Here's everything you need to know, from how to skip the line, when to go, which ticket to buy, what's included, and more.
The Colosseum is one of the most amazing things you can see in Rome. Find out how to get the most out of your visit.
October 2021 - All the latest Colosseum news:
Prior to Covid, the Colosseum went through a flurry of changes to the way you'll visit this site and its related sites, the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. And since we have come back out of lockdown, there are more new rules and restrictions.
Here are the highlights of the new prices, new rules, and new offerings at the Colosseum:
Single full-priced entry to the Colosseum now costs 16€.
A standard 16€ ticket includes ONE-DAY ONLY access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.
You must reserve a date and time to visit the Colosseum. This costs 2€. You do not need a reservation to visit the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill. The ticket office at the Colosseum is not open for ticket sales. They are there only to assist you in case you have trouble downloading your pre-purchased ticket.
Every type of Colosseum ticket that includes the Roman Forum also allows you to go from the Roman Forum through Julius Caesar's Forum and Trajan's Forum. (The exception is a ticket to visit the Colosseum at night which does not include the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill). CURRENTLY SUSPENDED.
There is a NEW TICKET called "Full Experience". This ticket costs 22€ (plus 2€ to book in advance online.) In addition to access to the above sites, this ticket also allows you: TWO days to visit (no re-entry), access to all the S.U.P.E.R. sites on the Palatine Hill/Roman Forum (subject to opening hours and availability), AND access to the arena OR underground.
To enter the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, you must have a Green Pass. Properly-worn face masks are obligatory at all times inside all these sites. Children under 6 are exempt.
The Rome Italy Colosseum is open every day except Christmas Day and New Years Day. (It used to also be closed on May 1, a big holiday in Europe, but this is no longer the case. The Colosseum IS open on May 1.)
The Rome Italy Colosseum opens daily at 9:30 am. If you come earlier, there is hardly anyone around and you can get photos like this.
The Colosseum opens at 9:30 am, and closes “at sundown." (The Colosseum used to open at 8:30 am but post-Covid reopening, they are keeping a later schedule at the moment.)
This means in winter months, the Colosseum closes around 4:30 pm (with last entry at 3:30pm).
In the late spring and summer months it closes around 7 pm. The ticket office closes one hour prior to closing time.
For more specific closing times, visit the CoopCulture website, the official ticketing website of the Colosseum and other archeological sites around Italy.
The Rome Italy Colosseum is one of the city's top attractions, and one of the most visited monuments in the world (over 7 million in 2019!). So it always has visitors. However, unlike the Vatican, it isn't crowded when tourists are not here.
So is there a day of the week that is best for visiting the Colosseum?
In high season, the Rome Italy Colosseum is crowded every day of the week. You can barely discern a difference between the crowds during the week vs. the weekend.
But in low season, you will find the Colosseum less crowded during the week than on the weekend.
This is the line at the Rome Italy Colosseum on a February weekend. Yes, February is mostly low season. But is it busy at the Colosseum on the weekend? Even in low season? YES!
On the weekends, you have Romans going around their city with friends and family. You also have people who live near Rome and want to enjoy a day in the city. Then there are Italians and other European residents who find it easy to drive or fly into Rome on the weekend. So if you are one of these people, count on crowds at the Colosseum on weekends, even in low season.
Some things to keep in mind:
If you are here for Easter Weekend, the Colosseum closes early Friday, due to the Via Crucis. On that weekend, it's open and will be packed.
If you are here over New Years', the Colosseum will close early on New Years' Eve, and may have later opening hours on New Years' Day (check on their website to be sure of opening times these dates.)
Best time of day to visit the Colosseum?
Just about any time of year, high season or not, I always suggest visiting the Colosseum either when they first open at 9:30am, or, 1-2 hours before last entry.
In high season, you will still see plenty of people at these hours but not nearly as many as during late morning and through the middle of the day. Think of the crowd amount as a bell curve.
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.
Early Closing Hours in Winter
The Rome Italy Colosseum closes at “sundown” so in the winter months, you’ll need to come earlier in the day.
To sum up, the best times to visit the colosseum to avoid crowds, and also for your own comfort, are:
At 9:30am when it first opens. In high season, you will still find crowds at this hour, but much smaller crowds than later in the day.
One hour before last entry. Last entry is one hour before it actually closes, so if you go about an hour before that, you will have plenty of time to enjoy it and not feel rushed, but by then, the crowds have greatly thinned out. The "last entry" and closing times vary throughout the year, and are based on sundown. (The caveat here is that you need to make sure you give yourself plenty of time to visit the Colosseum, and also the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill if you want to visit those also. And as of 2019, you only have one day to do so with a standard ticket.)
One of my favorite times of day to visit the Colosseum is close to closing time. Then you can enjoy a bonus sunset as you leave.
Standard ticket prices for visiting the Rome Italy COlosseum
The standard ticket price for the Colosseum is
16€ for an adult
2€ for Europeans between the ages of 18-25. At the moment, this discounted rate is available only to European citizens.
Free for everyone under 18
There is a 2€ booking fee which is obligatory, as advanced booking is now required to visit the Colosseum.
This is true even for free tickets.
So for example, if you are eligible for a free ticket, i.e. if you are under 18, or have the Roma Pass or other City Pass, and you want to reserve a time so you can skip the line, you still need to pay the 2€ to reserve.
Well, to manage the huge crowds that have been getting bigger every year, CoopCulture have implemented new rules.
As of March 1, 2019, visitors to the Colosseum, including Roma Pass holders, MUST reserve a time slot. And this means paying that 2€.
ADVANCED BOOKING IS OBLIGATORY
If you just show up without booking in advance, you will be told you must still book online (using your smartphone). It may be possible to book same-day tickets but in high season, I would not bet on this.
Prior to Covid, the occupancy limit at any given time inside the Colosseum used to be 3,000 people. Now the limit is much lower.
If you just show up without a booking, you risk waiting a very long time to get in if there are even spots available, or you may simply not be able to visit the Colosseum at all that day.
What's included in your ticket to the Colosseum
For the price of entry to the Colosseum, you ALSO get to visit the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are included in your ticket to the Rome Italy Colosseum.
These three places make up a huge area we call "Ancient Rome."
The phrase Ancient Rome could really refer to a much larger area.
In fact, even a lot of places outside the city of Rome were part of Ancient Rome (like Ostia and Pompeii, but that is another story.)
Here's how the standard Rome Italy Colosseum ticket works:
You have 1 day to visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. (Until 2019, it used to be 2 days.)
You can only visit each site once (no re-entry.)
The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are actually ONE park, so you have to visit them together.
You CAN visit everything in one day if you want. You can also take a lunch/coffee break between visits to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill.
There is only one main entrance to the Colosseum (although there is a second entrance for special visits. You will be informed if your visit begins at this other entrance, called the Stern gate.)
The main entrance to the Roman Forum is on via dei Fori Imperiali, right where via Cavour meets it. Currently the only entrance to the Roman Forum ias on the via Sacra where the Arch of Titus is.
The main entrance to the Palatine Hill is past the huge arch of Constantine on Via di San Gregorio 30.
Colosseum Full Experience Ticket
The Full Experience ticket costs 22€ (plus 2€ to book in advance which is required). The same conditions apply (discounts and free entry) as for the standard Rome Italy Colosseum ticket, i.e. the cost is still 2€ for European citizens aged 18-25, and free for everyone under 18).
You can book a tour of the Colosseum. When you book a tour, the tour guide/company takes care of getting the tickets for you, and of course you skip the line.
You can pre-purchase tickets on the CoopCulturewebsite, the official concessioners for the Superintendence for Archaeological Heritage of Rome (Beniculturali di Roma).
If you find the above website a not totally user-friendly, you can buy your ticket online through a ticket agency, like this one:
It's no longer the case that you can count on coming to the Palatine Hill to buy your tickets with no line.
They are not selling tickets on site at this time.
The perfect 3-day itinerary in Rome
Trying to figure out how to organize your visit to Rome? I've got the perfect 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors (or those who have not been here in a while.) It works for a 2.5 day visit as well.
I find that a typical visit to the inside of the colosseum, including walking around the two tiers you can visit with a standard ticket, takes around an hour.
Of course you could spend less time if you want. But an hour is about right if you visit it as most people do, walking all the way around one tier, and then all the way around the other tier, and especially stopping to take pictures.
There is often a special exhibit on the second-level tier, so if you spend time there, add anywhere from 10-30 minutes.
Finally, there is a gift shop, so you might spend time there, as well.
How long will it take to visit the Colosseum, Forum, and Palatine Hill?
Typically, you will spend about an hour at each site, so a visit to "Ancient Rome", i.e. the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill will take about 3 hours.
I am a big fan of tours, especially to a place like Ancient Rome that is so full of history. Without a tour, you would need a really good guidebook, or audio tour, otherwise, you will just be looking at a bunch of ruins without any context ur understanding of where they came from and why they are there.
If you are not a tour person, you could take the audio guide at each location. Each site has its own audio guide. The Colosseum has one, the Roman Forum has another one, and the Palatine Hill has yet another one.
Tours of the Rome Italy COlosseum with CoopCulture
When you book a ticket to the Colosseum on CoopCulture, one of the options is to book a tour. This is a tour given by the guides employed by the Colosseum. The cost is minimal (usually about 5-10 € more than a standard ticket). So it can be worthwhile to take this tour. You will certainly get some history and a good start towards your unaccompanied visit to the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill.
TOURS OF THE ROME ITALY COLOSSEUM through a Tour Agency
Many tour companies offer a variety of tours to the Rome Italy Colosseum. They typically cost quite a bit more than the tours given directly by CoopCulture. Here's why:
Tour companies are businesses and they need to make a profit (CoopCulture is a government-funded agency so it's less focused on profits.)
Tour companies employ licensed guides, who need to make a living from their work (the licensed guides who work for the Rome Italy Colosseum may have other duties. Also, they are on salary, not paid per tour.)
Tour companies offer a more complete package. When you take a tour of the Colosseum with CoopCulture, you will get a basic tour of the Colosseum. Most tour companies include the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill at the very least, if not other special things to see along the way.
The ground floor of the colosseum is accessible to wheelchair users. From there, you can take a lift/elevator to the second tier. You can also get around both the ground floor and second floor tiers in a wheelchair. Visits to the underground and upper tiers are not wheelchair accessible.
You may bring your own wheelchair, or request one upon arrival. They only have one wheelchair available on each floor, so don't count on one being available. If you need your own, you should bring it, or rent one in Rome.
Visitors who are disabled (with written medical proof, if not in a wheelchair), and their companion/caregiver, may enter the Colosseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill for free.