How to skip the lines at the Colosseum – 2022

In a hurry? Left it too late? Don’t panic:

Last-minute Colosseum tickets >

Colosseum tickets – need-to-knows

The first thing to know is that the ticket for the Colosseum also gets you into the Forum and the Palatine Hill, and vice versa.

Secondly, the Palatine and the Forum are in the same complex, and you access them through the same entrance (more on that later), while the Colosseum has to be entered via a separate entrance: a huge door in the base of the massive stadium.

The difference between Colosseum, Forum, and Palatine Hill >

How to skip the line at the Colosseum

Here are your options for skipping the line at the Colosseum:

1. Buy a Colosseum entrance ticket from a reseller

Buy a Colosseum skip-the-line entrance ticket for €24 from a reseller. The ticket will also get you in to the Forum and Palatine Hill. We recommend this because the official site is experiencing a ‘ticket drought’ (see below).

2. Use a Discount / Tourist Card

Buy a discount card such as the Roma Pass or downloadable Rome Tourist Card. All of these solutions allow you to walk past the lines.

Insider tip: the Roma Pass does not include anywhere inside the Vatican because the Vatican is a separate country to Italy. However the Rome Tourist Card does include the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine, an audio guide to the Pantheon, a guided tour of St Peter’s Basilica, and entry to the Vatican, so is better value.

[Note too that both the Roma Pass and Omnia Card require you to book a Colosseum time-slot too for €2. Even if you have your card in your hand this must be done on the “standard ticket” page of the official website. If you can find an available time-slot, you have to go through the motions of buying a full-price ticket, and in the options you will find the page that allows you to pay €2 just for an entrance time. Whereas with the Rome Tourist Card you can decide the time and date of your visit at the time of purchase.]

See all available Rome discount cards >

3. Book a small-group guided tour

Book a small-group guided tour of the Colosseum and Forum with access to the arena and Colosseum ‘hypogeum’ beneath the floor. Having a guide is the best way to bring the monument alive, helping to recreate the sights, sounds, and stories of gladiatorial combat and wild animals as you gaze at the vast structure. 

Also the guide will take you to the Forum; a guide for this is recommended as it is very large and the ruins are unmarked, so it’s better to visit with an informed source of information.

4. Book a private guided tour

If you’d prefer, you can book a VIP guided tour with Arena Access. Though somewhat more expensive than a small-group guided tour, you benefit from one-on-one interaction with your guide to ask as many questions as you please, and you get the chance to stand on that famous arena floor.

5. Buy tickets from the official Colosseum website

The cheapest and easiest method should be to go direct to the official Colosseum website and buy a basic entrance ticket for the Colosseum and Forum/Palatine there. However there is very restricted availability: as noted in the key info on this page, there’s a “ticket drought” from the official ticketing website. Tickets are released for sale in small batches, on an irregular schedule, so it’s often impossible to find tickets for the day/time you want. This is why we recommend paying slightly more to buy from a reseller, to guarantee you get the date that you need. These companies buy tickets in advance in the hope of reselling them, so are more likely to have the dates you are looking for.

How Colosseum tickets work

Whichever way you buy the ticket you’ll be emailed a PDF voucher, and then you will need to print it out. This voucher needs to be converted into a ticket at the first site you visit.

For the Colosseum this can be done at any of the ticket-holders-only booths just inside the Colosseum door. However during peak months of the year there are temporary booths on the other side of the street from the Metro station that will do this too. If you are entering the Forum/Palatine complex first, you do this at the main Forum ticket booth, indicated on the map. Note that the lines here are usually much shorter.

Note that the Colosseum operates a strict capacity control of 3,000 people at any one time, which during peak times can affect your waiting time even if you have a ticket.

Insider tip: if you haven’t been able to buy a Colosseum ticket in advance, we recommend making your way to the ticket office at the Forum entrance (marked on the map above: down the lane opposite the end of Via Cavour) where the lines are much less brutal, and you can buy a combined ticket there without so much waiting in line.

Check availability

Colosseum key info

Colosseum opening hours 2020:
Jan 2 – Feb 15: 8.30am – 3.30pm
Feb 16 – Mar 15: 8.30am – 5.00pm
Mar 16 – Mar 28: 8.30am – 5.30pm
Mar 29 – Aug 31: 8.30am – 7.15pm
Sep 1 – Sep 30: 8.30am – 7.00pm
Oct 1 – Oct 31: 8.30am – 6.30pm
Nov 1 – Dec 31: 8.30am – 4.30pm
(last admission always 1 hour before close)
Only closed Christmas day and New Year’s Day

Nearest metro station:
Colosseo (Line B)

Map of the entrances and exits to the Colosseum, Forum, and Palatine hill in Rome from Rome Vacation Tips.Click to enlarge or download

Important note: the authorities that run the Colosseum have recently changed the ticketing rules and it has become increasingly difficult to find a ticket for the date you want on the official website (below). However you may still find tickets for the date you want via a last-minute ticket reseller system.

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Photo credit: AFP

Tickets in advance!

Because of Covid-19 precautions, it is strongly advised that you
buy tickets in advance to visit attractions in Rome.

Buy your tickets now to avoid disappointment.