If you have your sights set on visiting Rome, there’s an excellent chance the Colosseum will be high on your itinerary. The enormous ancient amphitheater where gladiators once battled fierce beasts — and each other — attracts more than six million visitors every year. Step into this icon, a symbol of the storied Roman Empire, and be transported back in time to the grandeur of the Eternal City. In this guide, you’ll find all the essential information you need to plan your visit: which Rome Colosseum tours to book, how to get there, and where to snap the best pictures.
The Roman Colosseum, originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, was commissioned by Emperor Vespasian. It was completed 10 years later in 80 AD under his son, Emperor Titus, as a large-scale public entertainment venue. The amphitheater was built from travertine stone and iron. Standing at 12 stories tall, with 80 entrances and accommodating over 50,000 spectators, the ampitheater is the largest of its kind ever built. So what was the Colosseum used for? Primarily, the monument hosted gladiator battles and wild animal hunts. It was also used for other gruesome public spectacles, including mock sea battles and prisoner executions.
Where is The Colosseum?
The Colosseum is located in the heart of Rome, at the Piazza del Colosseo. If you’re staying in the fairly compact city center, it’s an easy walk or short taxi ride away. And if you’re not staying nearby, it is easily accessible via public transportation. Take the Metro “B” Line bus or a train to Roma Termini. You can even get there from the Rome Fiumicino Airport without a car. To do this, take the Leonardo Express airport shuttle to Roma Termini, then hail a taxi or take the Metro bus. Get off at the Colosseo station, and you’ll be dropped off right out front.
If you want a prime central location as your home base, consider hotels near the Colosseum in Rome. The family-friendly Nerva Boutique Hotel offers childcare on-site and an airport shuttle, while Palm Suites has views of the Colosseum from some rooms.
How to Visit
The Colosseum opens at 8:30 a.m., with season-dependent closing times between 4:30 and 7:15 p.m. You can explore on your own, but for a more immersive experience, consider booking a guided Rome Colosseum tour. Expert guides bring the experience to life, offering facts about the landmark, plus insight and anecdotes into its history, gladiator culture, and amazing architecture.
Our Colosseum tours offer unmatched inside access and free time to explore on your own. Many also include visiting other Roman landmarks, such as the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
Ancient Rome & Vatican Treasure Tour
Rome Colosseum Arena Tour
If your primary goal is an in-depth look at the Colosseum, book this day tour. A guide spends 45 minutes taking you deep inside the aged ampitheater, far beyond where most groups go, before exploring on your own. Then, head to Palatine Hill and finish at the Roman Forum for epic photo ops.
Best of Rome 3 Day Tour
Fully immerse into the Eternal City’s history and culture on this 3-day guided tour. Visit iconic highlights including the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, St. Peter’s Basilica, and much more, plus enjoy a food tour and Rome accommodation of your choice.
Colosseum Underground, Rome Forum, and Palatine Hill Exclusive
On this exclusive Colosseum underground tour, access areas that most never see. Tour the underground chambers that house animals before battles and learn about how this architectural marvel was built. Plus, enjoy breathtaking views from the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
You have several options for purchasing Rome Colosseum tickets. Many people purchase them online directly through the Colosseum official website. However, especially during peak seasons, tickets often sell out quickly — even well in advance. The Colosseum releases these tickets 30 days in advance on a rolling basis. Tickets start at €18 for adults and entry for children under 18 is free, although prices vary depending on the type of ticket you select. For example, you can purchase combination tickets that grant access to multiple sites, such as the underground area and the Vatican. If you’re short on time, you can also buy skip-the-line tickets.
Alternatively, you can go to the Colosseum ticket office in person on the day of your intended visit. With this option, ticket lines can be extremely long and you aren’t guaranteed entry.
With all of that in mind, booking a guided tour of the Colosseum may be the best option. All of our tours include Colosseum skip-the-line tickets, so not only do you gain a deeper understanding of the sites but you also secure guaranteed entry and save valuable time.
Best Spots for Colosseum Photos
For social media-worthy shots of the Roman Colosseum, there are several vantage points. Many of them are from the exterior, including outside the Colosseo Metro Station and Oppian Hill, atop an equally photogenic cobblestone staircase. You’ll also get incredible photos from lesser-known (i.e.; less crowded!) locations on the other side of the amphitheater. Head to the Arch of Constantine, where you’ll capture the distinct “cracks” or slants in the walls. A bit further away on Palatine Hill, photograph the Colosseum along with the Roman Forum. You’ll need to book a tour or pay to enter Palatine Hill, but the little-known view is well worth it.
Inside the Colosseum, the best photography spots are from the overlooks. The higher up you are, the more accurately you can capture the amphitheater’s grand scale. While you can certainly take stunning Colosseum photos from the typical locations, our Rome tours take you to unique, off-the-beaten spots away from the crowds. This means you can snap photos that few others will ever have the opportunity to take!
Explore Rome’s Rich History With a Package Tour
Visiting the Colosseum offers an opportunity to connect with ancient Rome’s infamous grandeur and history. To make the most of your visit, book one of our guided tours, which offer exclusive perks like skip-the-line access and little-known photo spots. If exploring more of the Eternal City is on your bucket list, and you’re looking to stay longer than 2 days in Rome, consider one of our multi-day Rome package tours. These include varied experiences in one ticket, including food tours and even other cities, such as Capri or Tuscany. On top of all that, your accommodation is all taken care of, so all you have to do is start packing!