum ticket price - €35
Founded in - 70 AD
Closest metro station - Colosseo/Salvi N. (Stop ID: 70865)
Colosseum Opening Hours
• Monday to Friday - between 10:30 AM to 04:30 PM
• Saturday and Sunday - Closed
• Last admission : 03:30 PM
Must-see at Colosseum
Columns and arches
Flavian Amphitheatre Plaque
Piazza del Colosseo, 1,
00184 Roma RM, Italy Get Directions
Why should you 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. This helped in controlling the crowd and also emptying the amphitheatre within a matter of minutes without causing a stampede. The tech-savvy Romans also used hand-operated elevators and trap doors in the arena to create illusions for the spectators while gladiators fought against each other. So include the Colosseum in your itinerary and walk through the same path as the gladiators and experience this ancient ruin!
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.
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. 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.
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.
Check out these Colossuem at night tickets
What to see at the Colosseum
Best of the Roman 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.
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!
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.
Archaeologists excavated man 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. From the top picks of the various Colosseum tours from skip the line Colosseum Tickets to getting mysterious underground Colosseum Tours, we got you covered. Get your hands on the most popular Colosseum tickets now. Here are the various tickets you can choose from:
Priority Entrance Tickets
If exploring solo is your thing, get your hands on the priority entrance tickets so you need not spend time standing in the long lines. These tickets not only allow you access to the Colosseum, but also the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
Skip-the-line Guided Tour
See the best of the Colosseum with a guided tour that lets you right in as you enter the gates. A local expert guide will walk you through the ruins of the ancient site telling you all about it as you go. You cannot go wrong with this option if you want to know the inside-out of the Colosseum, its history and mystery.
If you want to make the most of your time and money, pick a combo ticket that gives you access not only to the Colosseum and its surroundings but other historic attractions such as the Vatican City, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum, St Peter’s Basilica, Borghese Gallery, and more!
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.
Visiting Colosseum - Everything You Must Know
Colosseum Opening Hours
The Colosseum is open from Monday to Friday, between 10:30 am to 04:30 pm. The last admission is at 03:30 pm. It is closed on Saturday and Sunday. The Colosseum is closed on 1 January and 25 December, each year.
How to reach the Colosseum
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.
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.
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.
Taking tram line 3 will take you to the Colosseum.
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.
Typical duration of Colosseum visit
Depending on the kind of ticket you opt for, a visit to the Colosseum can be anywhere between 1 to 3 hours.
Dress code at Colosseum
Since the Colosseum is spread across almost 6 acres, it means a lot of walking. Wearing a comfortable pair of shoes and breathable clothes would be a great option to explore the Colosseum. If you are planning a visit during the warmer months, don’t forget a sunhat and sunglasses!
Best time to visit 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!
Here is a the Colosseum Map to help you know your way while on the trip.
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!
Insider tips for visiting 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:
Breakfree from the crowded tourist spots by going to Palatine Hill. If we are to believe folklore, the first Romans settled in the Palatine Hills in the 10th Century BC. A great vantage point, soak in Roman culture and heritage from the hilltop here.
Distance from the Colosseum: 500 meters
Arch Of Constantine
The arch is situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It is named after Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor of Rome to mark his victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge.
Distance from the Colosseum: 2.7 Kms
The Roman Forum was the heart of ancient Rome. With its tall pillars, columns and archways, this historic site was once a bustling marketplace for day-to-day shopping. Today, much of the Roman Forum lies in ruins but it was an important site for religious, social and political activities.
Distance from the Colosseum: 592 meters
The Fontana di Trevi is one of the most beautiful fountains in Rome. Located at the base of the 17th century Palazzo Poli palace in Rome, the fountain has an ensemble of mythical figures and wild horses, like sea-god Oceanus, Neptune- God of the sea, guarding the fountain. You can also go on Trevi fountain tours to make your trip exciting.
Distance from the Colosseum: 5 Kms
The Spanish Steps
Head to the Spanish steps if you want some exhilarating view of Rome. A UNESCO site, the 138 steps were built in the 1700s to link the Bourbon Spanish Embassy to the Trinità dei Monti (a 16th-century French church). Make sure not to sit on the stairs as you will be fined! Climb the stairs for some fine views of the city.
Distance from the Colosseum: 2 Kms
Keats-Shelley Memorial House
At the base of the Spanish Stairs, is the Keats-Shelley Memorial House. Here, the literary great John Keats lived and died in 1821. The museum is dedicated to the English poet and his contemporary, Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Distance from the Colosseum: 2 Kms
Restaurants around 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.
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
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
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
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
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:
A 3km-walk from the Colosseum, the market on the sides of River Tevere offers an eclectic ambience. A mix of local stores and street food can make your visit to the Riverside Market delightful.
If you are looking for some vintage shopping, this street, at a radius of 2.3kms from the Colosseum, offers a wide selection of clothing, shoes and accessories. You can also explore the surrounding streets for some great boutiques.
Brimming with antique stores, this peaceful street offers a sneak-peak into ancient Rome, away from the crowded tourist spots. The artcraft stores here are perfect for you if you’re looking to carry back some antique paintings or jewellery.
Located in the old Trastevere district, around 2.3 kms from the Colosseum, it is the biggest flea market in Rome, held only on Sundays. The hundreds of stalls in the market offer a wide selection of goods including second-hand products. Be prepared to bargain your way for your pick!
Is the Colosseum open for tourists after the pandemic?
Yes, starting February 2021, tourists can now visit the Colosseum in Rome.
What are the safety measures for a safe experience at the Colosseum
The Colosseum has implemented safety measures so that visitors can experience the Colosseum without any hiccups. It is mandatory to pre-book your tickets to the attraction as it only accepts online reservations. You can choose from a wide range of tickets here, depending on your preference. Visitors are required to wear a mask and undergo thermal screening before entering the attraction. A minimum distance of 1 metre should be maintained between different groups.
Are Colosseum tickets available online in 2021?
Yes, it is mandatory to have an online reservation before visiting the Colosseum. You can book your online Colosseum tickets with us.
What are the recommended tickets for a safe experience at the Colosseum?
We offer a wide range of tickets for you. You can choose either of the options to experience the Colosseum at its finest; Skip-the-line ticket, Guided Tour ticket, Special Access ticket or a Combo ticket. You can book your online Colosseum tickets with us.
What do Colosseum tickets include?
All the tickets booked through us include skip-the-line access to the Colosseum. Depending on which ticket you choose, it may also include a guided tour of the Colosseum.
Are Colosseum skip-the-line tickets available?
Yes, all tickets booked through us come with a skip-the line access. This way, you can bypass long queues and gain priority access to enter the Colosseum.
Are discounts available on Colosseum tickets?
Yes. EU citizens between the age of 18-25 get reduced pricing on their tickets on presentation of a valid Identity card. EU and non-EU citizens under the age of 18, along with permanent or contract-based teaching staff enjoy free entry into the Colosseum.
Do all Colosseum tickets include access to the Underground?
A standard Colosseum ticket does not include access to certain areas like the Underground, the Belvedere and the Arena. You will have to purchase special access tickets to access these areas.
What are Colosseum hours in 2021?
The opening hours at the Colosseum have been revised post the pandemic. It is now open between 10:30 AM to 04:30 PM from Monday to Friday, with final entry at 03:30 PM.
What is the maximum size of a Colosseum guided tour group?
Not more than 20 individuals (adults, children, guides, escorts, etc.) are allowed in a group for entry into the Colosseum.
How long does it take to tour the Colosseum?
Depending on the kind of ticket, it can take anywhere between an hour to three to visit the Colosseum. If you want to include the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill too, make sure to keep at least half a day for the tour.
What is the cancellation policy for Colosseum tickets?
While each vendor has a different cancellation policy, for tickets booked through us, we are offering a full refund on cancelling tickets 24-72 hrs before the start date of the experience, based on the type of ticket you book. Please check before you make your reservation.
Are discounts available on Colosseum tickets?
Yes. There is a concession for European Union (EU) citizens, aged 18-25. Upon presenting a valid identity card, patrons can buy the tickets for a reduced price. EU and non-EU citizens under the age of 18, along with permanent or contract-based teaching staff enjoy free entry into the Colosseum. For more information on discounts, visit the official site here.
Can I enter the Vatican with my Colosseum ticket?
Only specific Colosseum tickets provide access to the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and/or St. Peter’s Basilica. Standard issue tickets only grant access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
Is the Colosseum wheelchair friendly?
Yes, wheelchairs are easily accessible at the site. Since the Colosseum also has a few uneven surfaces a Colosseum visit may not be comfortable for those with walking disabilities.
Is there a left baggage storage available at the Colosseum?
The Colosseum doesn’t have any facility to store baggage. So make sure you don’t carry any bulky bags and backpacks, luggage and trolley within the premises of the Colosseum as it is prohibited. You can carry medium and small sized backpacks.
What is the dress code to keep in mind before your visit to the Colosseum?
The Colosseum is best explored walking. So make sure to wear a comfortable pair of sport shoes or sneakers. Don’t forget to break in your new shoes to avoid blisters while exploring the Colosseum. It is also advisable to wear any breathable clothes, apply sunscreen and carry a hat/cap and sunglasses, as it can get hot during the summer months.
What can you expect to see inside the Colosseum?
The Colosseum has three designated spaces to be explored. Depending on the ticket you opt for, you can see the Underground network of tunnels and corridors, the Belvedere and the Arena or the place of action where gladiator fights were staged.
In what languages are audio guides available inside the Colosseum?
For audio guides, you need to download the Parco Colosseo app from the Google Play store or the Apple Play store. The app offers audio guides in Italiano, Inglese, Francese, Spagnolo, Tedesco. However, this is a paid service. For more information, you can visit the site here.
How long is my ticket valid for?
The standard tickets are valid for 24 hours. It allows one time entry into the Colosseum and one entry to the Forum-Palatine area. The full experience tickets (temporarily suspended) are valid for 2 days from first use.
What is the official site for Colosseum tickets?
The coopculture site is the official site for 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.