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Visiting the Colosseum: Complete Guide for 2023

Rome is one of the most magical places in the world, the atmosphere is so unique and special. If you’re planning a trip to this ancient city, there’s no way you can miss out on visiting the Colosseum, one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. 

But before you step into the arena and immerse yourself in the glory and history of the Colosseum, there are a few things you need to know. Don’t worry, this guide has got you covered to help you make the most out of your visit.

There’s so much to discover at the Colosseum…so, grab your camera, put on some comfy shoes, and get ready to be amazed! Here is our complete guide for visiting the Colosseum in Rome.

Where is the Colosseum?

The Colosseum is, of course, found in Rome, the capital city of Italy. More specifically, the Colosseum is found in the center of Rome, where you can find most of the main attractions which the city offers. The Colosseum is right next to the Roman Forum, which is why tickets often include access to both.

In the surrounding area, there are many cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy a meal with a view of the Colosseum. Or go one step further and book a stay at one of the hotels near the Colosseum. Imagine waking up with a view of the iconic landmark out your window! 

The Colosseum is huge, and much bigger than you imagine from photos. It’s hard to appreciate the sheer size until you see it for yourself. But despite this, you can’t see the Colosseum from all across Rome. You can only see it once you are about a 5 minute walk away. So make sure you know where you are going and don’t rely on being able to see the Colosseum for directions. 

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How to get to the Colosseum

Getting to the Colosseum is pretty straightforward. As mentioned earlier, it’s right in the heart of Rome. Most of Rome’s attractions are within walking distance of each other, for example, from the Trevi Fountain to the Colosseum is a 16-minute drive, or an 18-minute walk. So the best way to get around Rome is by walking. It’s only an extra 2 minutes but will save you the price of a taxi. 

Or, you can use public transportation. The Colosseum has its own metro station, appropriately named “Colosseo”. It’s part of the blue line in the metro system and can be reached from all across Rome. The public transport in Rome is alright, but that’s about it. If you aren’t too far away from the Colosseum, and you are able to, walk to it.

One of the beautiful things about Rome is that every street is impressive. Around every corner there is a wonderful statue or another fountain, you never know what you are going to find by simply walking through the streets of Rome. 

Do you need a ticket for the Colosseum?

The Colosseum is one of the top places to see in Rome, therefore tickets are required to enter. Unfortunately, you can’t just walk inside the Roman Colosseum as and when you please. You need to book a ticket in advance with a timeslot to turn up. Or you can buy Colosseum tickets at the ticketing office but this isn’t recommended as the lines are huge. 

The best way for booking tickets is by signing up for a tour. The best Colosseum tours will not only get you inside the arena but will teach you all about the history of the Colosseum. There are even some tours that get you exclusive access to areas otherwise out of bounds. 

Roman Forum Tour

How much does the Colosseum cost?

Naturally, the Colosseum ticket price depends on how you choose to spend your visit.

If you simply buy a ticket to access the Colosseum, you can expect a price of around $20 per person. Note that there are different types of tickets which you can buy, each ticket grants you access to different parts of the Colosseum. You can buy tickets to the area floor, the underground, and other areas too. 

As said before, most tickets will include access to the Roman Forum on top of access to the Colosseum.

If you opt to take a tour of the Colosseum, you can expect to pay around $40 for a standard tour. The doubled price is more than worth it, as you get more than double the experience. You can learn about what you are looking at, and imagine what life was like in Ancient Rome. 

And of course, tour prices depend on the tour. You can find tours for as much as $220 per person for a private tour of the Colosseum which takes you to all the different exclusive areas and allows you to have a guide all to yourself.

Whichever option you choose when visiting the Colosseum, you are guaranteed to have a good time. The Colosseum is extraordinary and simply being inside the arena yourself is a feeling that is hard to describe. It’s amazing. 

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Visiting the Colosseum: Things to see

Visiting the Colosseum is about more than just seeing the arena at face value. There are so many things to see and appreciate in the area that you could easily spend a good few hours in the vicinity of the Colosseum.

  • The Colossal Statue of Nero (or what’s left): The once 30-meter-tall statue was once standing tall as part of the Colosseum. But all that’s left is a plaque after the statue disappeared sometime in the 4th century. 
  • The Arch of Constantine: Right outside the Colosseum is a huge archway, it’s so impressive that the arch was also built nearly 2000 years ago. It’s the largest remaining Roman arch.
  • The Cross: Inside the Colosseum is a huge cross, placed there in 2000. It was to represent the Christian martyrs that the Romans killed in the Colosseum, but it’s a heavily debated topic whether this actually happened.
  • The Gate of Death: Some tours include walking through the gate, but otherwise you can just look out for it. It’s the gate in which the beaten-up bodies were taken out of the arena floor.
  • The Arena Floor: Part of the arena floor remains, and you can also access it on some tours. You can see how the floor was made of wood and how it was made up of trap floors. 
  • The Underground: The tunnels underneath the arena floor are a complex labyrinth. Again, some tours include access and it’s a pretty special experience. The tunnels were used to allow animals and gladiators to pop up and down from the arena floor.
  • The Roman Forum: Although not part of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum is only a stone’s throw away, and you can get there in 60 seconds from the Colosseum. As mentioned, it’s included in access to the Colosseum, and strolling through the old Roman center is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. 
Inside the Roman Colosseum - family

Visiting the Colosseum Tips

As with any tourist attraction, there are things that are worth knowing before visiting. So here are some top tips for visiting the Colosseum. 

  • Book as soon as you can: The Colosseum sells out in advance, sometimes even months in advance in the peak seasons. As soon as you know you are going to Rome, book your tickets or tour of the Colosseum to avoid disappointment.
  • Visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds: The Colosseum is incredible, but you don’t want to share the experience with thousands of other people. Visit as early in the morning as you can and you will be one of only a few hundred people in the Colosseum. It makes a real difference.
  • Spend sunset at the Colosseum: One of the best places to spend sunset in Rome is at the Colosseum. The beautiful sunset colors in the sky in the backdrop of such an iconic landmark is a sight not to be missed. If you want another place to watch the sunset, be at the top of St. Peter’s Basilica dome for sunset, it’s also breathtaking. 
  • Be aware of scams: Unfortunately, the Colosseum is surrounded by scams. There will be people offering you roses, refuse them as they will be looking for money. There will be people taking photos of you on an old camera and trying to get you to pay for the photo. There are many scams so be sure to keep your wits up.
  • Buy tickets from the Roman Forum: If you do choose to leave it late and buy tickets on the day of your visit, buy them from the Roman Forum ticket office rather than the Colosseum ticket office. The queues will be so much shorter and you will save a ton of time.
  • You can visit for free on the first Sunday of every month: On the first Sunday of each month, you can visit the Colosseum free of charge. But of course, there will be huge crowds. So get there early to beat the lines. You can also visit the Vatican Museums for free at certain times of the month.
  • See the Colosseum at night: The Colosseum at night is a completely different experience than seeing it during the daytime. Seeing the arena lit up and glowing is unbelievably special and perhaps the best way to see the Colosseum. It’s a moment you won’t forget from your time in Rome. Not to mention how incredible the photos turn out! 

Visiting the Colosseum: FAQ

Below are some FAQs related to visiting the Colosseum along with their answers.

Why should I visit the Colosseum?

You should visit the Colosseum because it is one of the most special experiences you can have in Rome. Seeing the Colosseum for yourself is indescribable. It’s an entirely different experience from seeing it in photos. As the cliche goes, photos don’t do it justice. 

How to visit the Colosseum?

There are many ways to visit the Colosseum. You can choose to buy a ticket and enter the arena for yourself. Or you can choose to take a tour of the Colosseum. There are lots of different ticket types and tour options that take you to different parts of the Colosseum. 

If you are only interested in snapping a quick photo of the outside, there are plenty of walking and golf cart tours that include a stop at the Colosseum.

What are the Colosseum opening hours?

The Colosseum is open from 8:30 am to one hour before sunset. This means that the opening times may vary depending on the time of year. If you plan to purchase your ticket at the ticket office, be advised that they close one hour before the monument’s closing time so plan accordingly. The most up-to-date list of opening times for the Colosseum can be found on their official website. 

Is there a dress code for the Colosseum?

There is no dress code, however, if you are wondering what to wear to the Colosseum in Rome we recommend dressing comfortably. You will be walking a substantial amount so sneakers or other supportive shoes are advised.

If you are visiting during the summer, loose-fitting and breathable clothing is best. If you are visiting during the winter, consider wearing pants and a sweater. Keep in mind that the majority of the tour is outdoors, so a coat or raincoat may be fitting depending on the forecast.

Final Thoughts: Visiting the Colosseum

And there you have it, a complete guide to visiting the Colosseum.

It’s one of the most unforgettable experiences you can have in the world, the Colosseum is spectacular and is bound to leave you with memories to last a lifetime. 

Hopefully, you have learned everything you need to know before visiting the Colosseum. So get your tickets booked and enjoy Rome’s most iconic landmark for yourself.

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