How to visit the Colosseum: all you need to know (updated with new 2024 ticketing system)

by marta

How to visit the Colosseum in 2024. 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.

Colosseum arena and seating

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.

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, standard the Colosseum opening hours for 2024 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’, available on selected days only.

The inside of the Roman Colosseum

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 Good 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 Good Friday (29th March 2024) , based on the experience of cancellations from the last couple of years.

When to buy tickets to the Colosseum

The timing to buy Colosseum tickets depends on your ticket choice:

The Colosseum releases standard entry tickets 30 days ahead and some special areas tickets 7 days before.

Tour operators with special agreements with the Colosseum are able to offer tickets several months ahead.

It is paramount to book tickets and not rely on finding them on the day. Buy as soon you have your date of visit.

The best tickets for visiting the Colosseum

There are several types of tickets you can choose from, all sold by the official Colosseum ticket concession, on the site Parco Colosseo. The concession is the ONLY ticket provider: any other platform / tour operator is a reseller of those tickets.

The table below is a quick overview, but you can also find my full guide to the best tickets for the Colosseum here.

Colosseum tickets and tours overview:

Tickets purchase linkDescriptionBest for Drawbacks
Colosseum general entry + arenaEntry ticketBudget. For all visitors interested in an overview of the ColosseumNo guided tour. Not changeable / no cancellation options
Colosseum general entry + arena + undergroundEntry ticketBudget. Visitors who want a comprehensive view of the Colosseum with access to ‘backstage’ areaNo guided tour. Not changeable/ no cancellation options
Colosseum general entry + arena + underground + atticoEntry ticketBudget. Visitors who want to catch views of the Colosseum from the highest possible spot (not suitable if you are afraid of heights)No guided tour. Not flexible/ no cancellation options
LivTours Express Colosseum TourTicket + guided tourAll including families with babies / toddlersCost
Colosseum tour for kids by LivTours including Roman ForumTicket + guided tourExcellent family tours especially suitable for kids of primary and secondary school are who will enjoy the ForumCost
Colosseum for kids tour by Mariaclaudia ToursTicket + guided tourFamilies with kids from 6yo. Tell her Mama Loves Rome sends you! Good priceOver 6yo only (some exceptions for siblings)
Colosseum Tour for Kids by Kids’ Raphael ToursTicket + guided tourFamilies with kids from 6yoCost
This is us during our last Colosseum visit
This is us during our last Colosseum visit

Tips for visiting the Colosseum, tip 1: book online

The Colosseum has a good online booking system that allows to buy timed entrance tickets. The system operates with time slots which means YOU SKIP THE LINE by booking online.

You do not need to use a tour operator or third party to avail of the option: once you have your tickets, you go to the entrance and the only line is for checks and security – please note that this cannot be skipped.

You can also buy ticket on the day at the ticket kiosk in person. Please be aware that lines can be very long and tickets do run out: once they are gone, the ticket office closes for the day.

Colosseum tip 2: understand its booking system

Colosseum tickets for standard entry 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: all tour operators buy from them. You can also buy direct from the website Parco Colosseo,
  • Tours operator follow a slightly different booking system and are often able to guarantee tickets ahead of the 30 days window: if opting for this solution, ask them to confirm they have the ticket in hand.
  • Be patient and keep checking the 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.

Underground of the Colosseum at night
Underground of the Colosseum at night

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 and the best way to is it the colosseum for this is via a tour.

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 top tier is the most scenic of all the areas of the Amphitheater.

This is a wonderful area if you want to also catch views above the Roman Forum and has recently become more accessible thanks to a panoramic lift to the Colosseum ‘attic’.

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.

Tips for visiting the 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 (if from the EU). Copies may or may not be accepted, depending on who you find at the door and may leave you open to discretional decision.

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!

The best time for visiting the Colosseum in the coldest months (January, February) is lunchtime.

View over Roman Forum at night from Campidoglio

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!

Find my tips for packing for Rome here

Colosseum tip 9: don’t arrive too early (but definitely not late!)

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.

The allow you to join the line for checks 10 minutes before your entry time.

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!

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View over Colosseum arena from tip tier with overlay text 'Tips for visiting the Colosseum - all you need to know'

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