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Rome Italy Colosseum - A Must See!

The first time I visited the Rome Italy Colosseum, I thought, where is the floor? 

It turns out that since it was made of wood, it’s long gone, and now, the underneath is exposed. What went on under there? 

inside rome colosseumInside the Colosseum in Rome - there's no floor!

Imagine it’s 2000 years ago, you are a worker for the Roman empire, and it’s your job to get a lion in a cage…

You are underneath the Roman colosseum, it’s hot, it smells of sweat, smoke and animals… the lion is roaring, gladiators are down there with you, preparing for battle, your fellow workers are shouting at you and each other, there is a lot of marching and stomping on the wooden floor above, and the crowds are roaring. And now, you’ve gotten that lion in the cage, and you and your fellow workmen have to grab some pulleys and make the cage rise through a trap door so that it seems to magically appear in the middle of the amphitheater…

When you visit the Rome Italy colosseum, think about this while looking at the labyrinth of chambers and passageways of what was once below the floor. 

    If you are planning to visit the Rome Colosseum, here's what you should know:

Facts about the Roman Colosseum

rome colosseum from above

Briefly, here are just a few quick history facts about the Colosseum in Rome (also spelled coliseum):

  • The ancient Roman colosseum is an amphitheater that was built by the Flavian dynasty (Vespasian, Titus, then Domitian), so it was originally known as “The Flavian amphitheater.”
  • The word Colosseum came later. It was probably due to the colossal statue Nero had made of himself (prior to the amphitheatre being built.) 
  • In fact, the Romans built many amphiteaters across what is now Europe (and other regions.) 
  • But the Rome Italy colosseum is the largest amphitheatre in the world.
  • When it was actively used for events, it could seat between 50-80,000 people.
  • If you’d like to know more about the floor of the ancient Roman colosseum and what went on under there, you might want to read this fascinating writeup in the Smithsonian magazine

Visiting the Rome Italy Colosseum

When is the best time to visit the colosseum in Rome?

The Rome Italy colosseum is one of the city's top attractions, so it always has visitors. However, unlike the Vatican, it won’t be crowded when tourists are not here. If you come in low season (November, December, January, February) , when there are fewer tourists, you will find it much less crowded. Note that the colosseum closes at “sundown” so in the winter months, you’ll need to come earlier in the day.

If you are here from March – October, a mix of high and mid seasons, the colosseum will always be crowded. But in hot months, you should avoid coming in the middle of the day, as there is virtually no shade and no place to sit down. 

You might try to come first thing in the morning, or late in the day, but you will still find crowds then (if in mid- or high-season.)

Return to questions

closeup of the coliseum in rome - before the renovation

How can I avoid the line at the coliseum?

OK so you may not be able to avoid the crowds, but you can do several things to avoid the line/queue. 

1. Purchase your tickets at the Roman Forum or Palatine Hill. There is one ticket, which is good for 2 consecutive days, that includes the Roman Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. In any case, you will at least want to visit the Forum as well anyway. 

Even though this is by now pretty well-known, there is always much more of a line at the entrance to the Colosseum than at the Forum entrance or Palatine Hill entrance. The entrance to the Roman Forum is on via dei Fori Imperiali, right where via Cavour meets it. The entrance to the Palatine Hill is past the huge arch of Constantine on Via di San Gregorio 30.

2. Book a tour. When you book almost any tour, your tickets will be purchased in advance, and you skip the long lines.

3. Get the Roma Pass. I do cover this on another page, in which I don’t actually recommend this as the best deal. But it does allow you entry to the colosseum in Rome without waiting in the line to buy tickets.

4. Pre-purchase your tickets online (see below.)

Return to questions

How do I get colosseum tickets in advance?

If you bought the Roma Pass, or if you already visited the Roman Forum or Palatine Hill, then you have a ticket for the colosseum … you go into the colosseum via the ticket-holders’ line, and do not have to wait in the line to purchase tickets (that’s the one that takes so long.)

If you don't have a Roma Pass, you can pre-purchase tickets on the CoopCulture websitethe official concessioners for the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Rome (Beniculturali di Roma.)

Return to questions

Can I visit the colosseum in Rome at night?

Rome coliseum at night

Yes! From late April through October, you can visit the Colosseum at night. Night visits to the Colosseum are on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday nights. You can book tickets through the CoopCulture website, or you can book a night tour of the Colosseum.

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How can I visit the underground of the Rome Italy Colosseum?

The underground of the ancient Roman colosseum has recently been opened to the public and it is now possible to visit it. You may purchase tickets through the official web site above.

They have the exclusive right to tickets for Underground Colosseum. However, they do give a certain number of tickets to a select number of tour agencies, so you may also be able to go with one of these agencies on an underground tour of the colosseum.

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coliseum in rome

When is the colosseum open?

The Rome Italy colosseum is open every day during the year except for Christmas day, New Years Day and May 1 (a big holiday in Europe.)

The colosseum opens at 8:30am, and closes “at sundown”. This means in winter months, the colosseum closes around 4:30pm (with last entry at 3:30pm!). In the late spring and summer months it closes around 7pm. The ticket office closes one hour prior to closing time. For more specific closing times, go here.

Return to questions

Wondering where the bathrooms are at the Colosseum?

Find out here.

More facts about the Colosseum in Rome

If you would like more information about the colosseum in Rome, and the history of the colosseum, visit the official Rome website for the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Rome.

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