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How to buy tickets for the Colosseum in Rome

how to buy colosseum tickets rome

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As one of the world’s most popular landmarks, it should be easy to find out how to buy tickets for the Colosseum but instead visitors are faced with a bewildering range of options. In this article we share how to buy Colosseum tickets online through the official site and also advance tickets through trusted official partners. 

Colosseum tickets quick links

Prefer not to read through this article? We get it, we’re all busy. Here are our recommended options for tickets

tickets to the colosseum

Colosseum tickets or tour?

First, you’ll need to choose whether to buy tickets and navigate the site on your own or with an audioguide or take a group tour. This will depend on your budget and level of interest in learning about the Ancient Roman sites. Whichever option you choose, you will need to purchase your tour or timed entry Colosseum tickets in advance. This is a recent rule put in place to manage crowds and applies to all visitors including those who can enter free including children and youths under the age of 18. A booking fee may apply in these cases.

Tickets are a good option for budget travelers and those who prefer to explore on their own. However, the Colosseum site is not well marked and you’ll be wandering among tour groups wondering what they are looking at. At the very least, download an audio guide or purchase one with your ticket so you can learn something about one of the most incredible ancient sites in the world including why it is also called the Flavian Arena!

What does your Colosseum ticket include?

The basic Colosseum entrance ticket includes:

  • Single timed entry into the Colosseum – level one and two only
  • 24 hour open access to plus the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Should you wish to visit the Colosseum Arena Floor (see picture below) and/or Underground (both are very interesting) you will need to purchase an upgraded ticket or a Colosseum guided tour option. 

Your admission is considered skip the line Colosseum tickets as you need to arrive at a specific time. You will not need to queue for tickets but please note that you will need to line up for a security check. 

colosseum arena floor tour

Buy Tickets on the “Official” Colosseum Site

The official site to book tickets to the Colosseum is called Co-op Culture. This is a third party Italian website that manages bookings for cultural sites across Italy and it is not the easiest site to navigate, use or purchase from unfortunately. Plus if you need a refund or to change your dates or times the process is extremely difficult.

  • Pros of booking on Co-op Culture site – best prices, specific ticket availability shown
  • Cons of booking on Co-op Culture site – frustrating user experience including payment gateway which often does not work for international visitors, no refunds available – exchanges only

Buy Colosseum Tickets via an Official Partner

Colosseum ticket inventory is spread out over the Coop Culture booking site, tour operators and several official ticket partners including GetYourGuide, Viator or Tiquets. For this reason if you can’t find the time slot you are looking for on Co-op Culture, it is worth checking these options. We prefer GetYourGuide because they have the lowest markup and a 24 hour cancelation policy which is not offered by Coop Culture.

  • Pros of booking on official partners – best availability – especially during peak times in the morning, ease of use of booking platform and easy to understand and manage cancelation policies
  • Cons of booking on official partners – slightly more expensive – you’ll pay a markup for convenience

tickets for the colosseum

Recommended Colosseum Tours

As mentioned earlier, the Colosseum site is not well marked and the exhibits can be a little dry and presented without too much context. Having visited the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill on many occasions, we always recommend taking a guided tour of the Colosseum to make the most of your visit. 

When choosing a tour, consider the group size, style of the tour, areas covered and length of tour. All tour guides operating at sites in Rome must hold a licence obtained by passing a very strict exam. So they all know their dates, Roman Emperors and key monuments but may not have the story telling skills to bring the Ancient Roman sites to life

  • Official Site Tours via Co-op Culture – at 45 minutes and with 30-40 people per tour, these tours are great for getting you around the Colosseum but can only share limited information. You’ll need to explore the Forum and Palatine Hill on your own. The price reflects the group size and length of tour.
  • Take Walks – medium sized tours with a focus on story telling and anecdotes. You’ll get a sense of what it was like for gladiators and spectators alike in this most magnificent of arenas and the impressive surrounds of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Take Walks offer several tours at the Colosseum but their Gladiator’s Gate: Special Access Colosseum Tour with Arena Floor is our favorite. 
  • Liv Tours – very small group (up to 6 people) and private tours led by expert storytellers who bring the arena, Forum and Palatine Hill to life with tales of the gladiators and emperors. You’ll be able to separate myth, legend and movie making creative licence from archaeological fact.  Choose their Colosseum Tour with Underground, Arena and Gladiator Gate with Roman Forum if you want a complete Colosseum tour and guided access to the Roman Forum. PLUS readers of our site get 5% off with code – UNTOLDITALY

colosseum entry tickets

Colosseum Tickets FAQ

Do you need to buy Colosseum tickets in advance?

Yes. Your entry into the Colosseum must be purchased online via the Co-op culture site, a ticket partner or tour company. We recommend buying Colosseum tickets via GetYourGuide for convenience, flexibility and the best price.

When do Colosseum tickets go on sale?

Colosseum tickets go on sale 3 to 4 weeks in advance and sell out quickly during peak visitor periods from May to September. Ticket allocations are spread across multiple vendors so it is worth checking several if you do not find availability on the dates and times you are looking for. 

The best way to ensure your Colosseum visit is at the time and date you want is to book a small group or guided tour in advance with either Take Walks or Liv Tours who will handle the ticketing for you.

Can you buy Colosseum tickets on the day?

Buying last minute Colosseum tickets is possible however expect limited availability at the most popular times to visit – generally early in the in morning during summer as the site becomes hot and stifling. It’s worth checking all ticketing sites for availability at these times as they have separate allocations

What are the Colosseum opening hours?

The Colosseum is open every day except 25th December and 1st January with varying hours depending on the season. Though not officially noted, the Colosseum closes early on Good Friday for the Via Crucis or Way of the Cross Ceremony lead by the Pope These hours also apply to the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Imperial forum.

  • from 2 January to 28 February: 09.00 – 16.30
  • from 1 to 26 March: 09.00 – 17.30
  • from 27 March to 31 August: 09.00am – 19.15pm
  • from 1 September to 30 September: 09.00 – 19.00
  • from 1 to 30 October: 09.00 – 18.30
  • from 31 October to 31 December: 09.00 – 16.30

Last admission one hour before closing. This is not recommended as you need at least one hour to visit the Colosseum alone.

What is the best time to visit the Colosseum?

Visitors usually like to start their day early or close opening time at the Colosseum, especially during summer. The site is very exposed to the elements and can become hot and crowded in the middle of the day. When you’re planning your Rome itinerary bear in mind that if you don’t mind the heat of the day, afternoon sessions are much less crowded with greater availability during the summer. 

Are there any discounts or free entry to the Colosseum

Entry to the Colosseum is FREE for visitors under 18 years, and for people with disabilities plus one family member or helper. If you fall into these categories you will still need to reserve your ticket and timed entry and show identification on entry.

Free entry to the Colosseum is also available on the first Sunday of each month on a first come, first serve basis. Expect big crowds on those days. Tour operators don’t usually run tours then for this reason.

Discounted entry is available to European Union residents between the ages of 18 and 25. 

Do I need to print my Colosseum tickets?

Printing your skip the line Colosseum tickets is an option but you will find it easier to download them to your smartphone

Can I stay close to the Colosseum?

Yes! There are several hotels within easy walking distance of the Colosseum and many Airbnbs and apartments in the Monti district. Read this article to see our pick of accommodation near the Colosseum.

best hotels near colosseum rome

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