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Article abstract: Rome’s iconic Colosseum, an ovoid amphitheater dating from the 1st century, could accommodate 50,000 spectators for gladiatorial combat. Tickets include a visit to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and Mont Palatine. Advance booking is essential, as no tickets are sold on site.

An amphitheatre dating back to the Roman Empire, the Colosseum is one of the symbols of the city of Rome. If you’re planning a trip to the Roman city, a visit to the Colosseum is a must. You can either see the outside of the Colosseum from the street, or you can see much more by visiting the inside of the building. That’s what Amélie and I did.

Find out all you need to know about visiting the Colosseum, as well as our impressions and photos.

What is the Colosseum?

The Colosseum is a large ovoid amphitheatre dating from the 1st century. Construction began between 70 and 72, under Emperor Vespasian, and was completed in 80 under Titus.

It’s not just because the ruins are in excellent condition. It’s also the largest amphitheatre built by the Romans. Nearly 50,000 people could be in the stands to witness the gladiators’ prowess.

Where is the Colosseum in Rome?

The Colosseum is right in the center of Rome, in the Piazza del Colosseo. Before or after visiting the Colosseum, take the Via del Fori Imperiali, which takes you past all the major Roman ruins.

exterior Colosseum
From the outside, the Colosseum is already impressive.

Several bus and metro lines pass close to the Colosseum. Amélie and I were staying a few hundred meters away, so we walked.

If you’re coming to Rome especially to visit the Colosseum, it’s less than 2 km from Roma-Termini station.

Book your tickets with free cancellation on GetYourGuide.

Is there a charge for visiting the Colosseum?

You can view the building from the Piazza del Colosseo free of charge. There is no pre-screening of entrances, as is sometimes the case for tourist attractions. We also walked around at night. The Colosseum is even more impressive when lit up at night.

But to enter the Colosseum, you have to pay. Entry is included in a pass that allows you to see the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Mount. The classic pass costs €18, while the “Full Experience” is €24. For more information, read our article on the Colosseum + Forum + Palatine tour.

It’s also possible to take a guided tour. The price is higher, but I regret not choosing this option as I’m sure I would have learned a lot of useful information.

When can I visit the Colosseum?

interior Colosseum
Here’s one of the first views as you enter the second floor of the Colosseum.

The Colosseum is visited by millions of people every year. It’s Rome’s most famous landmark. It’s open all year round, and opening times vary from month to month.

Their website currently offers the following timetable:

  • Late March to late August: 9 a.m. to 7.15 p.m.
  • Early September to late September: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • Early to late October: 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Early November to late December: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

There is no information for the other months.

Do I need to book in advance to visit the Colosseum?

We went in May and looked for our tickets two weeks in advance… and there were only a few slots left! So yes, it’s in your interest to book your Colosseum tickets in advance. What’s more, during the peak tourist season, you can’t buy tickets on the spot, as everything is fully booked.

Your tickets have a specified date and time. This is the time at which you must arrive at the Colosseum.

What can you see on a visit to the Colosseum?

You start the tour with a long queue up to security, who scan your bags. Then you follow the (only) possible path, but beware, it’s not all very well signposted.

For example, our ticket included access to the arena level, but we missed it. Just so you don’t do what we did, it’s accessible at the beginning, so you don’t have to climb the stairs straight away.

The main part of the tour consists of observing the architecture. You climb the stairs and walk through the different levels of the Colosseum. To get the best photos, it’s best to move forward a little at each level, as tourists crowd the entrance. With a view from the center, you have a superb panorama.

The two end passages offer magnificent views:

arena Colosseum
This angle provides a different perspective.
ruins Colosseum
One of the last views of the Colosseum, at the end of the ring tour.

On the second floor, you’ll find a small museum of the Colosseum.

museum Colosseum
It’s an interesting museum with some fine models. But it was so crowded that it was very difficult to get close.

The museum area is interesting, but the crowds prevent full enjoyment.

A store is available at the end of the visit. You’ll find plenty of goodies featuring the Colosseum.

The visit lasted less than an hour, and there was no hurry.

What did we like about our visit to the Colosseum?

  • The magnificent architecture of the Colosseum
  • Good preservation of the building
  • The many possible viewpoints, since the route comprises several levels
  • Attractive price for a simple visit
construction worl Colosseum
The well-maintained ruins of the Colosseum are magnificent.

What didn’t we like about our visit to the Colosseum?

  • The crowd
  • Lack of information panels to find your way around or learn about the Colosseum (my advice: take a guide!).

A visit to the Colosseum is as impressive as it promises to be. A gigantic work of art in place for 2000 years: you can’t help but admire it when you first see it. But not everything is perfect. Tourists flock to the Colosseum in droves, and you’ll find yourself trampling through most of it, while the paucity of information means you’ll see what’s there without necessarily understanding its original use or history.

Book your tickets with free cancellation on GetYourGuide.

As a professional blogger, I take advantage of my flexible schedule to travel a lot. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!