If you’re planning a trip to Rome it won’t be complete without a visit to the Colosseum, perhaps the most iconic tourist attraction in Italy. However, it is also one of the most popular tourist sights in the world.
I am sure you don’t want to waste one moment of your precious time in Rome standing in a queue so here is my Skip the Line Colosseum Complete Guide.
Skip the Line Colosseum Guide
Table of Contents
Why Visit the Colosseum?
Could over 7 million people be wrong – and that’s just in the last 12 months! That is how many people visit Italy’s most popular tourist attraction the Colosseum in Rome each year. This ancient amphitheater was the site of Rome’s famous public spectacles like seen in the movie Gladiator.
The Colosseum was the biggest amphitheater in the world during its time, seating over 70,000 people. The structure was constructed in 70 AD – yes it’s that old. It is 157 feet tall and remarkably well preserved considering its age.
What is there to see in the Colosseum?
Before you head into the Colosseum do take the time to see this awesome structure from the outside. Head to Via Dei Fori Imperiali for the best views.
Entry to the Colosseum is from the south side of the building. The visit begins on the 2nd floor.
There are 4 major elements that can be seen when visiting the Colosseum:
The Hypogeum is at the base of the colosseum and was where gladiators and animals waited to go out into the ampitheatre – so like a roman green room. It is a system of tunnels and two major tunnels.
2. The Third Floor
The best views of the Colosseum and of Rome itself are on the third floor of the Colosseum. Access to the third floor is not part of every tour so if you like a view make sure you ensure your ticket contains this option.
3. Colosseum Arena
The Arena was where the actual battles took place in the Colosseum. It was created to cover the Hypogeum and was made of wood and covered by sand. Much of the arena has been destroyed over the years but there is still some standing.
4. Under the Colosseum
This is the newest element of a Colosseum tour and only began to be offered in 2018. Prior to this the underground section of the Colosseum wasn’t open to tourists.
This was also a backstage area where performers prepped for their big appearance and is a slightly spooky experience.
When is the Colosseum Open?
The Colosseum can only hold up to 3000 visitors at any given time. It is open every day of the year apart from December 25 and January 1. Opening hours are seasonal.
The Colosseum opens most mornings at 830am. In winter it closes around 1700 and in summer it can be open until 1915 depending on the exact time of year.
Let’s get onto the actual tickets
Every ticket to the Colosseum also includes access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. The Roman Forum is located next door to the Colosseum and Palatine Hill is also part of the area.
Also, if you have a Colosseum ticket you can visit the Roman Forum without having to wait at the checkouts. Go directly through the security gate.
- Regular Colosseum Ticket
The regular Colosseum ticket will give you access to the first and second floors of the spectator area. You can visit the Colosseum and then look to buy a ticket from a re-seller or head to the ticket office at the Forum entrance which is usually better in terms of lines.
Or the much better option is to buy this ticket online before your visit. When you purchase this ticket online you will be given options for different times on the day you want to visit. Of course, the further ahead you book the more options will be available.
This ticket allows you to skip the queue to enter the Colosseum at a specific time as well as entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
2. Regular Colosseum Ticket with Guide
Get all of the above plus a real life tour guide to escort you through the Colosseum and tell you more about this amazing site. This ticket includes a set time and skip the line.
3. Regular Colosseum Ticket plus Access to the Arena
This option also includes a tour guide plus access to the first two floors and a set time and skip the line access.
The difference is that it also provides access to the Colosseum through the actual gladiator’s gate eg as they came into the Arena all those years ago.
Read more about Italy in my posts on the 15 beautiful cities in Italy, best places to visit in Puglia, 7 Charming Sardinia Boutique Hotels, 11 Places to see the Venice Sunset, 55 Fascinating Facts about Rome, 16 Beautiful Bridges in Rome, 18 Venetian Palaces to Visit or Sleep In 27 Must-See Landmarks in Venice, What is Italy Known for? 35 Italian Claims for Fame, 20 Beautiful Fountains in Rome, 25 Rome Monuments, 24 Famous Landmarks in Italy and the Best Ski Resorts in Italy.
4. Access to the Underground Area and Third Floor
The next ticket option offers everything above – including a tour guide and skip the line with a set time – plus tours of the Underground area of the Colosseum and access to the third floor.
5. Moonlight Tour of the Colosseum
The Moonlight tour takes place at 630pm and offers access to the general areas of the Colosseum, the Arena, the Underground of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and a set time with skip the queue tickets. So everything in option 4 but at a more photogenic time of day.
6. The Colosseum plus the Vatican Skip the Line
If you’re tight on time this ticket provides tours of The Colosseum, The Vatican and Ancient Rome with every line skipped all day long. It also includes lunch.
11 Things to Know before you Visit the Colosseum
- Your pre-purchased ticket will most likely be emailed to you and will arrive as a PDF voucher. Print this voucher out and bring it with you on the day. This print out needs to be converted into an actual ticket for you to gain entry to the Colosseum.
2. If you are not meeting a guide at a designated spot take your print out to the ticket holders only booth just inside the Colosseum door. In summer and busy times additional ticket holder-only booths pop up.
3. If you want to visit the Roman Forum first head to the main Forum Ticket Booth. Your printout will be turned into a ticket at the first of the 3 sites that are part of what you have purchased.
4. The Colosseum has its own Metro Station Colosseo. It is a 2-4 minute walk from the station to the Colosseum.
5. The shortest queues are normally at Palatine Hill so it can be a good idea to start your visit to the Colosseum there to save time.
6. There is no public wifi at the Colosseum.
7. There are no coffee shops etc within the Colosseum.
8. Alcohol and glass bottles are not allowed into the Colosseum but water bottles are okay.
9. For security reasons you are not allowed to bring large bags into the Colosseum. The largest allowed is a medium sized back pack. Any bags will go through a metal detector and will also be visually screened before entrance.
10. You are able to take photos (no flash) and video footage at the Colosseum.
11. There are public bathrooms at the Colosseum. After you enter the bathrooms are to the left of the ticket booths.
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