The Colosseum has been a symbol of Rome since 80 AD, and today it’s a top monument in Italy. Some 50,000 spectators once gathered in the amphitheater’s tiered seats to watch gladiatorial games, and though parts of its original marble facade were pilfered over the years to build the likes of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum remains remarkably intact 2,000 years later.
As the second most popular attraction in Italy after only the Vatican, the Colosseum hosts some 4 million annual visitors, meaning that long lines are nearly inevitable without a skip-the-line tour. Choose from a number of tours suited to any age or interest, such as a Colosseum underground tour that heads beneath the arena floor to explore a network of passages; a small-group guided tour of the third tier; or a night tour that offers an eery experience and relief from the daytime heat. Consider group tours, self-guided audio tours, or private tours to gain an understanding of this well-preserved ancient Roman amphitheater and its historical importance.
Things to Know Before You Go
- It's best to purchase Colosseum tickets in advance to avoid long entry lines.
- The Colosseum is well-suited for families with kids.
- This is an open-air amphitheater, so bring a hat and sunscreen and wear comfortable shoes and attire.
- You may also see the Colosseum referred to as the Flavian Amphitheatre or the Coliseum.
How to Get to the Colosseum
Alongside the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, the Colosseum is in the center of Rome, just across the street from the Colosseo station on Line B of the city's underground metro system, which also stops at the main Termini train station.
When to Get There
Since the Colosseum is most crowded during the middle of the day, begin or end your Rome tour with a visit first thing in the morning or just before last entry (which is an hour before closing time) in the late afternoon. Alternatively, choose a night tour for a unique, less crowded experience. Summer is the most popular time of year to visit, while the site receives fewer crowds in November through February, aside from the Christmas and New Year holidays.
The Colosseum in Numbers
The Colosseum is the world's largest amphitheater, has 76 entrances, and measures 615 feet (189 meters) long by 510 feet (156 meters) wide. The total area of the stadium covers six acres (24,000 square meters), and its highest tier reaches 157 feet (48 meters). It was built in under 10 years and was used for games and hunting for over four centuries.