How to visit the Colosseum in 2023. The best Colosseum tickets, recommended Colosseum tours + practical, sanity-saving tips for visiting the Colosseum, Rome. When to go, how to book, what to wear: all you need to know for a perfect visit.
The Colosseum is one of the most visited attractions in the world and, by far, the most popular monument in Rome.
As such, planning a visit to it is not difficult, offers of tickets and tours are all over the web.
However, some tips for visiting the Colosseum can come in handy.
Being as busy as it is, knowing what to expect and being prepared will go a long way to make your trip to this gem of the ancient world as easy and relaxing as possible.
I love the Colosseum and visit often: it is one of those attractions you never tire of! On this page, you will find my best tips for visitors.
If visiting with children, read >>> how to visit the Colosseum with kids
Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission.
Table of Contents
Visiting the Colosseum: address and transport
- Colosseum Address: Piazza del Colosseo
- Nearest metro stop: Colosseo, just in front
- Buses: 117, 51, 75, 85, 87, 3 (tram). All the buses serving Piazza Venezia are also convenient as just a 7-minute walk from the Colosseum
- Opening hours: see below
How to visit the Colosseum: opening hours
Colosseum opening hours depend on the season.
According to the official website, the Colosseum opening hours for 2023 are:
- 26 March to 31 August: 9am to 9.15pm (last entrance at 6.15pm)
- 1 September to 30 September: 9am to 7pm
- 1 October to 30 October: 9.00am to 6.30pm
- 31 October to 31 December: 9.00am to 4.30pm
In the good season, the Colosseum also has night opening called ‘Luna sul Colosseo.
Colosseum special days, closures and need to know
Entrance to the Colosseum is free on the first Sunday of the month. On these days, tickets can only be acquired at the Colosseum ticket office, on a first come first served basis.
The Colosseum is also free on the 2nd June (Republic Day) and the 4th November.
The Colosseum is closed on the 25th December (Christmas day) and the 1st January (new years)
Need to know! Big events such as the Pope’s Via Crucis on Holy Friday (the Friday before Easter) usually affects access to the Colosseum. This is not always announced with good notice but has affected ticket holders with last minute cancellations. Because of this, I recommend you do not book a ticket for the Colosseum on Easter Friday, based on the experience of cancellations from the last couple of years.
The best tickets for visiting the Colosseum
There are several types of tickets you can choose from. The table below is a quick overview, but you can also find my full guide to the best tickets for the Colosseum here.
|Ticket Info and Purchase link||Description||Best For||Drawbacks|
|24h – Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill||Standard Entry Ticket by Parco Colosseo/Coopculture (Colosseum ticket office).||Budget||No arena access, Poor cancellation policy, currently only available for purchase 1 month before your visit|
|24h Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill entry ticket||Entry ticket by Colosseum ticket office including access to the arena (no underground)||Budget||Poor cancellation policy|
|Full Experience Ticket with arena and underground of the Colosseum plus Roman Forum, Palatine Hill||Ticket by Parco Colosseo/Coopculture (Colosseum ticket office) including access to underground Colosseum area||Budget access to the underground||Poor cancellation policy, only available for purchase 1 month before your visit, no live guide|
|Colosseum Underground educational tour in English + Roman Forum and Palatine Hill||TOP PICK Ticket by Parco Colosseo/Coopculture (Colosseum ticket office) including access to underground Colosseum area||Budget tour of the underground||Poor cancellation policy, only available for purchase 1 month before your visit, VERY hard to get as quickly sold out|
|Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill Priority Entry Ticket||Sold by GetYourGuide, this includes priority tickets to the main Colosseum area and access to the Roman Forum/ Palatine Hill||Standard access with good cancellation option||Access is to selected areas only (the arena is included). Only bookable 1 month before your visit. No live guide|
|Semi private Colosseum underground and Roman Forum Express tour||TOP PICK – Guided Tour by LivTours, this tour leads you inside the Colosseum with a live guide||Quality guided tour, you can book it several months in advance, semi private experience.||More expensive than access only tickets, selected times only, underground access not always guaranteed|
|Colosseum and Ancient Rome family tour for kids||Guided tour by Kids Raphael Tours and events, included Colosseum main arena area||Specialized experience tailored to kids’ needs||Price point, doesn’t include underground area|
|Colosseum and Roman Forum Tour for kids||Complete Guided Tour by LivTours including option to access the arena||Specialized experience tailored to kids’ needs||Price point, doesn’t include underground area|
|Rome Colosseum Gladiator Tour for Kids and Families||Guided tour by GreyLine, includes main arena area of the Colosseum||Specialized experience tailored to kids’ needs||Doesn’t include an underground area|
|Rome Colosseum for kids Tour||Guided tour by MariaclaudiaTours||Specialized experience – budget friendly||Doesn’t include an underground area|
|Colosseum Underground and arena tour + Forum and Palatine Hill||TOP PICK! Guided tour by LivTours, includes Colosseum underground are and guided tour of the Forum/Palatine||Small group tour covering the whole Parco Colosseo Area||Price point|
Tips for visiting the Colosseum, tip 1: book online
The Colosseum has a good online booking system that allows to buy timed entrance tickets.
These tickets mean you can avoid the very long lines at the ticket office on site (newly reopened in May 2023).
Colosseum tip 2: understand its booking system
Colosseum tickets are released 30 days ahead of your desired date and go fast, even instantaneously.
They are so sought after that big companies use bots to secure them as soon as they come out, leaving the normal buyer empty handed.
To try and secure them, it is useful to understand how the system works.
I have written here >>> full guide to get Colosseum tickets but, at a glance, this is what you need to know:
- There is only one company issuing Colosseum tickets and this company is called Coopculture. Everyone else is a reseller
- Tour operators have the same access to tickets as individual visitors; therefore, they can only secure tickets after they come out for sale. if booking very much in advance, ask your tour operator what guarantees they offer in terms of access
- Be patient and keep checking the Coopulture site, if you decide to go on your own. Tickets come out for sale 30 days before and then again in batches during the 30 day window until the day of your visit. It is worth checking regularly as new batches of tickets do come out.
You can find here >>> my full guide to buying Colosseum tickets from the official seller directly
- To maximise the change of getting tickets, I highly recommend you book your tickets as soon as possible, especially if going to Rome from April to the end of October, the busiest months for tourism in Rome.
Colosseum tip 3: decide what you want to see
The Colosseum is organized in several parts and which one/ ones to see depends on your interest, party and time available.
Not all tickets allow access to all areas: choosing in advance what is and is not interesting for you will allow you to make an informed choice.
The things to see in the Colosseum are:
General access: this is the most basic ticket, and it allows entrance to the Colosseum and its exhibition. With these tickets you can see the Colosseum inside but cannot step onto the area nor access the underground area.
The arena floor: this is the main area, the stage of the theater.
Here you can stand where the gladiators used to stand, see the original seats and get a glance of the underground area, excavated just below the arena.
Good to know: tickets to the Colosseum’s area are hard to come by. The best option it to secure them via a good operator such as LivTours. Find their offer >>> here <<< .
The underground part of the Colosseum is where props and animals were kept, as well as the area where gladiators used to wait for their turn.
This is the most interesting area if you want to learn about the inner workings of the Colosseum.
The tour in this area is the one that taught us the most: you can read all the fun and interesting facts we learned here.
The best ticket I have found for this area is the Full Experience Ticket sold by Parco Colosseo.
This comes in two types:
‘Accompanied’ which means a member of staff will help you identify points of interest and operate a free app with into
‘Educational’, which is a guide tour with a real life guide – this is the one I recommend!
Need to know: These tickets have become exceptionally hard to come by. Read here >> our tips for visiting the Colosseum underground
The top tier is the most scenic of all the areas of the Amphitheater (please note that since 2021 this area is closed to the public, I will update this should the option of visiting become available again).
This is a wonderful area if you want to also catch views above the Roman Forum and you don’t have mobility issues: this is the only part of the Colosseum without a lift or a ramp.
The view from upper tier is breathtaking, one of the best views int Rome.
I highly recommend you book a tour of this belvedere area if you can. You can see my photos and read my impressions of this tour here.
Colosseum tip 4: make sure you have ID on you
Tickets to some areas of the Colosseum such as the underground requite to show ID at the Colosseum entrance.
Make sure you read the small print on the ticket you got and, if required, have official ID on you on the day.
Official ID means passport or National Identity Card (in the EU). Copied may or may not be accepted, depending on who you find at the door and leaves you open to being turned away.
Colosseum Tips 5: don’t stress about best time of visit
I see lots of Colosseum tips about the best time to visit the Colosseum; however, I believe these tips often cause fear, rather than offer much help.
You can visit the Colosseum all year round and pretty much any time of the day. The difference in experience if you go morning or afternoon will be minimal.
That said, some times come with advantages:
The best time of day to visit the Colosseum for a chance of smaller crowds is the early morning. This is down to the simple truth that many people will still be asleep then, and the city will be quieter than at more convenient times.
The best time to visit the Colosseum in summer is the evening, when specialized night tours allow you to see the monument all lit up: a wonderful experience!
Colosseum tip 6: wear sensible shoes
The Colosseum is very well kept and very well equipped for tourism however, it is an archaeological site and has several areas with less than smooth walking surfaces and many steps.
The best shoes for visiting the Colosseum are good quality, well broken-in walking shoes: sneakers, runners or walking sandals with rubber sole are all ideal.
Flip flops and sandals with a slippery sole are to be avoided for safety reasons.
You can find my tips for picking the best shoes for Rome and my favorite styles here.
Colosseum tip 7: leave large bags at home
The Colosseum has several safety rules and one of them is that large backpacks or bags are not allowed in.
While ‘large’ is a pretty generic word, open to interpretation, what this usually means is that normal size purses and handbags are ok but travel backpacks or travel luggage is not.
Colosseum tip 8: prepare for the weather
For the most part of your visit to the Colosseum, you will find yourself outdoors so, dressing for the weather is paramount.
In summer, make sure you have light clothing, sunscreen and a sun hat – the heat can get brutal here!
In winter, make sure you wrap up with a coat and scarf, especially if visiting the underground part of the amphitheater and if going to the Forum afterward.
They get unbelievably cold!
Colosseum tip 9: bring coins for the restroom
Just outside the Colosseum, on the side towards Via dei Santi Quattro, there are surprisingly well-kept restroom facilities. Bring a coin (1 or 2 Euro) to use them.
Colosseum tip 10: arrive early
Skip the line tickets and reserved entrance tickets allow you to get in without long queues however, all visitors to the Colosseum must pass a security screening.
This usually does not tale more than a couple of minutes but do arrive early to make time for it.
They recommend arriving 20 minutes before your time slot and while I did find this too generous a time (it goes much faster than this), this is a reasonable buffer time to allow for all checks.
Colosseum Tip 10: stay nearby
Many hotels are in close proximity to the Colosseum, ranging from five-star luxury marvels to budget-friendly options.
They are an excellent option especially if you are short on time and you have the Colosseum on your Rome bucket list: some have gorgeous terraces with views that will allow you to enjoy the amphitheater not just during your visit but also while having breakfast or at aperitivo hour!
You can find our guide to the best hotels near the Colosseum here.
I hope you found those tips for visiting the Colosseum useful. Safe travels!