Getting into Rome’s main attractions used to be relatively straightforward, but as a result of concerns about terrorism, there are now thorough security checks at the Colosseum and the Vatican. While Colosseum and Vatican private tours allow you the opportunity to skip the lines, for obvious reasons, the security checks can’t be avoided. To make things simpler during your tour, we suggest checking the rules in advance and preparing accordingly.

Security check at the Colosseum

Security check in Rome museums what can you bring to the Colosseum and the Vatican 1 1
Security Checks at the Colosseum

There are metal detectors at the entrance of the Colosseum, similar to those at the airport. Before passing through, you’ll have to scan personal belongings such as keys, wallets and cameras separately. We recommend placing your phone and other electronic devices in the white trays to prevent them from getting lost or damaged or, even better, to put all your metal objects and electronic devices in your bag, and then put the bag directly on the metal detector belt, without using the trays. This procedure makes everything faster.

Recently, the sensitivity of the metal detectors has been increased, therefore it might be necessary to remove belts, bracelets or watches, just like at the airport.

Visitors are not allowed to enter with glass bottles, sprays, knives (even small ones) or scissors. Plastic water bottles are permitted, however, and we recommend bringing them to fill up at the fountains inside the Colosseum.

Leave your pocket knife at home or at your hotel! The Colosseum area is protected by special anti-terrorism laws, and they’ll never let you in if you bring a knife!

There are no designated areas for storing bulky personal possessions such as suitcases or heavy backpacks, so if staff at the entrance see you carrying them, you won’t be allowed in. And aside from the rules of the security check at the Colosseum, your tour won’t be quite as enjoyable if you’re weighed down with heavy bags. When planning your Colosseum tour, make sure you pack light!

Security check at the Vatican

For the security check at the Vatican – located at the entrance of the Vatican Museums – you’ll also have to pass through a metal detector, following the same procedure as Colosseum visitors.

Unlike the Colosseum, the Vatican does have a cloakroom where you can store larger items, including suitcases, backpacks and large umbrellas (but not clothing or valuables). You won’t be allowed to enter the museums with large bags or other bulky items, so make sure you leave them in the cloakroom located near the museum entrance. However, keep in mind that all Vatican tours finish in St Peter’s Basilica, so you’ll have a 20 minute walk back to the Vatican Museums entrance to collect your belongings. For this reason, we recommend not bringing items that have to be left in the cloakroom.

Visiting the Vatican Museums can be tiring, especially when it’s hot and crowded, so you should try to bring only the essentials (including a bottle of water).

Vatican dress code

In theory all churches and sacred places in Rome have a dress code; the difference with the Vatican is that it’s very strictly enforced. No matter how long you’ve queued, no matter how much you beg, they won’t let you in unless you’re dressed appropriately.Security check in Rome museums what can you bring to the Colosseum and the Vatican

Here’s what to avoid:

  • Low-cut or sleeveless tops
  • Shorts
  • Mini-skirts (or any skirt that’s clearly above the knee)
  • Hats

The Vatican Museum is not a religious site itself, so you can actually walk almost everywhere inside the museum even without being dressed appropriately. But, be prepared to enter the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica at the end of your Vatican tour, and those sights have a very strict dress code. Our recommendation then is to always cover your knees, even in the museum, and to bring a scarf or something you can cover your shoulders with in case you are wearing a sleeveless top, so that you will not be stopped at the Sistine Chapel or at St. Peter’s. 

These rules apply not only to St Peter’s Basilica and to the Sistine Chapel, but they are also good guidelines for visiting any religious building in Rome.

However, a little planning goes a long way. To enjoy a hassle-free visit to the Colosseum and the Vatican, without cloakroom ordeals or arguments with the staff, plan ahead!

For more information about the Colosseum and Vatican security checks, and to learn more about private tours of the Colosseum and Vatican, don’t hesitate to contact the team at Roads to Rome Private Tours.

Read more: Vatican: useful information for visitors