The Colosseum at night: all you need to know for a perfect visit

by marta

All you need to know to visit the Roman Colosseum at night: how to get tickets, what to expect, practical tips for visitors. Our review of Luna sul Colosseo any Coopculture, 2022.

There is only one thing more exciting than visiting the Colosseum: visiting the Colosseum at night!

During a selected number of months each year, the Roman Colosseum opens its doors in the evening and welcomes visitors to explore its ancient spaces after dark.

The colosseum at night, Rome, outside, with lights

The experience is magical: under the spell of Rome’s summer sky, visitors to the Colosseum feel transported into a different time and learn about the life of this incredible monument under the attentive guidance of a local guide.

Under their expert lead, visitors explore the underground area of the Colosseum, see the gladiators’ gate and set foot onto the arena.

This journey brings them from the gory underbelly of the amphitheater to the open air marvel of the theatre’s seating area where the Emperor and lesser Roman cities came together to watch the famous hunts and shows.

I have visited the Colosseum many times and I highly recommend this night experience.

While the tour doesn’t cover the entirety of the monument, the journey along the underground corridors and the area make the place come to life and offers fantastic photo opportunities and learning moments.

Whether you have already been to the Colosseum or are planning a first visit, I dearly recommend you try and secure a ticket for a night visit: it is an experience you will keep with you forever!

Colosseum at night – dates and prices for ‘Luna sul Colosseo’

The evening tours of the Colosseum are called ‘Luna sul Colosseo’ aka Moon over the Colosseum.

Inside of the Colosseum at night

They happen every year in the summer and fall seasons on selected dates Thursday to Saturday only.

In 2022, the Colosseum night tours happen:

Dates: 20 May 2022 – 31 December 2022

Duration: 1 hour

Tickets are available exclusively from the Colosseum Official Concession Coopculture and have the following cost:

  • Adult (full fare) € 25.00
  • ParCo Membership Holders € 22.00
  • Reduced Fare for under 25 € 20.00
  • Free for kids under 6

Tickets usually become available one month in advance.

You can secure your tickets here

Please note: tickets are not changeable and non refundable

Night Tour of the Colosseum: what to expect

I believe the best way to share what a night tour of the Colosseum feels like is to tell you how the visit went for us.

This review comes from our last visit, just yesterday.

Our group included myself and my two children, currently aged 10 and 11.

We got our tickets through Coopculture about a month ago and we started our visit at 21.30 (9.40 pm).

Arrival, tickets and security check

We arrived at the Colosseum about twenty minutes before the start of our tour. We found no line and a kind employee told us we were way too early and to go back five minutes before the start of the tour.

This is just what we did: we spent the time listening to the street musicians and taking photos of the arch of Constantine lit up (if you are curious, you can read here >>> all about Rome’s Triumphal Arches) and, five minutes before the start of our tour, showed up again at the entrance.

We were let in straight away and directed to the security checks.

Security was airport style and was cleared in a matter of seconds.

One of the most significant advantages of the night tour of the Colosseum is that there is hardly anyone there.

So we were able to clear security and take some lovely photos of the main entrance with absolutely no one there!

After security, we were shown a meeting point and out guide came to collect our tour there. He gave us small amplifiers to listen to him via headphones and off we went.

Stop 1: the Colosseum underground area

After a brief introduction about the birth of the Colosseum and the topography of this area, meaningful to the nature of the amphitheatre, our guide led us to the underground part of the Colosseum.

I spoke before, about why we recommend visiting the Colosseum underground tunnels, and yesterday we confirmed this area to be the most fascinating.

Gladiator's entrance to Rome's Colosseum at night

The area develops under the arena floor, aka under the stage, and it is where all the behind-the-scenes action happened.

Here, you see the gate the gladiators used to access the arena, the area with animal cages, the lifts to carry them up to the stage.

You also get acquainted with some elements of the structure of the Colosseum and you hear the story of why archaeologists believe the Colosseum was occasionally used for naval battles.

The area of Rome's Colosseum under the arena

The tunnels used to be under the stage area and must have been awful and oppressive.

Now, they are all but: the arena floor doesn’t currently cover them.

Hence, you find yourself walking under the starry sky – a romantic, exceptional and totally out of context experience if you think this places was mostly a deadly machine but a wonderful one all the same.

Stop 2: the Jerusalem Fresco

Each year the Colosseum by Night experience focuses on one aspect of the amphitheater’s history.

This year, the focus is the history of the Colosseum in the XVII.

Fresco depicting Jerusalem as an ideal city inside the Roman Colosseum

The Colosseum was built in the I century AD and stayed in use until about the VI century.

After that, it had several incarnation, one of which saw a project to turn it into a church.

The Colosseum was partially built with riches coming from the taking of the Tempe of Jerusalem by Titus and very late sources (then proved wrong) mention it as a place of martyrdom for Christians.

As a way to make amends, in the XVII there was an idea to turn it into a church and indeed, it is now possible to see remains of three different Christian churches inside it and stations of the Way of The Cross.

As well as the stations, a fresco bears witness of this time.

The fresco represents the town of Jerusalem as an ideal city and shows drawings of the temple, the locations of hte Crucifixion and other elements such as Roman forts.

The fresco is brought back to life by lights and projections and casts a new light on the history of the Colosseum, often only associated with the years of gladiator fights.

Stop 3: the arena

Our tour’s third and last stop was the arena, aka the area that used to host the battles and shows, stage.

The arena is very impressive.

Standing on it, you fin yourself find yourself on a stage overlooked by 72,000 seats that would have hosted the same number of Roman citizens eager to see some action.

arena of Roman colosseum at night

On the stage, you can see the audience’s seats, look at the underground area from above and you can imagine how daunting it must have been to be brought there for one of the shows.

The area used to host animal hunts, gladiator fights and the carrying out of capital sentences.

The arena is one of the most visually impressive parts of the Colosseum and it is a great place to visit with a guide: gladiator fights have sparked the imagination of many and it is interesting to learn how only some of what we think we know is actually correct!

You can have a quick sense of what we learned by reading here >>> our quick summary of gladiator facts.

Need to know: the nigh tour doesn’t bring you to the upper parts of the Colosseum and does not include a visit to the exhibition on the second floor. For this, you need to secure a day tour instead.

Visiting the Colosseum at night with kids: tips + need to know

I visited the Colosseum at night with my kids and we notices several other families.

The tour is not specifically for children; however, the contained duration (1h) and the friendly guide made it interesting and suitable for them.

Our children at night in the Colosseum, Rome.

Very small kids (toddlers) may find the tour too constricting: the tour follows a pre-organised path and you cannot go and wander so there is little respite should you have a little ones who gets restless.

It is also essential to know that while you can bring a stroller into the Colosseum, this particular tour didn’t allow them: the one family that came with one was able to leave it at the entrance and retrieve it at the end.

For older kids, the tour is a bit of a treat: the darkness and the lighting made it atmospheric and a little bit adventurous – perfect for primary school kids and teenagers.

Find here >>> all our tips for visiting the Colosseum with kids

The Colosseum at night vs day: what’s better?

A visit to the Colosseum at night feels very different to a visit during the day, so much so that I was delighted be able to do both (the dvatges of being local! I can just come over and over again!).

The main differences to be aware of are:

  • The Colosseum at night Luna Sul Colosseo is by guided tour only
  • The tour of the Colosseum at night includes the underground area and the arena but not the second tier
  • You can visit the colosseum during the day with or without a guide
  • The day visit to the Colosseum often includes access to the Forum. The one at night doesn’t.

Another way to look at differences is:

What’s includedDay AccessNight access
ToursYesYes
Self guidedYesNo
Underground areaOnly some ticketsYes
Arena accessOnly some ticketsYes
Upper tiersYes (second tier)No
Forum accessYesNo

Why visit the Colosseum at night

  • Taking all of the above info account, I recommend you visit the Colosseum at night if:
  • You are in Rome in summer and want to avoid the middle of teh day heat
  • You want to visit the Colosseum with a guide and don’t mind skipping the Forum
  • You have already seen the Colosseum during the day and want to explore it from a different point of view
  • You have kids and teenagers who may enjoy the adventurous feel of the evening tour

Why not to visit the Colosseum at night

I do not recommend you visit the Colosseum at night if you want:

  • Wander at your own pace
  • See the upper tiers and the exhibitions on tier 2
  • Also explore the Forum (you’d need to source a separate ticket for it)
  • On a very cold night
  • Have very small kids

Practical tips to visit the Colosseum at night

A tour of the Colosseum required a good bit of walking, so we recommend:

  • Wear comfortable shoes: the Colosseum floor is often uneven and good walking shoes or sandals are a must. You don’t need hiking shoes or anything technical but comfy sandals, sneakers or similar will take good care of your feet. Avoid heels.
  • In summer, dress lightly! There is no dress code for the Colosseum and summer gets hot: make sure you dress for teh weather
  • In winter, wrap up! The Colosseum can get very cold in winter: make sure you have suitable attire and dress for the weather
  • Bring small bags: as much as possible, limit the size of your luggage. At night there are fewer people but bulky luggage is not allowed as it can pose security risks. A normal size crossbody bag or day backpack is ok
  • When booking, choose the ‘print at home’ option so you can show your tickets on your phone with no need to print them out on paper and no need to stop at the ticket office.

How to skip the line when visiting the Colosseum at night

All tickets for the Colosseum at night are timed which means there is no line!

You only need to get to the entrance a few minutes before your turn and you’ll be let in no problem. Please do not pay extra for tickets promising you’ll skip the line: there is no need as there is not line to be skipped!

The line happened when they allowed people to get tickets on the day: if you have your ticket, there is no line and no reason to pay any extra.

I hope you enjoyed this quick overview of the tour of the Colosseum at night and it made you want to visit.

Safe travels!

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