What to Know About Visiting the Roman Colosseum

How to Visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill in Rome

roman colosseum picture, exterior arches
••• Roman Colosseum Picture. by Martha Bakerjian, licensed to About.com

One of Italy's most popular attractions and certainly one of the most recognizable symbols of the Roman Empire, the Colosseum should be at the top of the itinerary for every first time visitor to Rome. Also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, this ancient arena was the site of countless gladiatorial battles and bloody wild animal fights. Visitors to the Colosseum can sit in the stands and see evidence of the amphitheater's intricate underground passageways and trap doors – the staging areas for erstwhile entertainment.

Because the Colosseum is a top attraction in Rome, it can be hard to get tickets. To avoid standing in long lines on your visit to this ancient site, consider buying a Colosseum and Roman Forum pass online from Select Italy in US dollars or buying a Roma Pass or Archeologica Card, which allows entry to the Colosseum and other sights for a flat rate. For more options view our guide on Buying Rome Colosseum Tickets with information on combined tickets, tours, and online ticketing.

Important Security Information:

As of April, 2016, security measures at the Colosseum have been heightened. All visitors, including "skip the line" ticket holders and guided tour participants, must pass through a security check that includes a metal detector. The security line can be very long, with wait times of one hour or longer, so plan accordingly. Backpacks, big purses, and luggage are not permitted inside the Colosseum.

Colosseum Visiting Information

Location: Piazza del Colosseo. Metro line B, Colosseo stop, or Tram Line 3.

Hours: Open daily from 8:30 AM until 1 hour before sunset (so closing times vary by season) so closing times range from 4:30 PM in winter to 7:15 PM in April through August. Last admission is 1 hour before closing.

For details see the web site link in information below. Closed January 1 and December 25 and in the morning on 2 June (usually opens at 1:30 PM).

Admission: 12 euro for a ticket that includes entrance to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, as of 2015. The pass ticket is valid for 2 days, with one entrance to each of the 2 sites (Colosseum and Roman Forum/Palatine Hill). Free the first Sunday of the month.

Information: (0039) 06-700-4261 Check current hours and price on this web site

See the Colosseum In-Depth

For a more complete visit to the Colosseum, you can take a guided tour that includes access to the dungeons and upper tiers, not open to the public with a regular tickets. See how to Tour All the Colosseum from Top to Bottom for details and a virtual visit or book a Colosseum Dungeons and Upper Tiers tour through Select Italy.

Traveling with kids? They might enjoy the Colosseum for Kids: Half Day Family Tour.

For another virtual visit, see our Photos of the Roman Colosseum.

Notes: Since the Colosseum is usually very crowded and filled with tourists, it can be a prime spot for pickpockets so be sure to take precautions to safeguard your money and passports.

Backpacks and big bags are not allowed in the Colosseum. Expect to go through a security screening, including a metal detector.

This article was edited and updated by Martha Bakerjian.