The Colosseum, originally called the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an iconic symbol of Rome and one of the most famous landmarks in the world.
Located in the ancient heart of the city, it is the largest amphitheater of the ancient world and a testament to the greatness of the Roman Empire and its enduring legacy.
Today, the Colosseum is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Rome, attracting millions of visitors each year. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is constantly being restored to give the visitor an ever better impression of its former glory. Visitors can explore the Colosseum and learn about its history through guided tours and interactive exhibits. It is the most visited museum in Italy and one of the most important sights of Rome.
The Colosseum was built by the Roman emperors Vespasian and his son Titus, and it was completed in 80 AD under the reign of Emperor Domitian. It was designed to seat up to 80,000 spectators and was used for a variety of events, including gladiator battles, animal fights, and theatrical performances.
It is a marvel of engineering, with its intricate system of arches, vaults, and corridors that allowed people and animals to enter and exit the arena quickly and efficiently. In terms of technology, it is comparable to modern stadiums. Visitors could find their seats or the exit more quickly than sometimes in modern stadiums. It was the model of all brick amphitheaters in the Roman Empire.
Over the centuries, the Colosseum has undergone several renovations and restorations. It was damaged by earthquakes and fires and was also plundered for its valuable materials, such as travertine, marble and bronze.
The current entrance is located on the first level, where the emperor and dignitaries sat. Steep steps or an elevator take you to the second level, where various exhibitions are located. From here you have a beautiful view of the arena and the forecourt.
Three other levels are currently inaccessible due to restoration work. Under the arena are the supply corridors with the stage equipment.
The Colosseum is more than just a historical monument – it is a symbol of Rome and its rich cultural heritage. Whether you are a history buff or simply looking for a unique experience, a visit to the Colosseum is a must when visiting Rome.
At the Colosseum, you will receive a time slot for entry with your reservation. You should be there a little before the reserved time because of the security check. You are not allowed to bring larger luggage or large backpacks.
The Colosseum’s opening hours depend on the time of year. While you can visit the Colosseum only at the reserved entrance time, you can visit the archaeological park next to it with the Palatine, the Roman Forum and the Imperial Forums before or after.
The Colosseum has different entrances. Your ticket contains all the necessary information.
The Colosseum allows for a maximum of 3,000 visitors at a time, so that it does not get too crowded. To ensure a smooth experience, it is necessary to reserve online an entrance time in advance. It is highly unlikely that tickets will be available for purchase on the spot, as reservations are required and availability is limited. Therefore, it is best to book tickets well in advance to secure a spot and avoid disappointment.
It is currently possible to book two types of entrance tickets for the Colosseum. One is the entrance ticket for the first and second level, with some options. The other, “Full experience”, includes also the visit of the arena and in addition some “Super Sites” in the archaeological area.
Here you get a quick overview of all available tickets
With a few clicks you can book the Colosseum along with the Vatican Museums and a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica.
These are the most important tickets:
Ticket for one entrance to the Colosseum and one entrance to the archaeological park of Palatine, Roman Forum and Imperial Forums. It is valid for 24 hours, and the visit to the archaeological park can be before or after the reserved time for the Colosseum. For this ticket there are options with video guide and last minute tickets.
“Full Experience” ticket for one entrance to the Colosseum and one entrance to the archaeological park. It is valid for 2 days (until closing on the 2nd day) and additionally allows access to the Arena in the Colosseum and to the so-called “Super Sites” in the Archaeological Park such as the Museum on the Palatine, Casa di Augusto, Curia Iulia, Santa Maria Antiqua, Tempio di Romolo. For each of these sites only a limited number of visitors is allowed.
Free and reduced entry
- Free entry for young people up to 18 years of age
- Free entry for people with disabilities and one companion
- Free entry for architecture students, journalists and some other groups of people
- Reduced admission for EU citizens aged 18-25
Free and reduced tickets must be reserved and a reservation fee will be charged.
Even today, there are still guided tours where 50 visitors run after their guide like little ducklings following their mom with plugs in their ears. Especially if you haven’t bought your tickets in time, you fall into the hands of the vendors who hang around in front of the Colosseum to push a guided tour at insane prices onto tourists in their desperate search for tickets.
So to visit the Colosseum in Rome, book well in advance. Good guided tours are always worth their price. Books and audio guides provide interesting information, but they can’t replace a good guided tour. The relics of 2,000 years of history and the many details of the monument are not easily explained.
Professional city guides in Rome love their work and have a profound knowledge. Many have studied archaeology extensively and they can answer almost any of your questions. A good guide is happy when the customer is happy. And of course they are happy about a good tip.
Besides the tours for the arena, there are also tours for the underground. However, at the moment you can only visit one corridor and the replica of an elevator. Information and videos in Archaeological Research.
Virtual reality allows you to experience the time 2,000 years ago up close. Recreating the life of that time is very impressive.
In summer and autumn you can also visit the Colosseum at night. These tours do not include access to the archaeological area of the Palatine and the Forums.
The Colosseum with virtual reality
The Colosseum at night
The Colosseum is open all year round and only closes on January 1st and December 25th. The opening times are mainly based on the length of the day:
From the beginning of winter time – end of February:
9 am – 4:30 pm
March – end of winter time
9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
From the beginning of summer time – August 31,
9 a.m. – 7:15 p.m.
9 am – 7:00 pm
October 1st – end of summer time
9 am – 6:30 pm
Rules for the entrance
You should be at the Colosseum 15 minutes before the reserved time for body temperature control and security.
You are not allowed to take glass bottles, alcoholic beverages, aerosol cans, backpacks, suitcases or large bags with you and there are no locker rooms in the Colosseum.
Colosseum fact sheet
The Colosseum is the largest amphitheater in the world. The elliptical building had 80 entrances, is around 188 m long and 156 m wide, the arena measures 86 m by 54 m, the basement 76 mx 44 m.
|Ground area:||~ 20.000 m²|
|Area of the arena:||3.357 m²|
|Heigt:||48.5m originally 52m|
|Spectators:||50.000 – 87.000|
|Load on the foundations:||110 t / m²|
|Masonry:||100,000 m³ in travertine, tuff and brick with cladding in marble |
300 tons of iron
In the Colosseum, up to 80,000 spectators followed the gripping spectacle of animal hunts, gladiators and executions while enjoying bread and wine.
Previously, during the fire of Rome in 64, the theater built by Statilius Taurus for gladiator games on the Field of Mars had burned down. It is not known exactly where it stood. There are no remains.
After Nero’s death and the Civil War, in which three emperors passed away in little more than a year, Vespasian of the Flavian dynasty succeeded, reorganizing the Roman Empire. He built the Flavian Amphitheater in the center of Nero’s lavish Domus Aurea and erased the memory of Nero.
Before the Amphitheatrum Flavium, there was an artificial lake and a colossal bronze statue of the Roman emperor, the Colossus of Nero. It is said to have been about 35 meters high. Nero’s model was the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The colossus was transformed into the sun god and placed in front of the theater. The name Colosseum is attributed to this colossus, even though the name has only been handed down since the early Middle Ages.
The “Flavian Amphitheater”, as it is known from antiquity, was built in the 1st century, from 72 to 80. In 80, Emperor Titus organized games that lasted allegedly 100 days: In addition to gladiator fighting and animal huntings – in which 5,000 animals were said to have been killed – , even sea battles were reenacted.
The last gladiator 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 living quarters and stables, for occult rites and as a quarry for the construction of churches and palaces.
The Colosseum is a attraction for visitors and, of course, a attraction for those who want to take their money out of their pockets.
It is therefore imperative that you reserve the tickets in advance. Otherwise, you will have to buy the tickets expensively from dealers or face long waiting times.
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 third level is currently under construction.
Especially on the 1st Sunday of the month, when the entrance to the Colosseum is free, most people go to the toilet first after waiting for several hours.
The toilets are located just to the right after the security check and are well signposted. The longer the queue, the longer the waiting time in front of the toilets.
But even on normal days there are waiting times at the toilets. Other toilets can be found at the tourist information in Via dei Fori Imperiali and of course in the surrounding bars and restaurants.
Pickpockets and gladiators
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.
Gladiators charge money when they are photographed. You should therefore agree on the price in advance, otherwise there will be trouble.
Ticket dealers and pickpockets offer their services. If you do not let anyone approach you, you are on the safe side.
In any case, do not buy water from flying merchants! The bottles are manipulated to look nice, fresh and iced. Take a small plastic bottle with you that you can fill up at any water dispenser in Rome. Glass bottles and metal bottles are forbidden in the Colosseum.
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.
The German Archaeological Institute, with its branch in Rome, conducts research throughout Italy in collaboration with Italian agencies and research institutions. Read the reports by Heinz-Jürgen Beste from the German Archaeological Institute in Rome and watch the videos on the reconstruction of the stage technology of the Colosseum.