The Colosseum in Rome is an oval-shaped amphitheater, which depicts Roman history’s beauty and tragedy.
Every year, four million tourists visit this 2000 years old attraction, used for gladiatorial contests and other spectator sports.
Table of contents
- How to reach the Colosseum
- Opening hours
- Colosseum’s entrance
- Best time to visit Colosseum
- Waiting time at Colosseum
- How long does Colosseum tour take
- Colosseum free entry
- Colosseum Rome tickets
- What to see at the Colosseum
- Colosseum at night
- Colosseum audio & video guide
- Roman Colosseum’s history
How to reach the Colosseum
The Colosseum is located in Piazza Del Colosseo 1, in the centre of Rome.
It is right next to Piazza Venezia, the central hub of Rome, Italy.
Traveling to the ancient Rome Colosseum from anywhere in the city is easy.
You can buy Bus and Metro tickets at newsstands, tabaccaio (cigarette shops), or get them from the ticket dispensing machines at bus and metro stations.
Once you board the bus or metro, validate the tickets on the validation machine.
Passengers with unvalidated tickets can be fined (anywhere from 50 Euros to 110 Euros).
In Rome, the cost of public transport tickets is around 1 Euro to 2 Euros.
Children younger than ten years of age can use the public transportation for free.
Depending on where you are starting from, you can board Bus No. 75, 81, 673, 175 or 204. All of them stop in front of the Colosseum in Rome.
Metro to Colosseum
Rome’s Metro service (locals call it Metropolitana) goes around rather than through the ancient city.
It has three lines – A Line (Red), B Line (Blue), and the newly inaugurated C Line (Green) which cross at Termini Central Station.
On most routes, the trains run approximately every 5 to 10 minutes.
Tram to Colosseum
Trams in Rome also start early – at 5:30 am and continue till midnight.
On Weekdays the frequency of Trams is high (one every five to ten minutes), but on Sundays, the rate comes down.
There are six active Tram routes in Rome, the most important being Line 3, Line 8, and Line 19.
To get to the Colosseum by Tram, you need to get onto Tram Line 3.
It starts from Station Trastevere and goes up to Valle Giulia, and on the way has 41 stops.
When starting from Station Trastevere, you need to get down at the 13th stop to reach the Colosseum.
Tip: Omnia Card is the best way to save money while traveling in Rome and the Vatican.
Colosseum opens at 8.30 am all through the year but its closing time keeps changing according to the season. During the peak months of March to September, Colosseum closes at 7 pm.
The last Sunday of Oct to 15 Feb: 8.30 am to 4.30 pm
16 Feb to 15 Mar: 8.30 am to 5 pm
16 Mar to the last Saturday of Mar: 8.30 am to 5.30 pm
Last Sunday of Mar to 31 Aug: 8.30 am to 7:15 pm
1 to 30 Sept: 8.30 am to 7 pm
1 Oct to last Saturday of Oct: 8.30 am to 6.30 pm
Ancient Rome’s Colosseum is closed on Good Friday from 8:30 am to 2.00 pm and on 2nd June from 1.30 pm to 7.15 pm.
Last entrance is one hour before the closing time.
When is the Colosseum closed
The Colosseum remains closed on the 1st January (New Year), the 1st May (Labor Day) and the 25th December (Christmas).
The Roman Colosseum has three entrances.
– Main Entrance
– ‘Stern’ Entrance
– Entrance for groups
Colosseum’s main entrance
This is also known as the Entrance for Individuals.
The moment you reach the Colosseum’s main entrance, you will notice a long line of visitors in the ticketing queue.
These are visitors who didn’t plan ahead and buy their Colosseum tickets online.
If you have already bought the Roman Colosseum’s ticket online, you can pass this queue and go directly to the security checkpoint. Check out types of Colosseum tickets
The ‘Stern’ Entrance
The ‘Stern’ entrance is on the opposite side of the main Colosseum entrance.
It is also known as ‘Gladiator’s gate’ and leads tourists to the Arena at the ground level.
Using this entry point, visitors with a licensed guide can gain direct access to the Arena floor in 20-minute time slots.
Earlier only tour groups could use this entrance, but from 1 June 2018 even individuals with a licensed private guide can visit the Arena floor via the Stern access.
Guided tours to the Upper floors and Colosseum Underground start at this entrance.
Usually there is no waiting time at the ‘Stern’ entrance.
The third entrance is called the ‘Group Gate’ and is right next to the Main entrance.
It is for large groups of tourists, school kids, etc. who are accompanied by an authorized tour guide.
Roma Pass Colosseum entrance
Till March 2019, you could show your Roma Pass at the main Colosseum entrance and walk in, but not anymore.
Now, Roma Pass holders must make a reservation by calling +39 06 39967575 before they visit the Colosseum. The reservation costs 2 Euros.
Important: Whichever Colosseum ticket you choose, it is crucial to be on time. You will be allowed to enter up to 15 minutes after the booked time, but after that, you will be asked to go back, and your tickets won’t be refunded.
The Rome Tourist Pass is a super saver. For just €74 per person, the pass includes entry tickets to Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Pantheon and a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. You also get a 10% discount code, which you can use (five times!) to get discounts on future purchases.
Best time to visit Colosseum
The best time to visit Colosseum is as soon as they open at 8.30 am.
If you can’t make it in the morning, the next best time to visit the Colosseum is after 3 pm.
During this period, the queues are relatively shorter, and the sun is also not as harsh.
When NOT to visit Colosseum
During these peak months – March to October – the ticket and security lines are longest in the first half of the day.
During the peak summer months, avoid reaching Colosseum after 11 am.
With no shade and no place to sit down, exploring Colosseum when the sun is high can be difficult.
Best day to visit Colosseum
The Colosseum is open seven days a week.
During the high season, Rome Italy Colosseum is teeming with tourists every day of the week.
It is difficult to recommend a lean day for a visit.
Low season weekends also end up attracting crowd, thus resulting in long lines at the Colosseum.
During low season weekends, locals show their friends around, Italians from neighboring cities/towns drop-in, and Europeans from nearby countries drive-in.
During the low season, weekdays are less crowded and better suited for a visit to the Colosseum.
Waiting time at Colosseum
At the Colosseum, you wait in two lines – at the ticket counter to buy your tickets and then at the line for security screening.
If you buy Colosseum tickets in advance, you can avoid waiting in the tickets line.
However, you can’t skip the security check line.
The waiting time at the Colosseum depends on the season, the day of the week and the time.
Here are the approximate waiting times at Colosseum, during peak and non-peak months –
Monday to Thursday
|Time||Peak Season*||Non-peak Season**|
|8.30 am to 9 am||30 mins||15 mins|
|9 am to 1 pm||2 hours||30 mins|
|1 pm to 3 pm||1 hour||30 mins|
|3 pm to last entry||30 mins||15 mins|
Friday to Sunday
|Time||Peak Season*||Non-peak Season**|
|8.30 am to 9 am||45 mins||15 mins|
|9 am to 1 pm||3 hours||1 hour|
|1 pm to 3 pm||2 hour||30 mins|
|3 pm to last entry||45 mins||15 mins|
*Peak months: April to August
**Non-peak months: September to March
These waiting times can further increase during school holidays, summer vacations, festivals, etc.
This estimate includes the time spent waiting in the lines to buy your ticket and then waiting for the security line.
If you want to cut down this waiting time at the Colosseum’s entrance by more than half, buy your tickets in advance.
How long does Colosseum tour take
Visitors usually take 90 minutes to two hours to explore Colosseum’s first and second floors, the arena, and the underground.
All Colosseum tickets come with access to Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and if you decide to visit them as well on the same day, you need 90 minutes and 60 minutes respectively.
Guided tours of all three ancient sites usually take three hours.
# There are no food outlets at the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, so if you plan to explore all three on the same day, eat well before
# Roman Forum and Palatine Hill cover a massive area. We recommend a sun hat, comfortable walking shoes, and lots of water.
# There is little or no signage at Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Standing in front of a ruin and not knowing what it is, is a not-so-good experience. The best solution is to book a guided tour of the three ancient Roman sites. The second best option is to install ‘Google Lens‘ and learn to use it.
Colosseum free entry
There are many ways to enter the Colosseum for free.
On the first Sunday of every month, visitors can enter the Colosseum for free.
However, we don’t recommend this because the queues are quite long.
On free Sundays, you can’t book any group tours, guided tours or online tickets.
Free entry by qualification
Some visitors qualify for free admission to the Colosseum by default.
- Visitors aged 18 and below
- Disabled EU citizens
- Companions of disabled visitors
Disabled visitors must carry their valid medical documentation.
Omnia Vatican & Rome Card
This discount card is yet another way to enter the Colosseum for free.
It is a combination of two cards – the Roma Card and the OMNIA Vatican Card.
While the Roma Card grants you free entry to 2 out of 5 top attractions in Rome, the OMNIA Vatican Card allows free entrance to all top sights in Vatican City.
Find out more about the Omnia Vatican & Rome Card
Colosseum Rome tickets
There are many kinds of Colosseum tickets.
Depending on the amount of time you have, your level of interest in Roman history, and the budget, you can choose the most appropriate Colosseum tour or ticket.
How online Colosseum tickets work
All the online Colosseum tickets are also known as Skip The Line tickets because they help you skip the long queues at the ticket counter.
When you buy Colosseum entry tickets online, they get emailed to you within minutes of the purchase.
On the day of your visit, show the email you received at the entrance and walk in – no need to take printouts.
Colosseum tickets are timed
As a rule, only 3000 tourists can be inside the Colosseum at any given point in time.
That is why all visitors must select a time and date while booking their Colosseum tickets.
These timed tickets help the Colosseum authorities keep the count at 3000 without making the tourists wait for a long time.
However, you must be at the tourist attraction within 15 minutes of the time mentioned on your Colosseum Rome ticket.
Else you will be sent back.
Validity of Colosseum ticket
All Colosseum tickets have two-day validity, which means you can explore Colosseum on Day 1 and come back the next day to explore the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
You don’t need to visit all the sites on the same day.
However, you can’t visit the Colosseum twice because the ticket allows only one entry into each site.
Cheapest Colosseum ticket
This ticket lets you access Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.
The value-for-money ticket gets you a priority entrance into the Colosseum and access to its first and second floors.
You can also see the permanent and temporary exhibitions before moving on to Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
You must reach the ‘Individual Entrance Gate’ at the Colosseum 30 minutes before your booked timeslot and enter through the line for ‘visitors with reservations.’
Adult ticket (18+ years): €24
EU Citizen (18 to 25 years): €6
Child ticket (up to 17 years): €6
Colosseum with Arena Floor ticket
This Arena Floor ticket gets you access through the priority entrance, thus saving a lot of waiting time.
You can visit, Colosseum’s first, second, and Arena floor before exploring Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
If you prefer, you can come back the next day to explore Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, with the same ticket.
Adult ticket (18+ years): €28
EU Citizen (18 to 25 years): €4.50
Child ticket (up to 17 years): €2
Guided tour of Colosseum
With this tour ticket, you skip the lines and join a fascinating guided tour of Rome’s Colosseum and Roman Forum.
The trained local guide takes you through the heart of ancient Rome and makes the haunting history of gladiator battles come alive beneath your feet.
There are two tours daily – at 11.30 am and at 3 pm, and you can opt for your preferred slot.
The 3-hour tour is available in English, Italian, and Spanish – remember to select your preferred language on the ticket booking page.
Adult ticket (18+ years): €55
Child ticket (up to 17 years): €45
Guided tour with Gladiator Entrance
This two-and-a-half-hour guided tour gets you Skip-the-line access to the Colosseum, the arena floor, and it’s underground.
Visitors love descending into the underground tunnels where gladiators and wild animals awaited their fates.
Everybody gets dedicated audio headsets so that they can hear the guide.
After the guide has taken you around Colosseum and Roman Forum, you are free to explore Palatine Hill on your own.
Adult ticket (15+ years): €79
Child ticket (2 to 14 years): €74
Infant ticket: Free entry
The Colosseum Underground experience can be even scarier at night. Find out more about the Colosseum underground night tour.
Best of Rome Pass
This is one easy pass for the best that Rome has to offer – Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St Peter’s Basilica.
Once activated, this ticket is valid for three consecutive calendar days.
The timeslot you select while booking the ticket applies to your entrance to the Vatican.
Around 15 minutes before your entry to the Vatican Museums, you must meet the Touristation representative and collect all your tickets.
The meeting point is right in front of the Vatican Museums’ entrance.
Adult ticket (18+ years): €85
Child ticket (6 to 17 years): €60
Infant ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry
Mamertine Prison & Colosseum tickets
This is a popular combination among tourists because Mamertine Prison is just 1 km (two-third of a mile) from the Roman Colosseum.
Mamertine Prison is in the basement of the church of San Pietro in Carcere and has housed vanquished emperors and kings and Saints Peter and Paul.
In prison, you will see the bars St. Peter was chained to and the pool of water he used to baptize visitors.
Once activated, this combo ticket is valid for 24 hours.
Adult ticket (18+ years): €28
Child ticket (6 to 17 years): €6
Infant ticket (up to 5 years): Free entry
If you are visiting Rome with kids, we recommend this family-friendly guided tour of the Colosseum.
Children also seem to love this 90-minute gladiator show.
If you want to experience the Colosseum as it would have been in its heydays – with roaring lions and fighting gladiators – we recommend this self-guided Virtual Reality tour of the Colosseum.
What to see at the Colosseum
The Colosseum is enormous, and there are many things to see once you are inside.
Here are the must-see features of this Roman attraction –
Colosseum’s outer wall
The Colosseum is oval and 186 meters (610 feet) long by 156 meters (512 feet) wide.
The outer wall is 57 meters (187 feet) in height and built of travertine marble held together by iron clamps.
In a massive earthquake of 1349, the Colosseum’s south side outer wall collapsed leaving the inner wall exposed.
Do spend some time marvelling at the massive outer walls.
Colosseum’s Arena floor
The arena floor was built of wood and covered with sand.
The Romans built trap doors on this wooden floor for dramatic entries during the gladiator fights.
Since this wooden flooring didn’t survive the test of time, a new platform has been raised to give the visiting tourists the experience of standing on the Arena Floor.
When you look up at the top seating arrangements, while standing in the Colosseum’s arena, you will realise what a massive structure the Romans had built.
The Underground (Hypogeum)
Since the wooden floor couldn’t stand the test of time, the Colosseum’s underground now stands exposed to all.
Under the floor of the Colosseum is a two-story structure full of tunnels, cages and rooms meant for gladiators and wild animals participating in the shows.
As the show progressed, the performers and the wild animals were moved through the tunnels and brought in front of the crowd through trap doors on the wooden floor.
The King and the Vestal Virgins sat in the best seats at the North and South ends of the arena.
You will still be able to see names of some of the senators carved in the area reserved for them, in tier 1.
The Noble families sat in tier 2, and the general public sat in the 3rd and 4th levels.
A regular Colosseum ticket allows you to go to tier 1 and tier 2 and feel like a Roman spectator.
However, if you want to experience the incredible height of the amphitheatre and get fantastic views, you must go to Tier 4 and 5.
These tiers are also known as the Colosseum Belvedere.
Tier 5 is at the height of 40 meters and offers a breathtaking view of the city of Rome and the Colosseum Arena.
Unfortunately, like the underground tunnels, these tiers are also accessible only through a special tour.
Tip: If you want to see all the areas mentioned above, check out this tour of the Colosseum
Colosseum at night
There are two ways to see the Colosseum at night – walk around from outside or book a night tour and get inside.
More than 99% of the tourists visit the Colosseum during the day and the rest fight (not Gladiator style, of course!) for the limited night tour tickets.
That’s how rare a Colosseum night tour ticket is.
When you visit the Colosseum at night, there is no crowd, and it is silent and eerie.
If you love that feeling and if you want to explore areas of the Colosseum not available during day tours, you must explore this Roman monument at night.
However, be aware that the night tour is in much demand and hence ou must book much in advance.
Colosseum at night vs. day
Both a day visit and a night visit to the Colosseum have their pros and cons.
Colosseum by day
- You can visit on your own, without a guide
- You can book your ticket for any time during the day
- After visiting the Colosseum, you can also visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
- It gets very crowded during the day
- The weather is hot because there is no cover
Colosseum at night
- The monument is lit up, creating amazing visuals both inside and outside
- Without the crowd, it seems like a private tour of the Colosseum
- You get to explore areas not available as part of the regular daytime ticket
- The darkness brings about a thrill and excitement, which the day tour can’t match
- The night tour tickets cost much more than the regular day time tickets
- These tickets sell out much in advance, so you have to plan much ahead
- You can only see the Colosseum at night. Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are not part of night tours
It won’t be fair on our part to pick one Colosseum tour over the other.
But having said that, we feel that your first visit must be during the day so that you can see the Roman architectural skills in full daylight.
If you have already visited the Colosseum once during day time, you must try out the night visit.
Colosseum by night timings
Colosseum night tours are available from April till the end of the year.
The night tours start an hour after the regular closing time of the Colosseum.
And since the closing time of the Colosseum is dependent on the sunset, these Colosseum Rome night tours always start when it is dark.
These night tours usually last 1 to 2 hours.
Colosseum night tour
This Roman Colosseum night tour is led by a professional guide, who narrates anecdotes making it a memorable trip.
The Guide meets you at a distance from the Colosseum so that you can watch the lit-up monument in its full glory even as you walk towards it.
Besides the main and second floor of the Colosseum, during the night tour, you also get to explore the Arena floor and Colosseum’s Underground.
This after-dark tour of Rome’s most beautiful monument is not suitable for kids five years and younger.
Adult ticket (18+ years): €79
Child ticket (6 to 17 years): €74
Infant ticket (up to 5 years): Not allowed
If roaming around at night interests you, check out this night tour of Rome on a Segway.
Colosseum audio & video guide
We highly recommend guided tours of Colosseum, because there is so much to see and learn.
However, if you prefer your own pace, the next best option is renting the audio or video guide.
The audio guide is 1 hour and 10 minutes long and costs Euros 5.50.
The video guide lasts 45 minutes and is available for Euros 6.
Both the guides are available in Italian, English, French, Spanish, German, Japanese, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese.
Besides the above languages, the audio guide is also available in Arabic and Latin.
Must see: Check out the World’s first LEGO Colosseum
Roman Colosseum’s history
Here are some frequently asked questions on Colosseum history –
- How old is the Colosseum?
The Colosseum of Rome is the centuries’ old ruins of an amphitheater that held gladiatorial combats and spectator sports.
Its construction was finished in 80 A.D and is, therefore, one 1,938 years old.
- When was the Colosseum built?
The Colosseum was built between 72 A.D and 80 A.D under the Emperor Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty as a gift to the Roman people.
- Why was the Colosseum built?
Nero is known to be one of the most decadent and ruthless emperors of Rome. After taking his own life in 68 A.D, he left Rome in a state of disarray.
It was only after Vespasian that there came a sense of stability.
The Emperor tried to give back to the people by cutting down on the excesses of the Roman Court, restore Senate authority, and promoting public welfare.
On 70-72, as a token of good faith to the people, he decided to build a new amphitheatre for people’s entertainment in the place of the Golden Palace that Nero had made for himself.
- Who built the Colosseum?
The construction of the Roman Colosseum began in 72 A.D under Emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 A.D under his heir and successor Emperor Titus.
Many modifications were later added between 81-96 AD during the reign of Emperor Domitian.
Recommended Reading: Interesting Colosseum facts
Popular attractions in Rome
# St Peter’s Basilica
# Vatican Museums
# Borghese Gallery
# Sistine Chapel
# Roman Forum
# Castel Sant’Angelo
# Capitoline Museum
# Catacombs of Rome
# Mamertine Prison
# Pantheon Rome
# Leonardo Da Vinci Experience
# Gladiator School Rome