Rome Italy Colosseum
Top Tips - Skip the Line, Best Way to Visit, and More!

Planning to visit the Rome Italy Colosseum

rome colosseum from the backThe Colosseum is one of the most amazing things you can see in Rome. Find out how to get the most out of your visit.

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.

Colosseum Ticketing Update April 2024

A brand new ticket system has been launched for tickets to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Domus Aurea - check it out here.

A few things to note with this new system:

1. It only applies for tickets from May 1 2024 onwards. If you want to purchase tickets for April 2024, you will need to use the old CoopCulture website.

2. Tickets are currently being released a month out, day by day. On April 8 tickets for May 8 became available, on April 9 tickets for May 9 get released and so on.

3. The new website has a system which puts visitors in a digital queue before letting them on to the site itself, to stop the site crashing due to demand, so don't worry if you don't get onto the site immediately.

4. Not all ticket/tour options are available to purchase yet so keep checking back if what you want isn't available.

Rome Italy Colosseum - Everything You Need to Know

The Colosseum is one of the world's most-visited sites, so it's important to plan ahead to make sure you have the best experience when you come to see it for yourself!

On this page, I'll tell you everything you need to know to get the most out of your visit to this amazing monument, including:

When is the Colosseum open?

The Rome Italy Colosseum is open every day including Christmas Day and New Years Day.

In the past it also closed on May 1, a big holiday in Europe, but this is no longer the case.

The Colosseum and Roman Forum / Palatine Hill are open on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, and on August 15 (Ferragosto.)

colosseum early morningThe Rome Italy Colosseum opens daily at 8:30AM. If you come earlier, there is hardly anyone around and you can get photos like this.

The Colosseum opens at 8:30AM, and closes "at sundown".

Closing "at sundown" means in winter months, the Colosseum closes at 4:30PM.

In the late spring and summer months it closes at 7:15PM.

Last entry is one hour prior to closing time.

For more specific closing times, visit the Parco Colosseo website, the official site of the Colosseum and the other associated archeological sites nearby.

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

If you're wondering when is the best time to visit the Colosseum to avoid huge crowds, there are three parts to this answer - time of year, day of the week, and time of day.

line at rome colosseumThe Rome Italy Colosseum is one of the top attractions in Rome. Find out my tips for getting the most out of your visit.


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Best time of year to visit the Colosseum?

The Rome 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, the crowds do vary according to how many tourists are in Rome.

If you are here between March – October, when it's a mix of high and mid seasons, the Colosseum will pretty much always be crowded, whatever time of day/day of the week you visit.

If you come in low season (NovemberDecemberJanuaryFebruary), when there are fewer tourists, you may find it somewhat less crowded.

Especially on non-holiday weekdays.

NB - In recent years, I am finding crowds and queues at the Rome Italy Colosseum even in low season on weekends, especially when the weather is good.

Best day of the week to visit the Colosseum?

The Colosseum is open 7 days a week.

And new for 2024 the Colosseum is open December 25 and January 1.

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 might find the Colosseum less crowded during the week than on the weekend.

(However, as of a huge return to Italy tourism in 2022, the Colosseum seems to be crowded pretty much every single day, year-round.)

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, Romans go out and enjoy their city, as well as people who live nearby and want a day out.

Then there are Italians and other European residents who can easily drive or fly into Rome on the weekend.

So you can always 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 on the 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 may close early on New Years' Eve and 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 AM, 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 levels as a bell curve.

In hot months, I highly recommend against visiting during the middle of the day, as there is virtually no shade and no place to sit down

Early Closing Hours in Winter

Don't forget  that 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 the crowds, and also for your own comfort, are:

  • In low season months, from November through February (except for the Christmas and New Year holidays).
  • Mid-week if you can.
  • At 9AM 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. The caveat here is that if you have a standard ticket, you have only one day to visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill area, so you would need to visit the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill before the Colosseum.
closeup of the coliseum in rome - before the renovationOne 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.


How much does it cost to visit the Colosseum?

There are two main ticket types for the Rome Italy Colosseum, a standard entry ticket and a Full Experience ticket.

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 also a 2€ booking fee for booking in advance.

You can avoid the booking fee if you purchase your tickets in person on site, but I don't recommend this as the lines can be really long.

Reminder: All Colosseum tickets will be nominative.

This means that your ticket will have your name on it, and you’ll have to show ID to prove you are the person whose name is on the ticket.  

Any valid photo ID will do, including your driver’s license (also a photo of your ID or passport on your phone is acceptable).

The Full Experience ticket price for the Colosseum is

  • 22€ 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 an additional 2€ booking fee.

Reminder: All Colosseum tickets will be nominative.

This means that your ticket will have your name on it, and you’ll have to show ID to prove you are the person whose name is on the ticket.  

Any valid photo ID will do, including your driver’s license (also a photo of your ID or passport on your phone is acceptable).

This ticket allows you to visit the Colosseum Underground, The Attic or the Colosseum Arena Floor, as well as access to all the S.U.P.E.R. sites (some of which may or may not be open during your visit), which are special areas that are now easily accessible with this ticket.

Take a look at my page all about the Colosseum Full Experience for more details!


Both the standard and Full Experience Colosseum tickets also include a one-time entrance to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill area, which are classed as one site for the entrance ticket.

roman forumThe Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are included in your ticket to the Rome Italy Colosseum.

For more information about how to get tickets for the Colosseum, exemptions, reduced entry and how to avoid the queues, take a look at my page all about Rome Italy Colosseum tickets here.

How to Get Free Entry to the Colosseum

While the Free Sunday at the Colosseum has been reinstated, this is only one day a month.

The Colosseum is free all the time:

  • For everyone under 18 years of age
  • For holders of a Roma Pass or other Rome city pass that allows entry to the Colosseum, and you choose this as one of your free sites
  • For anyone with a disability and their care-giver/companion (with valid medical documentation of the disability)

Get all the details you need about free entry to the Colosseum here.

NEW 

The Colosseum has opened a dedicated set of rooms for families, called the 'Baby Pit Stop' which you should take full advantage of if needed.

This is for families with young children to take a break if the crowds and size of the arena get too much, as well as providing baby changing facilities and a quiet place to breastfeed. Find it on the second floor.



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.

In my 3-day itinerary, you'll see all the major must-see Rome attractions like the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant'Angelo, and much more.

And if you have more time, or want suggestions for extra/other things to do, you'll find that there too.

Visit my page with the best 3-day itinerary in Rome for first-timers.


How long will it take to visit the Colosseum

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, with stopping to take pictures.

There is often a special exhibit on the second-level tier, so if you explore that, add anywhere from 10-30 minutes to your visit.

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 full visit to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill will take about 3 hours on average.

You can break this up, and visit over a full day, with a lunch break in between

Most tours given by tour agencies of the Colosseum include the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, and last around 3-4 hours.

What can you bring inside the Colosseum? What can't you bring?

I am often asked if you can bring a "small backpack" inside the Colosseum.

Yes you can.

This, of course, depends on what you mean by "small." Basically, you can bring a typical schoolbook-type backpack inside the Colosseum.

You may also take in a clear plastic bottle of water.

Here are the things you may not bring with you inside the Rome Italy Colosseum:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Aerosols
  • Large backpacks (such as for camping) or bulky bags
  • Trolleys
  • Tripods 
  • Selfie-sticks
  • Dark bottles and glasses containers

No matter what season you visit Rome, here are 4 things never to leave at home:

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Is it worth taking a tour of the Colosseum?

I am a big fan of tours, especially to a place like 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 or 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, so there is a Colosseum guide, a Roman Forum guide and a Palatine Hill guide.

Tours of the COlosseum with parco colosseo

When you book a ticket to the Colosseum directly with the Parco Colosseo, one of the options is to book a guided 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 introduction for your visit to the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill area, where you will not have a guide.

In the new ticketing system introduced in April 2024, the guided tours are not available for every ticket option so you'll need to double check if your preferred entry has an available tour.

TOURS OF THE COLOSSEUM through a Tour Agency

Many tour companies offer a variety of tours to the Colosseum.

They typically cost quite a bit more than the tours given directly by Parco Colosseo.

Here's why:

  • Tour companies are businesses and they need to make a profit. Parco Colosseo 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 guides who work for Parco Colosseo may have other duties, and are on salary, not paid per tour.
  • Tour companies offer a more complete package. When you take a tour of the Colosseum with Parco Colosseo, 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.

Wondering where the bathrooms are at the Colosseum?

Find out here.

Special visits to the Rome Colosseum

How to visit the Colosseum at night

Yes!

Most of the year, you can visit the Colosseum at night.

Rome coliseum at nightVisiting the Colosseum at night is one of my favorite things to do in Rome

A night visit to the Colosseum is a very special thing to do and I cannot recommend it highly enough - you can book your tour here.

How to visit the Colosseum arena floor

View of the Colosseum arena floorThere are a few ways you can get access to the Colosseum arena floor - it's definitely worth doing!

Walking out onto the reconstructed arena floor of the Colosseum is a really special feeling. It gives you a different perspective compared to just walking around the outer area!

You can get access to the arena floor with the Full Experience ticket, by visiting the Colosseum at night or by booking a tour that includes this access in the itinerary - find out all you need to know on my dedicated page here.

How To visit the underground of the Rome Italy Colosseum

The first time I visited the Rome 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?

rome colosseum insideWhen you see the inside of the Rome Italy Colosseumn, you realize there is no floor. You can see underneath from here, but you can also go down there!

By visiting the Colosseum underground, you will find out.

I highly recommend this visit.

Can you visit the Upper Tiers of the Rome Italy Colosseum?

In 2024, visits to the upper 3rd, 4th, and 5th levels of the Colosseum are open again.

Yes you can visit the upper tiers!

This is a new Full Experience ticket, where you can visit the Colosseum 'Attic' with a newly installed elevator. 

From there you can climb to the third, fourth and fifth tiers of the Colosseum and enjoy some stunning views!

Is the Colosseum wheelchair accessible?

visiting the colosseum in a wheelchairThe Rome Italy Colosseum IS wheelchair accessible.

Yes, the Rome Italy Colosseum is wheelchair accessible, mostly. 

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.

There are accessible toilets.


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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