This place is definitely worthy of a blog, all of its own. If you are lucky enough to be able to visit Rome out of season – or at least not slap bang in the middle of the tourist season – your trip to The Colosseum will be much more enjoyable as you won’t competing with the world and his wife to get the best views. You probably also won’t have as many selfie sticks being prodded and poked and pushed around you. These things are truly the bane of my life 😡 However, even if you can’t avoid the crowds, there are still ways that you can get to experience The Colosseum, without too much stress.
BOOK YOUR TICKETS ONLINE
Be smart and avoid standing in long queues, in the sweltering heat, by booking your tickets online. BUT, be aware that even if you have pre-booked, there will still potentially be a queue when you pick up your ticket. Just not as long. And, be prepared for the Italian custom of NOT queueing – try not to get overy irritated by people just walking up in front of you. It’s the law in Italy 😉 Individual non-concessionary tickets, giving access to the site (Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine and current exhibitions – valid for 2 days) cost €12.00. It’s worth knowing that on the first Sunday of each month, admission is free – BUT reservations are not possible on these days and the crowds are, as you would expect, huge. Full pricing information is available here.
Heightened security, coupled with the recent decision to impose a ceiling on the number of visitors allowed to enter the Colosseum at a given time mean delays. Even with a ‘no queues’ ticket. It is now also compulsory to pass through a metal detector – these extra security delays do cause queues that are, unfortunately, affecting ALL ticket holders, so you are currently required to arrive 90 minues ahead of your visit time. More information can be found here.
There are many options for guided tours, from group tours to individual as well as night tours. Prices do vary and obviously the more that is included in the tour, the more expensive it is. Although you will have the benefit of a knowlegeable guide and you’ll probably have access to areas (even on the less expensoive tours), that the general visitor won’t be able to access. Evening/night tours, after the crowds have left, are a spectacular way of experiencing The Colosseum but prices do vary so best to do your research first. (Some websites lure you in with “Tickets from €3.00…” – a closer look and you find out that this is the price for tickets for babies!) There’s no lack of online booking websites, so I guess it will come down to your personal preference.
CHOOSE YOUR TIME TO VISIT WISELY
Visit either first thing or later in the day as it’s usually less crowded then, compared to busy mid-morning/early afternoon hours. From the last Sunday in March until 31st August, The Colosseum is open until 7.15pm. The ticket office closes one hour before the Colosseum itself closes, so be there ahead of time if you are visiting late in the day. The Colosseum also closes early on Easter Friday (about 2 PM) and closes in the morning of the Festa della Repubblica (2nd June). Opening and closing times are as follows:
Generally from 8:30am to one hour before sunset, the exceptions being Good Friday 8:30am – 2pm and June 2nd when it is open from 1:30pm – 7:15 pm. The site is closed on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th
8:30am – 4:30pm from January 2 to February 15
8:30am – 5:00pm from February 16 to March 15
8:30am – 5:30pm from March 16 to last Saturday of March
8:30am – 7:15pm from last Sunday of March to August 31
8:30am – 7:00pm from September 1 to September 30
8:30am – 6:30pm from October 1 to last sunday of October
8:30am – 4:30pm from the last sunday of October to December 31
- Make sure your phone/camera is fully charged – there is just so much to see and take in, that you do really need to photograph it for posterity. There’s nothing worse than running out of charge!
- Take plenty of water – it is HOT, especially in the summer months and even the quickest scoot around, will take you a good couple of hours. Once inside, you can’t purchase water.
- Don’t forget your suncream. You will burn!
- Avoid the gladiators outside – photo opps will cost you money!
It’s an amazing experience. We’ve been a few times and I can honestly say that we will never tire of visiting. It’s one of those places that oozes history and atmosphere and you do really get goosebumps, imagining what used to happen there – and it’s definitely one of those places you will never forget…