Everything you need to know before visiting the Colosseum

Adam Jones | 15/01/2020
the colosseum at dusk with cyprus trees

After landing in Rome and taking the train to Rome Termini station one of the first stops tourists flock to is the Colosseum. The pageantry, the spectacle, the stories, the history– no Italian monument looms larger in the imagination than the Colosseum. The gathering place for citizens and nobles alike during the height of the Roman Empire, festivals of games and spectacles might last for as long as 100 days, with people arriving early and staying late into the night. Emperors would rule over gladiatorial combat, animal hunts, feats of athleticism, mock naval battles, and classical dramas. Epic in size even by today’s standards, at its peak it could hold up to 80,000 spectators. Visiting the Colosseum is a Rome must-see and definitely an Italy highlight.

How many people visit the Colosseum?

According to TripAdvisor, the Colosseum is now the most popular tourist site in the entire world. In 2018 it received approximately 7.4 million visitors. Since it’s such a busy site, you’ll want to consider how to make the most of your time at the Colosseum.

What is the best way to see the Colosseum?

As a world-renowned attraction, there are often long lines to get into the Colosseum, which isn’t much fun in Rome’s heat. We recommend our Colosseum & Ancient Rome Tour. Not only will you have an English speaking guide to walk you through the history of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum, you’ll avoid waiting in line. Another benefit is access to special parts of the Colosseum made only available to tour groups. Soar above the crowds as you access the upper sections of the ancient structure. Enjoy the panoramic views and explore behind-the-scenes areas.

How long does it take to visit the Colosseum? 

Around three hours in total, the tour not only includes a live guide, but you’re also equipped with an audio guide as well. If possible, we recommend visiting between the months of November and March for an optimal experience; you won’t have crowds to brave and the temperature is much more pleasant.

Do you need a tour to visit the Colosseum?

There are free and self-guided options available for the more budget-conscious traveler. The Colosseum, as well as many other museums, historic buildings, and famous sites all over Rome, are available to visit for free on the first Sunday of the month. However, keep in mind that this can lead to exceedingly long lines. The capacity of the Colosseum is around 3000 people at a time, with lines on the free days sometimes stretching to 30,000 people. If you’re not planning on visiting for free, this is the best day to avoid, as paid entry and group tours will not be available.

The other way of visiting the Colosseum in Rome is to purchase your basic entry ticket in advance. You’ll get a scheduled entry, on top of which you can also buy an audio guide that will help you get the most out of your experience. The Colosseum always opens at 8:30 am, but closing times vary from 4:30 pm to 7:15 pm depending on the season. We’d recommend checking the schedule at the time you purchase your ticket. Luggage, backpacks, large purchases, and the like are not permitted in the Colosseum, so you’ll want to leave those items at your hotel before heading out for your visit.

How much does visiting the Roman Colosseum cost?

Depending on how you’d like to experience, the cost to visit the Colosseum can vary. The base ticket price is 18 euros, which includes an online booking fee. This will get you a scheduled entrance for the Colosseum and the Roman Forum-Palatine Hill. 

We recommend booking an advance tour to avoid the inevitable lines, regardless of the season. For an extra € 4.00, you can purchase a SUPER Ticket which allows you access to the following sites: Criptoportico Neroniano, Museo Palatino, Aula Isiaca – Loggia Mattei, House of Augustus, House of Livia, Temple of Romulus and Santa Maria Antiqua.  

You can also buy a full experience ticket for €22.00. The full experience ticket gives you access to sites for 2 days rather than one. You’ll receive entrance to the Colosseum with access to the Arena, the Roman-Forum-Palatine Hill, as well as the special SUPER sites and the Imperial Forums.

Can you visit the Vatican and the Colosseum in one day?

It’s possible to visit the Vatican and the Colosseum in one day, but we don’t recommend doing it on your own. With huge crowds, extended lines and a whole lot of history at both locations, trying to do it all on your own could be a very stressful experience. Our Entire Vatican tour & Colosseum ticket will let you enjoy the highlights of both of the famous attractions without having to worry about the details.

Visit the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, Saint Peter's Basilica, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill in this extensive 9-hour tour. Sample the best that Rome has to offer without any rush, stress, or hassle. These tours book up so do your best to book yours in advance. 

A visit to Rome is not complete without experiencing the Roman Colosseum. Enjoy your trip!

What are you waiting for? Book your tickets now!