How to tour the Colosseum: visit on your own or on a guided tour (Part 1)

For many people, a Colosseum tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – a memory that will stay with them forever. To make the most of your visit, this is what you should know before you go.

Essential information for your Colosseum tour

Tickets: You can buy the Colosseum ticket at the ticket office on site, or at the

How to tour the Colosseum
Lovely ladies visiting the colosseum

Palatine or Roman Forum ticket office. The ticket costs €12 for adults and is free for under 18s; make sure you bring ID to prove your age. If you buy the ticket online, the adult ticket costs €14, and €2 for under 18s. The Colosseum ticket also gives you access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, two fascinating archaeological sites located close to the Colosseum.

Entrance: When you arrive at the Colosseum, make sure you go to the correct entrance; one entrance is for Colosseum group tours, while the other is for individual visitors. At the entrance for individuals there are three queues: the queue on the right, which can be very lengthy, is for buying the ticket, and the other queues are for visitors who have already

bought their tickets online.

Before entering the Colosseum you’ll have to go through the security check; learn more about the Colosseum security check here.

Opening hours: The Colosseum opens at 8.30 and closes one hour before sunset, so the closing time depends on the season. In the summer the last admission is at 18.15, and the closing time is 19.15.

The best times to visit the Colosseum is early in the morning, as soon as it opens, and late in the afternoon, as it’s cooler and often much less crowded.

The light at sunset is particularly beautiful, and it’s a good opportunity for taking photos.

How to tour the Colosseum visit on your own or on a guided tour Part 1
Lines in the Colosseum Area on a “free Sunday”

You may be tempted by “free Sundays” – entrance is free on the first Sunday of the month. However, the queues are endless, and given that the regular ticket is not that expensive, you would be much better off visiting on another day.

The Colosseum is open every day of the year except 1 January and 25 December. It’s also closed on the morning of 2 June, which is a public holiday in Italy, but it tends to open at around 13.00.

Additional information

You should allow yourself at least one hour for your Colosseum tour in order to explore in-depth.

  • Audioguides are available, but they can be complicated to use – the explanation is often linked to specific points of the Colosseum, which are sometimes difficult to find. For visitors who don’t know the Colosseum well, a Colosseum private tour is definitely the best option.
  • The only toilets at the Colosseum are located at the entrance; they’re often very crowded. If possible, use the toilet before visiting the Colosseum.
  • The stairs are very steep. For wheelchair users there’s a lift up to the first level.
  • There are two souvenir shops – a large shop on the first floor, and a much smaller shop near the exit on the ground floor. You can buy water from the ground floor shop, or alternatively fill up your bottle at the drinking fountain inside the Colosseum.

 What to see near the Colosseum

colosseum extended 11
The Roman Forum on a (rare) snowy day

After your Colosseum private tour, don’t miss the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. The Roman Forum is an enormous archaeological site comprising the remains of Ancient Roman temples, triumphal arches and important political buildings, while the Palatine Hill was the home to Roman emperors and contains the impressive remains of their palaces and villas. Both sites are included on the new S.U.P.E.R. Colosseum ticket, and can be visited with Roads to Rome Private Tours.

Near the Colosseum, between Via di San Giovanni in Laterano and Via Labicana, there’s an intriguing attraction that’s often overlooked – the Ludus Magnus. Gladiators would have lived and practised in this training camp, preparing for their battles in the Colosseum. Although you can’t enter the site, the ruins are visible from street level.


Read more: Secrets of the Colosseum (Smithsonian)