The Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in antiquity. Today it is the most visited museum in Italy.
We will inform you about the various tickets for the Colosseum and the most interesting tours.
Here you will find all information about opening times and how to avoid queues.
The German Archaeological Institute, together with Italian bodies, has researched the stage technology of the Colosseum. Read here about their results and the history of the Colosseum.
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The best tickets
Due to the coronavirus distance rules, some tickets are currently not available.
The Colosseum tickets are valid for 24 hours for entry to the area of the Imperial Forums, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. You get a fixed entry time for the Colosseum. The 24 hours count from the first entry, either to the Colosseum or to the Palatine Hill and the Forums.
You can only visit the Colosseum by reservation. You can get the tickets only online.
If you use the Roma Pass, the Omnia Card or the Blue Siat Pass, make a reservation by calling +39 06 39967575.
Reduced and free entrance
Entry into the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine is free for people up to the age of 18. Free tickets must also be reserved in good time. School groups must book in advance. Information can be found on my page Colosseum tickets.
Persons with disabilities and an accompanying person enjoy free admission. You get the free tickets at the ticket office for reserved tickets.
Also architecture students, journalists and some other groups of people receive tickets for free.
Reduced admission is granted to EU citizens aged 18-25 years.
All tickets, including free or reduced admission, must be reserved in advance on the Internet.
There are three entrances to the Colosseum: the entrance for individual visitors, the entrance for groups and the entrance to the arena.
As there may be waiting times at the security check, you should be there 15 minutes before the reserved time.
The Colosseum is open all year round and closes only on the 1st January and on 25th December.
The Colosseum opens at 10:30 in the Morning. Last entry is one hour before closing. The Colosseum closes:
16th February – 15th March: 17:00
If you have an online reservation, you will enjoy preferential entry. Otherwise, you must queue up at the cashier. This can take several hours sometimes.
The reservation fee is 2 Euro.
Days with free tickets for all
On the first Sunday of each month the entrance to the Colosseum is free and the queues are accordingly long.
In principle, therefore, we advise against visiting the Colosseum on the days of free admission. It is extremely crowded these days.
Opening hours of all Rome museums can be found in our list of museums in Rome.
Organize your Colosseum visit
You can also visit Palatine and Forums before. But you have to be on time for your reservation at the Coliseum. Because of the security check, you should arrive at the Colosseum at least 15 minutes earlier.
In the first phase after the reopening, the only entrance to the Forums and the Palatine Hill is on Via della Salara Vecchia.
There you can choose between four paths with a duration of 30 minutes to 2h 30′. The shortest route “La Piazza del Foro” is not suitable if you then want to go to the Colosseum. The walk on Via Sacra takes 1h 30′ and ends at the Arch of Titus near the entrance to the Colosseum. The other two routes end on Via di San Gregorio.
If you want to visit the archaeological park before the Colosseum, it is worth taking the entrance to the Imperial Forums at Piazza Venezia. You will see the forum and the column of Trajan, Caesars Forum and continue to the Roman Forum. Then go up to the Palatine Hill and leave the premises at Via di San Gregorio. If you don’t want to visit the Palatine Hill, take the exit on Via Sacra.
Read also 3 hours Colosseum Archaeological Park
Routes in the Colosseum
There are two routes for the Colosseum.
The time in the Colosseum is 45 minutes.
The other route is shorter and leads through the arena and the first level. The second level and the museum are not included.
Routes through the forums and the Palatine Hill
The Colosseum is one of the most imposing buildings of antiquity. In terms of managing the flow of visitors, the Colosseum was more efficient than many modern stadiums. It had a sophisticated stage technique with ramps and elevators, through which wild animals appeared and sets were built.
Many details you will only learn if you take part in a guided tour or if you have a guidebook or an audio / video guide with you. Otherwise, the Colosseum remains for you a pile of rocks, where you go through in a few minutes and take some photos.
People who have difficulty to climb the steep steps to the 2nd level can use the lift. It is located on the left side of the entrance for the individual visitors, at the entrance to the arena.
An elevator to the upper level is actually in construction.
There are toilets in the Colosseum, but there are often waiting times. You may want to visit a restroom before going to the Colosseum.
Since the Colosseum is one of the main attractions in Rome, many people who want to take advantage of the tourists, are concentrated here.
So you must be on guard against pickpockets and fraudsters.
The Colosseum is often the scene of people dressing up as gladiators. They charge money when they are photographed. You should therefore agree the price in advance, otherwise they charge more and there is trouble.
Hawker offer all sorts of mostly worthless goods. If bottled, make sure that they are originally sealed, otherwise they will only be filled with well water. It’s best to bring your own bottles, which you can refill at each fountain in Rome. For safety reasons you should have small plastic bottles with you. Glass bottles are forbidden in the Colosseum and there are always problems at the security with metal bottles.
At the Colosseum you will find a free water dispenser directly to the left of the entrance to the metro station. You can also tap sparkling water here. Another one is in front of the exit of the Colosseum. There you’ll find also a charging station for mobile phones.
Avoid unnecessary contacts and don’t get involved with hawkers who offer tickets and tours. Paper tickets are not accepted for the Colosseum and you can only go in with the app you have received with your booking on the internet. You can buy also hop on hop off tours and all other tickets safely and without wasting time on the Internet.
What you can not take to the Colosseum
The following items are not allowed in the Colosseum: bottles, glass containers, alcoholic beverages, spray cans, suitcases, large backpacks, large bags. Nearby the Colosseum there are some possibilities for luggage storage. Read more about luggage storage in Rome.
In addition, you must not bring any pets into the Colosseum.
At the Colosseum is the metro station Colosseo of line B. The line leads south to the pyramid – railway station Ostiense, and continue to the Basilica of St. Paul, to the EUR district and the terminus Laurentina.
In the other direction, the Metro B goes to Termini, Tiburtina station and on to the northeast of Rome.
Line 51 from Piazza San Silvestro – Via del Corso and continues to San Giovanni
Line 75 From Trastevere to Termini Central Station
Line 85 From Via Tuscolana through San Giovanni and then Via del Corso and Via del Tritone to Termini Central Station
Line 87 From Via Appia via San Giovanni and through the city centre to Prati, and the
Night bus line nMB.
The tram line 3 goes from Trastevere and the Pyramid to the Colosseum and on to San Giovanni, Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, San Lorenzo and the zoo.
From Piazza Venezia through Via dei Fori Imperiali
From Circus Maximus through Via di San Gregorio
From the Papal Basilica of St. John – San Giovanni past San Clemente through Via di San Giovanni in Laterano
From the Papal Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore through Via Merulana to the first junction at Largo Brancaccio and then through Viale di Monte Oppio and continue through the park
From Monti and the Cavour metro station, take the long staircase to the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli with the Moses of Michelangelo and continue along Via Eudossiana and Via della Polveriera. More comfortable, without stairs, but also less pictorial, it goes through the Via dei Serpenti and continues through the Via degli Annibaldi to the Colosseum.
Rome Fiumicino Airport – Colosseum: Train line FL1 to Roma Ostiense, change to Metro B at Colosseo Station or to tram line 3 to Colosseum
Rome Ciampino Airport – Colosseum: shuttle bus to Rome Termini Station, change to Metro B to Colosseo Station
Port of Civitavecchia – Colosseum: Train to Rome Roma Ostiense, change to Metro B to Colosseo Station or Tram 3 to the Colosseum
Colosseum archaeological research
The Colosseum was originally called Amphitheatrum Flavium, the Flavian amphitheater. The name Colosseum is attributed to a colossal statue of Emperor Nero, which was erected there.
The Colosseum is located on the edge of the archaeological area of the Palatine and the Roman Forum. It is the largest amphitheater in the world and was built by Emperor Vespasian beginning in year 72 AD. Previously, here was an artificial lake, which belonged to Nero’s Imperial Palace Domus Aurea.
The “Flavian Amphitheater”, the ancient name, was built from 72 to 80 AD. The opening ceremonies in year 80 lasted allegedly 100 days: In addition to gladiatorial fighting and animal huntings (in which 5,000 animals were said to have been killed), even sea battles were reenacted.
The elliptical structure is about 188 m long and 156 m wide, the arena measures 86 m by 54 m, the basement 76 m x 44 m.
The last gladiatorial battles took place 434/5 AD, and the last animal baiting is recorded for the year 523 AD. From the Middle Ages until the 18th century, the Colosseum served as a quarry for the construction of churches and palaces. The common name “Colosseum” dates back to the early Middle Ages.
The name of the Colosseum
The Colosseum, at the time of its construction was called Anfiteatro Flavio, in Latin Amphitheatrum Flavium, in honor of the ruling family of the Flavians. Prior to the construction of the Colosseum, here was the entrance to the palace of Emperor Nero, the Domus Aurea. There stood a colossal bronze statue of the Roman Emperor, the Colossus of Nero. It should have been around 35 meters high.
After Nero’s death, the amphitheater was built on part of the site. The colossus was converted to the sun god and set up in front of the theater. The name Colosseum is attributed to this colossus.
The surroundings of the Colosseum
The Colosseum is located in the oldest part of Rome and is surrounded by archaeological sites. The most famous are the Palatine, the Roman Forum and the Imperial Forums, the excavations under the Basilica of San Clemente and the Roman houses under the Basilica of St. John and Paul on the Celio Hill.
More information can be found in my article on Ancient Rome.