Why Visit the Colosseum
Walk the path of ancient Romans and witness one of the world’s greatest architectural wonders. The Colosseum attracts over 5 million people every year, making it one of Italy’s most popular destinations. Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, this oval shaped outdoor auditorium once served as a stage for gladiators and public spectacles. With accommodation for 60,000 seated and 10,000 standing, all of whom could enter and leave in a matter of minutes, courtesy of 80 entrances, the Colosseum is the largest amphitheater ever built. It stands 157 feet high (48 meters), which is only 8 meters shorter than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and covers a total area of 6 acres (24,000 m2). The massive arena also features a vast underground structure called the “hypogeum”, a place where historians believe gladiators, prisoners and animals were held.
The Colosseum is situated just east of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Once the epicenter of Rome’s social happenings, the Forum today houses beautiful ruins that represent different eras of life in the city. It stands a one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and gives visitors an opportunity to peek into the Ancient World. Inhabited since 1000 BC, the Palatine Hill is the oldest part of the city. Once the home of emperors, the hill is a peaceful green area with wild flowers and ideal picnic spots. It also boasts the best views of the city.
A visit to the Colosseum and its sister sites is spellbinding and magical; however, it can also be exhausting. In order to maximize your time and enjoy the ancient capital to its fullest, a little planning is well worth your time. From insider tips on how to explore the ancient sites to a detailed guide on how to find the best tour options and ticket prices, browse the sections below and discover your perfect Colosseum experience.
Tips to Choosing the Best Experience
Unless otherwise noted, all Colosseum tickets also include admission to the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. Located adjacent to one another, each attraction has its own separate entrance so be sure to hang onto your ticket.
When selecting your Colosseum tickets, there are a number of different options you can choose from. There is an official Italian Colosseum website; however, it has limited information and can be a bit difficult to navigate. You can view the page in English; however, the translation is slightly off and can cause confusion. The following sections have been created to help ensure you get all the information you need in order to pick the best Colosseum tour for you.
Booking your ticket online is the most convenient and easy option for visitors. While it is possible to purchase day-of tickets directly from the offices located at the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum during operating hours, the queues at all three locations will take anywhere between 45-60 minutes. Booking online allows you to bypass the long ticket sale lines. This is especially beneficial during peak months, as well as during the summer when the weather gets quite hot.
Avoid the long queue with skip-the-line tickets
A skip-the-line fast-track ticket is perfect for those who are short on time or would simply like to avoid the hassle of waiting in a long line. Skip-the-line tickets are purchased online, and thus allow you to skip both the ticket box office line, as well as the main entrance line at the Colosseum. To put things into perspective, a general entry ticket purchased on-site will cost you €14 (€12 for the ticket plus a €2 booking fee) - for just €4 more (€15 for the ticket plus a €3 booking fee), you can get an online fast-track skip-the-line ticket. Keep in mind, all visitors will still be required to pass through an airport-style the security check.
Skip-the-line Colosseum tickets are available anytime and any date. Skip-the-line Guided Colosseum Tour tickets are available daily, starting at 9am and 2:30pm.
Understand your tour options
A standard Colosseum ticket is valid for two days and includes access to the arena floor and the hypogeum. In addition, your ticket also grants entry to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Within the Colosseum, there are also parts you can only visit as part of a “special access” guided tour, for which the standard ticket does not cover. The chart below provides a breakdown of Colosseum ticket variations according to price, inclusions, and availability.
Opt for a combo ticket
For those looking to make the most of their time in Rome, our specially curated combination tours allow you to club multiple experiences in one ticket. Enjoy a skip-the-line combo ticket to both the Colosseum and the Vatican, or, pair your Colosseum visit with a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Rome. Combination tours including transportation to and from your hotel in Rome are also available. These tickets will help you save time and money.
Buy your tickets in advance
With over 5 million visitors a year - the Colosseum sees a whooping average of 13,600 visitors per day. While tickets don’t necessarily sell out, a recent cap of 3,000 visitors has been placed on the number of people allowed inside the attraction at any given point in time. When this happens, entry to the Colosseum is paused. During such periods, those who have not pre-purchased a ticket can end up with a delayed entry, since guests with pre-purchased and skip-the-line tickets will be given priority entrance.
For guided tours, we suggest booking two weeks in advance, as these tours do tend to sell out during busy months. With that being said, we are also happy to accommodate all last-minute bookings - availability permitting.
Guide vs no guide
Any tour of the Colosseum will be an incredible and mesmerizing experience. A self-guided tour is the cheapest option. However, there is not that much in the way of information provided anywhere in the three sites (Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum). For only €6 more, you can add an audio guide to our skip-the-line Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill tour. The audio guide lasts 1 hour and 10 minutes, and includes information on the magnificent history of the Colosseum, plus an interactive map to guide you inside the building.
For an even more in-depth tour, explore areas off limits to the general public with a guided tour of the Colosseum with special access to the upper tier and underground tunnels. The explanations and stories you get with a professional guide undoubtedly enrich the experience. A visit to the Colosseum will likely be a once in a lifetime experience, so if you have the time and money to spend on a guided tour, it is highly recommended.
About the Colosseum
Historians believe the Colosseum was constructed as a gift to the Roman people, in an effort to bring everyone together through entertainment. A lasting symbol of the Flavian dynasty, the emperors Vespasian, Titus and Domitian reigned throughout the time of its construction, from AD 72 to AD 80. It took less than 10 years to build - an astonishing feat! With such a huge space and so much seating, it seems almost impossible that the Colosseum was completed so quickly.
About Palatine Hill
Towering over the Roman Forum and the CIrcus Maximus, is the majestic Palatine Hill. The Palatine is the most famous of Rome’s seven hills. In Ancient Rome it was considered one of the most desirable neighborhood in the city, and was the home of aristocrats and emperors. It was also believed to be the location of the Lupercal (the cave where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf). These associations with ancient legends and imperial power made the Palatine one of the most important places in Rome. Today, the Palatine is an extensive archaeological site, where the ruins of the Flavian Palace and Stadium of Domitian can still be seen, along with the legendary Hut of Romulus. The remains of the House of Augustus and the House of Livia have also recently been opened to the public, and are worth visiting for their amazing, well-preserved frescoes.
About the Roman Forum
Few sites are as filled with history as the Roman Forum. Although what remains gives only a hint to the grandeur of the Forum in ancient times, its architecture still impresses. There are a large handful of sites to explore in the area; an audio guide or professional guide can help tremendously in explaining the ruins. Formerly the epicenter for Roman life, the Roman Forum is full of ancient stories.
The top sites to see at the Roman Forum include:
- Temple of Antoninus Pius
- Temple of Castor and Pollux
- Temple of Saturn
- Arch of Septimius Severus
- The Curis
- Temple of Vesta
- House of the Vestals
- Arch of Titus
Recommended experiences for exploring the Roman Forum:
Colosseum Underground Evening Tour with Arena Floor and Roman Forum Highlights
Small Group Tour of Colosseum, Ancient Rome + Upper Tier and Underground Access
Why Book With Headout
Specially Curated Selection of Colosseum Tickets
From skip-the-line entry to combo tickets with other incredible Rome experiences, discover your perfect Colosseum experience explore the ancient empire’s brilliant history.
Save Time with Skip-the-Line Priority Access Tickets
With a quick and easy booking flow, secure your skip-the-line Colosseum tickets within minutes and avoid the tediously long lines.
Have any questions about your experience? Customer service representatives are available around the clock.
Colosseum Travel Tips
Line B “Colosseo”
Line 75, 81, 673, 175, 204
From the Termini train station via metro
The fastest and cheapest way from the train station to the Colosseum is by metro. When you disembark the train, follow the white-on-red M signs towards the metro station. Once there, you'll find ticket vending machines, then fare gates where you insert your ticket and go through. Be sure to take the correct line (line B, with blue signs) in the right direction (southwards towards Laurentina). The Colosseum is only two stops away. When you exit the station, you will see the monument directly across the street.
The metro runs from 5:30 am to 11:30 pm Sunday to Thursday, and until 1:30 am on Friday and Saturday.
From the Termini train station via foot
It's a bit of a hike to walk from the train station to the Colosseum, although it can certainly be done. The Colosseum is a little over one mile from the train station. It will take you about 30 minutes to walk there.
Many of the Hop On Hop Off sightseeing buses board and drop between the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. It a great way to get around the ancient sites, especially when you only have a day or two to explore Rome.
Learn more about our Colosseum visit with a hop-on-hop-off bus tour of Rome.
The entrance for the Palatine Hill is situated midway down Via di San Gregorio, the road that runs from the Colosseum along the base of the Palatine Hill. It is less than five minutes' walk from the Colosseum. The entrance of the Roman Forum is a bit of long way from the Colosseum, but there is an exit only gate right next to the Colosseum.
The Colosseum is open every day of the year, with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
from January 2 to February 15
8:30 am - 5:00 pm
from February 16 to March 15
8:30 am - 5:30 pm
from March 16 to last Saturday of March
8:30 am - 7:15 pm
from the last Sunday of March to August 31
8:30 am - 7:00 pm
from September 1 to September 30
8:30 am - 6:30 pm
fromOctober 1 to last Saturday of October
8:30 am - 4:30 pm
from last Sunday of October to December 31
Rules and regulations
For security reasons, it is strictly forbidden to enter the Colosseum with large backpacks, large bags, or any type of luggage. Medium and small sized backpacks and bags will be screened by a metal detector and opened for visual inspection at the entrance. Alcohol and glass bottles are also prohibited. Water bottles are allowed.
There are small fountains with drinkable water in the Roman Forum and on the Palatine Hill. Save your empty water bottle fill up at these complimentary water stations. Especially during the summer, it is imperative to stay hydrated.
At the monument, a lift for the disabled as well as an accessible equipped toilet are available. Please ask the staff at the ticket window for a technician’s help to access the upper floors.
1. Will my tour still run if it is raining?
Yes; all tours run in rain or shine.
2. At the end of the tour, will I be able to explore the Colosseum on my own?
Guided tours follow a particular pattern and you will not be able to re-enter the Colosseum without waiting in the line and purchasing an additional ticket. If you would like enjoy free time after a tour, you can opt for the Skip the Line Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Entry Ticket.
3. Can I book a private Colosseum Underground tour?
Unfortunately, the Colosseum does not allow any tour operator or company to conduct private visits of the underground areas. While you can only tour as a group, there will never be more than 24 people to ensure the tour is special and intimate for all visitors. Learn more about our Colosseum + upper tier and underground tunnels small group guided tour.
4. Is there a coffee shop within the Colosseum?
No; however, there are dozens of cafes and restaurants nearby. Check out TripAdvisor’s top 10 restaurants near the Colosseum.
5. Is there wifi at the attractions?
No. Wifi is not available at the Colosseum. Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.
6. Is photography allowed inside the Colosseum?
Yes, photos and video are permitted; however, no flash photography is allowed.
Know Your Attraction: Colosseum Fast Facts
- The Colosseum only took 10 years to build, starting in 70 AD and was completed in 80 AD, using over 60,000 Jewish slaves.
- The Colosseum is an elliptical building measuring 189 meters long and 156 meters wide with a base area of 24,000 m² with a height of more than 48 meter.
- It’s the world’s largest amphitheater and has over 80 entrances and can accommodate about 50,000 spectators.
- There were 36 trap doors in Arena allowing for elaborate special effects.
- It is thought that over 500,000 people lost their lives and over a million wild animals were killed throughout the duration of the Colosseum hosted people vs. beast games.
- All Ancient Romans had free entry to the Colosseum for events, and were also fed throughout the spectacles.
- Festivals as well as games could last up to 100 days in the Colosseum.
- The Ancient Romans would sometimes flood the Colosseum and have miniature ship naval battles inside as a way of entertainment.
- The marble façade and some parts of the Colosseum were used for the construction of St Peter’s Basilica and later monuments.
- Many natural disasters devastated the structure of the Colosseum, but it was the earthquakes of 847 AD and 1231 AD that caused most of the damage you see today.
- The original name of the Colosseum was Flavian Amphitheater, after the Flavian Dynasty of Emperors.
- Rome´s most popular monument was built for three reasons: as a gift to the Roman citizens from the Flavian Dynasty to increase their popularity, to stage various forms of entertainment, and to showcase Roman engineering techniques to the world.
- The Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as animal hunts, mock sea battles, re-enactments of famous battles, executions and dramas.
- During the inaugural games of the Colosseum in 80 CE held by Titus, some 9,000 wild animals were slaughtered.
- In 107 CE, Emperor Trajan is said to have celebrated his victories in Dacia with contests involving 11,000 animals and 10,000 gladiators within 123 days.
- It is estimated that the games played in the Colosseum for hundreds of years have taken the lives of about 500,000 people and over a million wild animals.
- The last gladiatorial fights occurred in 435 CE and the last animal hunts stopped in 523 CE. It was primarily due to the cost of procuring animals and gladiators and maintaining the expensive facility.
- More than 100,000 cubic meters of travertine stone were used for the outer wall of Colosseum which was set without mortar held together by 300 tons of iron clamps.
- The Colosseum was built near the giant statue of Colossus which was part of the Nero’s Park. The current name was derived from the statue of Colossus.
- Based on historical evidences, it shows that 200 bullock carts were used to transport marbles to the construction site.
- The total amount of marbles used for the construction of the Colosseum was estimated at 100,000 cubic meters.
- Receiving millions of visitors every year, the Colosseum is the most famous tourist attraction of Rome.
- Despite its brutal pagan origins, the Colosseum has been used as a worship space by Christians over the centuries. A large cross was removed in the 1870's during a frenzy of secular archaeology funded by the new Italian state. That cross was replaced by Mussolini in 1926 in a cynical effort to placate Catholics.
- Gladiators were marginalized persons in Roman society, without the rights of citizenship, and essentially (or literally) slaves.The gladiators were both admired and reviled by the Romans.
- Although the Romans' gladiatorial spectacles petered out in about 432 AD, it was not because of any Christian edict. It was primarily due to the cost of procuring animals and gladiators and maintaining the expensive facility, which by this time was badly deteriorating.
- The area beneath the Colosseum was called the Hypogeum (meaning underground). The hypogeum consisted of two-level subterranean network of tunnels and 32 animal pens. It had 80 vertical shafts which provided instant access to the arena for animals.
What People Are Saying About the Colosseum
The Colosseum is absolutely mind blowing! We did the night tour and it was magical. Our guide was so knowledgable and told us so many interesting stories. Being able to go to the underground areas was also such a cool experience. Really think you need to see that area in order to fully grasp how incredible the arena is.
Skip-the-Line tickets are well worth it
Had a great time exploring Rome. We weren't sure if skip-the-line tickets for the Colosseum were actually necessary, but since we only had a day and were pressed on time, we didn't want to risk getting stuck in line all day. Extremely happy we went ahead with these tickets. The line was so long. Had we not, I don't think we would have had time to also check out the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill - both of which are also incredible.