Colosseum

Uncover the secrets of the gladiators at the Roman Colosseum.

Step into two thousand years of history as you explore the most iconic symbol of the ancient world in Rome: the Colosseum. 

Aerial shot of the Roman Colosseum.
The Colosseum is located in the heart of Rome.

Highlights

  • Enter into the stands and imagine the roar of 50,000 spectators as the emperor decides who lives or dies.
  • Follow in the footsteps of gladiators and step out onto the arena floor.
  • Delve into the labyrinth below the Colosseum, where the gladiators and wild animals would be kept to await their fates.

Tickets & Prices

The Colosseum has notoriously long queues – it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. For people who want to skip the line, buying tickets online in advance is highly recommended. The “Priority Entrance” tickets ensures the quickest possible entry into the amphitheater.

(Update: At the moment, Colosseum tickets can only be bought online.)

Find out which of these Roman Colosseum tickets is best suited to you.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Entrance to the neighboring ancient sites of the Roman Forum and Palantine Hill are included in the price of all Colosseum tickets.
  • Tickets are sent via email. You can print them out or show them on your phone at the entrance.
  • The e-tickets are valid for 24 hours after activation.
  • You can choose a 30 minute time slot at any point from 09:00 to 15:00 for the Colosseum.
  • Your assigned time slot could be 30 minutes outside of the one you chose.
  • The maximum time you can enter after your assigned slot is 15 minutes.

Priority Entrance vs. Priority Entrance + Arena Floor

These tickets are nearly identical: you get to skip the line, download a digital guide and visit three separate ancient sites.

The big difference is that these second ticket gives access to the arena floor. Giving you the chance to see the Colosseum from the perspective of a gladiator and step foot into the world’s most famous arena.

Rome Tourist Card

The ultimate one-pass-fits-all for Rome, the Rome Tourist Card grants you access to the city’s most iconic sights, from the Colosseum to the Sistine Chapel. 

It’s perfect for people hoping to tick off all the main tourist spots during their visit.

Important Ticket Information:

  • Includes skip-the-line access.
  • The Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican and Sistine Chapel are the attractions included.
  • It is a digital pass.
  • There isn’t a time limit on the Rome Tourist Card – it can be used and remain valid throughout your stay.
  • Booking a time slot works in the same manner as the previous two tickets.

What to see and do 

To help you understand what a visit to the Colosseum entails, we have broken down its most popular attractions.

Colosseum Outer Wall

Tourists walking along the outer wall of the Roman Colosseum
The Colosseum is one of Rome’s most popular tourist attractions.

Your experience begins before you ever set foot inside: the first sight of the Colosseum is always special. The crumbling ruin of the south side gives way to the imperious magnificence of the stunning north side.

The ornate structure is 57 metres tall, built using travertine marble sourced from quarries around Italy. It is almost tradition to pose gleefully outside the Colosseum when visiting Rome – the photo op might be cliché, but it is a memory you will undoubtedly treasure forever. 

The Second Floor

View of the arena from the second floor of the Colosseum in Rome.

See the arena from above as you walk around the amphitheater. The second floor of the Colosseum would have been reserved for the wealthiest, most important members of Ancient Roman society. 

You can see the Colosseum from the spectators’ perspective high above the arena. Marveling at the sheer size of the structure, the ornate stonework and general sense of greatness is all part of the experience.

There are small exhibits and information points on the second floor. You can discover more about the Colosseum’s history while admiring the ancient artefacts unearthed during archealogical digs.

Arena

View of the arena floor in the Roman Colosseum.

Entering the arena is both an awe-inspiring and chilling experience. Standing where so much blood has been shed and thousands of lives were lost is humbling – it is easy to envision a time thousands of years in the past, where people were fighting for their lives in the sand, under the watch of 50,000 frenzied spectators.

From the arena floor you can get a closer look into the Hypogeum, and enjoy a unique perspective peering into the maze of tunnels below. 

Gate of Death

If you have access to the arena floor, you will walk through the Gate of Death. The rather gruesome purpose of this gate was to ferry the dead bodies of defeated gladiators and executed prisoners out of the arena.

The Gate of Life was located on the opposing eastern side. This is where the gladiators would enter the arena before a battle.

Underground (The Hypogeum)

The most mysterious and fascinating part of the Colosseum is, without doubt, the Hypogeum. For years, archaeologists avoided the labyrinth of tunnels due to its sheer complexity, and it has only been fully opened to visitors since 2021.

The ‘backstage’ of the games is where the gladiators would prepare for battle, and wild animals were kept. You can see previously hidden secrets when wandering the Hypogeum; like the trap doors used to raise lions and other predators into the arena from below.

The Arena, Gate of Death and Hypogeum are special access only; they’re not included in the basic ticket price.

Did you know that: (4 Interesting Facts!) 

  1. Everyone knows about the wild animal hunts and gladiator fights. But did you know that the Colosseum was once the setting of naval battles? Emperor Titus ordered the Colosseum to be flooded to allow a reenactment of an ancient sea battle between Athens and Syracuse to take place.
  1. The Colosseum was originally known by its official name, the Flavian Amphitheater. It is believed the name Colosseum derives from the ampihitheater’s proximity to the Colossus of Nero, a huge bronze statue that once stood nearby.
  1. In 2007, the Roman Colosseum was chosen as one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’.
  1. Tickets to the largest spectacles were often free – they were usually paid for by the emperors to keep public morale high.

History

An almost 2000 year long timeline of the Roman Colosseum:

  • AD 70-72. Construction of the Colosseum begins under the authority of Vespasian, the founder of the Flavian dynasty.
  • AD 80. The Colosseum opens with great fanfare. The son and successor to Vespasian, Titus, kicks off 100 days of games in celebration.
  • AD 82. Final touches are added to the Colosseum. The upper stand is completed during the reign of Domitian.
  • AD 404. The rise of Christianity makes the games fall out of style. The last gladiatorial fight in Rome takes place at the Colosseum.
  • AD 523. The last staged hunt, or venatio, is recorded.
  • AD 1349. A huge earthquake causes untold damage to the Colosseum. The entire outer shell of the south side collapses, leaving behind the iconic ruin we see today.
  • AD 1750. After centuries of looting and neglect, Pope Benedict XIV declares the Colosseum a ‘sacred place’ and forbids any further damage. Small restoration work begins.
  • AD 1800 onwards. Restoration work begins in earnest. A fascination with antiquity in the 19th century prompts archaelogical digs and reconstruction work.
  • 1990s. Modern technology and techniques are used in an attempt to restore the Colosseum to its former glory. The work continues to this day.
  • Present Day. The Roman Colosseum is one of the most recognizable tourist attractions in the world. It welcomes over six million visitors every year.

Map & Directions

The Colosseum is located in the centre of Rome, at the Piazza del Colosseo.


Head to in the heart of Rome.

If using the metro: take the Linea B metro line, and get off at the ‘Colosseo’ station.

Colosseum map

Address: Colosseum, Piazza del Colosseo 1, 00184 Roma, Italy · view larger map

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