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The mighty Colosseum is a crown jewel of ancient history and has been the pride of Rome for nearly two millennia. In the Roman Empire, gladiators and wild beasts once fought here, today the ruin of the massive amphitheater is one of the most famous landmarks worldwide. With the right ticket, tourists can visit not only the Colosseum, but also the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum.

The rush for this historical highlight is great, so book tickets in advance.
Klaus KainzBy Klaus Kainz
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Visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill with a skip-the-line ticket.
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Rome: Colosseum Arena Floor and Ancient Rome Guided Tour
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Colosseum, Palatine Hill & Roman Forum with Audio Guide
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Colosseum Skip-the-Line Self-Guided Virtual Reality Tour
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Civitavecchia Shore Excursion: Fullday Rome with Vatican Museums and Colosseum
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During a tour, you will learn more about the exciting history and architecture of the Colosseum.
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Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Group Tour
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Rome: Colosseum Fast-Track Entrance Guided Tour
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Rome: Ancient History and Colosseum Underground Tour
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Rome: Priority Access Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Tour
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More Tickets & Tours

Discover more offers around the Colosseum in Rome
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Rome: Colosseum, Palatine Hill & Roman Forum Guided Tour
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Rome: Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Priority Access
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Rome: Colosseum Arena, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill Tour
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Colosseum: Underground and Ancient Rome Tour
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9 tips for visiting the Colosseum

Underground area | Flickr: Joe Ross CC BY-SA 2.0
Book earlyEspecially during the summer months from July to September, it is important to book tickets for the Colosseum in advance online. There are often long queues on site with up to two hours waiting time. Those who do not want to get out of bed particularly early can avoid this with early booked tickets. A short queuing is still necessary due to the security check, so plan this in.
Roman Forum | Flickr: Sara Nichols CC BY-SA 2.0
Don't forget about the Roman Forum and the Palatine HillTickets usually also include admission to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. Access to each section only works once. So make sure you have seen everything before leaving a place.
Be there on timeBe on time! If you're late for the booked timeslot, there's no longer a right to entry.
Plan your route with the Colosseum appWith the official Colosseum app on iOS and Android you can gain insights into the historic site in advance and plan the routes for your visit.
Ornaments in the Colosseum | Photo: Dietmar Rabich - CC BY-SA 4.0
Take part in a tourGuided tours provide many interesting information about the architecture and history of the Colosseum, which you might not know from the info panels. Moreover, the arena and the underground areas of the Colosseum as well as the Belvedere - the third, fourth and fifth floors - are only accessible as part of a guided tour. After the tour, the amphitheater may be explored independently - photos are allowed, so do not forget your camera.
Inside the Colosseum | Photo: Kurt Kaiser CC0 1.0
Book Audio-GuidesAudio and video guides are available in the following languages: German, Italian, English, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Latin as well as in Italian or American sign language.
Free entrance to the ColosseumEvery first Sunday of the month, guests can visit the attractions of the Colosseum free of charge. But be careful, you still need a ticket. However, be aware that the rush is particularly large on these days. For security reasons, many sections of the attraction - including the arena and the lower floors - are not accessible on these days.
Follow the rulesThe Colosseum is a truly historic landmark. Accordingly, the house rules are strict. The marked paths must not be left and any running is prohibited - small children must be held by the hand. Any attempt to damage or scribble on the walls is strictly punished.
Check out the exhibitionsThe Colosseum includes not only historical sites, but also several museums. There are permanent exhibitions for both the amphitheater and the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, with which you can further immerse yourself in the history of Roman antiquity.
Colosseum Arena | Unsplash: tommao wang

The Colosseum - The center of ancient show business

To secure power with the people, the Roman emperors ruled with the motto 'bread and circuses (panem et circenses)'. So from the rulers' point of view, a good life also included good entertainment. The Colosseum in the center of the Roman Empire ensured spectacle at the highest level.

The Gladiator Fights

The Colosseum offered everything but light entertainment, the infamous gladiator fights were almost always bloody. Prisoners of war and slaves squared off with daggers and spears - sometimes to the death. However, the games in the Colosseum were not a wild slaughter. The fighters were extensively trained and had to comply with clear rules, for which there were even referees. Successful gladiators enjoyed the popularity of the Roman people, like sports stars today, and very few even came to wealth. About 20 percent of the gladiators did not survive the cruel spectacle.

Animal Hunts

Not only slaves fought in the arena. During the so-called animal hunts, the fighters faced exotic animals such as lions. Thousands of animals died in the opening year alone - even then this did not go without criticism. However, the animal hunts lasted longer than the gladiator fights, as they were practised for a few years even after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Complex Technology

Many meters below the mighty arena was an intricate stage technology. Animals or entire forest and desert landscapes could be lifted from the ground through underground corridors, elevators and trap doors. For the audience at the time, this must have been particularly overwhelming.

Naval Battles in the Gigantic Colosseum

In the beginning, naval battles are even said to have been reenacted in the Colosseum. Sources prove that the arena could be flooded with water to allow manned ships to pass through the colosseum. However, this was no longer possible when cellars were built under the huge amphitheater.

Efficient Architecture for the audience

The Colosseum was surprisingly efficiently designed. The fact that seats and corridors supported each other meant that a particularly large number of people could find their place straightforwardly in a few minutes. On average, 65,000 watched the often bloody shows, although there was theoretically room for up to 80,000 people. Admission to the Colosseum was free for all Romans. However, people from the lower classes were located on the higher floors, while the nobles were allowed to be very close to the spectacle.
Colosseum at sunset | Unsplash: Dario Veronesi

The history of the Colosseum

For many people, the Colosseum is the epitome of ancient Rome. In fact, it was only constructed relatively late, after the famous era of Julius Caesar. The huge amphitheater was a project of the later emperors, but it was still supposed to last 400 years.

Nero burns Rome down

With the fifth Roman Emperor, Nero, the vast empire on the Mediterranean fell into crisis. Nero's reign ended in the Burning of Rome, which he is supposed to have instigated himself. After Emperor Vespasian seized power through a civil war, he emphatically gave back Nero's palace area to the Roman population in 72 AD. There, an amphitheater was to be built, which should outshine all others.

Construction and Opening

The construction of the Colosseum was completed in less than ten years - Vespasian did not live to see its completion. A grand opening ceremony with numerous gladiator and animal fights, as well as naval battles, took place over 100 days in 80 AD.

Over 400 years of the Colosseum

Afterwards, the arena was successfully used for more than 400 years for the entertainment of the masses. Only as the Western Roman Empire approached its end in the 5th century, the bloody performances became increasingly rare. During the early rule of the Goths, animal hunts were still held for a few years, the last record dating from the early 6th century.

From the Middle Ages to Modern Times

From the Middle Ages, the old arena often served as living space, or as a business location and as a cemetery. Noble families of the Renaissance had the stones of the Colosseum, which was damaged after the Middle Ages due to earthquakes, dismantled, which is why the ruin now has its incomplete form. It was not until the 18th century that Pope Benedict XIV stopped the gradual destruction of the Colosseum, it was to become a place of remembrance for Christian martyrs. However, it is controversial today whether Christians really died in the Colosseum.

The Colosseum in modern times

From the 19th century onwards, archaeological explorations of the arena began for the first time. The biggest restoration efforts were started in 2013 with the aim of making even more areas of the arena accessible to the public. More recent research has also revealed how the stage technology in the underground worked. Since 1999, the Colosseum has also been an official symbol against the death penalty. If the death penalty is abolished in a country, the amphitheater is illuminated for two days.

Forum Romanum and the Palatine Hill

Whoever visits the Colosseum can also take a look at the archaeological sites at the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, both of which are within walking distance of the Colosseum. The Roman Forum was the center of political and judicial decisions in ancient Rome. Julius Caesar was murdered here in the year 44 BC. The Palatine Hill, on the other hand, is the central hill on which Rome was built. According to the legend of the founding of Rome, the Palatine Hill was the place where the she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus. Since the imperial era, the family of the emperor resided exclusively on the Palatine Hill. The ruins of the palaces of Augustus, Tiberius and Domitian are open for viewing today.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I plan for my visit?

Tours can take between one and three hours, the route with audio and video guides takes 50 to 70 minutes. But there is no time limit for a visit to the Colosseum, the average visit lasts about between 1 and 2 hours. Read more.

Is the Colosseum accessible?

People with disabilities, including an accompanying person, may enter the attraction free of charge. The main area of the Colosseum is accessible and guides take into consideration visitors with mobility restrictions during tours. Such guests can travel between floors using an elevator. However, the arena, the underground areas and the top parts of the Colosseum are not accessible for wheelchairs due to stairs and unevenness. Video guides are available for hard-of-hearing and deaf guests in Italian and American Sign Language. Read more.

Can I bring my dog?

No, dogs are not allowed in the attraction. Read more.

Is the Colosseum suitable for children?

Yes, but it is desired for safety reasons to hold children by the hand. Read more.

General information

opening hours

The Colosseum is open daily from 9:00 AM to one hour before sunset. The closing times vary by season, with operating hours until 7:15 PM from 27th March to 31st August, 7:00 PM in September, 6:30 PM in October and 4:30 PM from 31st October to 31st December.


Piazza del Colosseo, 1
00184 Rome


A day ticket for the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine costs 16 €, a two-day ticket costs 22 €. Discounted tickets for 2 € are available for EU citizens between 18 and 25 years old. Admission is free for all visitors under 18 years old, as well as for Italian teachers. Disabled guests and a companion are also allowed into the Colosseum for free. Holders of the Roma Pass must reserve for Colosseum entry, which costs 2 €.

how to get there

You can get to the Colosseum with the Line B of the Metro to the Colosseo stop, tram line 3 or the buses of the 75, 81, 175, 204 and 673 lines.
Klaus Kainz
Written byKlaus KainzAs a studied historian, Klaus is not only interested in historical sights, but also in their fascinating backgrounds. For TicketLens, he gets to the heart of the most interesting information about attractions and travel destinations.
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