Dating from the time of the Roman Empire nearly 2,000 years ago, the Colosseum is one of Rome’s most famous monuments and historic sites. The largest standing amphitheater in the world to this day, it was the site of gladiator fights, plays, and even executions.
A newly reimagined Underground Colosseum tour in Rome, allows visitors to experience the history of the Colosseum like never before. In partnership with the Parco Archeologico del Colosseo (PArCo), this all-new exhibition and multimedia installation will transport visitors back nearly 2,000 years to Ancient Rome reviving the scenes of the passage of the gladiators from the tunnel that connected Ludus Magnus. The exhibit is now included as part of the Underground Colosseum tour and is on sale now! This all-new exhibition brings forward the history of the Colosseum Underground as visitors are transported back nearly 2,000 years to Ancient Rome with an immersive tour experience featuring digitally projected gladiators, specialty curated artifacts, and more!
More than 6 million people visit the Colosseum each year. Here are our top tips for navigating the crowds and seeing the sights at one of Rome’s most popular attractions.
Visiting the Colosseum: our essential tips and things to know
Get the best possible experience at this amazing ruin from ancient Rome with the following tips and advice.
1. Book a guided Colosseum tour for the best experience
While you’re free to explore the Colosseum on your own, the best way to experience it is with a guided tour. You’ll gain much more insight into the history of the Colosseum and Roman history in general while in the capable hands of a local expert.
Plus, options like our Premium Colosseum Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill get skip-the-line access, so you can get straight to exploring instead of waiting in line.
The newly enhanced exhibition, officially unveiled in Rome earlier this month, showcases how Gladiators came from the Ludus Magnus, the gladiator training gym, through the underground secret tunnel to perform in the Colosseum Arena, acclaimed by more than fifty thousand spectators. Featuring a new sophisticated multimedia experience with holographic projections, those gladiators are brought to life depicting the walk on the original floor of the cryptoporticus towards the Arena in their colorful armor. The exhibition also is enhanced through a curated collection of armor on display along the tour path, along with the original artifacts from the collections such as those of the Parco archeological del Colosseo, the National Archaeological Museum in Naples, and the National Archaeological Museum in Aquileia with weapons distinguishing the main styles of gladiators competing for victory.
2. Skip the line and purchase your Colosseum ticket online
If you want to skip the line at the Colosseum ticket office and don’t mind planning your visit ahead of time, you can buy Colosseum tickets in advance at the official ticket website.
You’ll have several different options to choose from, including fast-track entry, discounted tickets, priority access, and the Roma Pass (or Rome Pass), which includes entry to other Rome museums and cultural sites within a set time limit.
3. Set aside several hours for your visit
Exploring the Colosseum itself will take roughly an hour or so, but entry tickets also include access to two other not-to-be-missed historic and archaeological sites. You get all three—Palatine Hill, the Colosseum, and Roman Forum—for the price of one.
Located a short walk from the Colosseum, the Roman Forum is the amazing remains of temples, government buildings, and public gathering spaces dating back some 2,000 years.
One of the seven hills of Rome, Palatine Hill is one of the oldest parts of the city, and according to Roman mythology, it’s believed to be where the she-wolf found Romulus and Remus, Rome’s eventual founders.
While not as well-known as the Colosseum, these sites are well worth visiting, especially since entry is included in the cost of your Colosseum ticket!
4. July and August is the busiest time of year to visit
The summer months of July and August are Rome’s peak tourism season, which means it’s also when most people will be visiting the Colosseum. If you are visiting Rome during this time, try planning your Colosseum visit for the middle of the week.
5. Visit early or late in the day to avoid the crowds
The Colosseum is busiest in the middle of the day, so it’s best to visit first thing in the morning (around 8:30am) or roughly an hour before closing to avoid the worst of the crowds.
6. Book a tour of the underground area
General-entry tickets and most Colosseum tours don’t include access to the Colosseum underground, a warren of stone passageways under the former arena floor that used to be the hidden staging area for animal hunts, gladiator fights, and other entertainment. But the best Colosseum tours include visiting the underground part of the arena.
By booking a designated Colosseum underground tour that includes access to the lower levels, like our VIP Colosseum Underground Tour, you’ll get exclusive access to this restricted area and learn even more about this incredible monument and Roman history.
7. Be wary of pickpockets
As in any major city, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Pickpockets like to hang out close to popular attractions full of unsuspecting, excited tourists. While arriving at and entering the Colosseum, be sure to protect any valuables you may have with you.
8. You can visit for free on the first Sunday of every month
Visiting Rome on a budget? On the first Sunday of every month, visitors can get a free ticket and enjoy free admission to public Rome museums, including the Colosseum. The only downside is that the free entry will draw big crowds, so either line up well before Colosseum opening hours or be prepared to wait.
9. Wear comfortable shoes
You’ll be doing a lot of walking while exploring the Colosseum, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes for your visit.
Visiting the Colosseum is a must on any Rome itinerary
Exploring the Colosseum should be top of everyone’s Rome to-do list, but when you’ve had your fill, there’s plenty to see and do around the Eternal City. With City Experiences, you can go on educational walking tours, dine on pasta and pizza (and even learn how to make it!) on a food tour and much, much more.