The Colosseum is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Rome and an important symbol of Rome’s Imperial times. Indeed, every day thousands of travelers visit the biggest amphitheater ever built. This means that lines can get quite long and waiting times are untenable. You were not planning to spend your precious time in Rome waiting in a line? We tell you how to do.
First of all, all Colosseum tickets come with a free entrance of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Both sites are definitely worth a visit and you should foresee around half a day to visit all three of them (also check out our blog post “the Imperial Rome in half a day”). Normally, the best way to avoid lines is booking your tickets online. Even though, this is probably a good option, a booking fee applies and I, thus, decided to buy my ticket on site for only 12€ (I heard that the price has risen to 14€ now, so don’t be surprised if you pay a bit more).
The site opens at 8.30 o’ clock in the morning and as this is the time with the least visitors, you should better be on time. When arriving at the Colosseum, don’t get confused by the men trying to sell you a fast track pass and just continue your way straight towards the attraction.
However, instead of heading to the Colosseum ticket counter, where hundreds of people are already waiting in line, you can get the exact same tickets at the ticket counter of Palatine Hill, just 3 minutes away. On a Saturday morning in October at 8:30, only some other visitors were waiting for the ticket counter to open. I bought the tickets for the three attractions right away and received a reservation for the 9:15 am slot in the Colosseum. This gave me just enough time to go back to the Colosseum, take some beautiful pictures from the outside and start to go in at around 9 am.
Just be aware that you cannot enter the Palatine Hill side right away as the ticket gives the right to only one entry per attraction and half an hour is definitely not enough to visit this place.
Back at the Colosseum, I took the “reserved tickets” entrance and to my full satisfaction I walked hundred of meters next to the huge line of visitors, passed security before everybody else and quickly found myself in the basement of the amphitheater.
Around one hundred meters behind the entrance, there is a small stall where you can rent an audioguide for 8€. I did not do so right away but regretted this choice when I came back half an hour later and saw the huge line of people in front of it. It might be interesting to have some additional explanations on the Colosseum while walking through this impressive building but I had to rely on my guidebook instead.
In order to discover what to see in the Colosseum and its surroundings, also read our article The Imperial Rome in half a day.