Colosseum
Rome
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Colosseum tickets and tours

Gladiators tended to be criminals, prisoners of war or slaves who were trained to fight in professional schools. As their fame increased, some men eve...

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Priority access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill with optional guided tour
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Priority access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill with optional guided tour

Book your entrance tickets for the most popular site in Rome: the Colosseum. Select the skip-the-line entrance option for an exclusive timed entry and speedy assisted access.

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Colosseum and Roman Forum small-group tour with a local guide
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Colosseum and Roman Forum small-group tour with a local guide

Book now for an unforgettable small-group experience to discover the Colosseum and Roman Forum with skip-the-line tickets and an expert guide!

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Hop-on hop-off walking tour of Rome

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Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill tour
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Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill tour

Book your experience the best of ancient Rome with skip-the-line tickets and an expert local guide to the Colosseum, Roman Form and Palatine Hill.

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OMNIA Vatican and Roma Pass 72 hours with transport

Visit Rome and its monuments without queuing with the OMNIA Vatican and Roma Pass and move around easily on Rome's public transport system. It will be three unforgettable days!

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Colosseum underground, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill tour
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Colosseum underground, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill tour

Book your Colosseum underground tour with Roman Forum and Palatine Hill and step back in time as you visit some of Rome's oldest attractions.

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Colosseum virtual reality experience with audio guide
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Colosseum virtual reality experience with audio guide

Release your passion for history and take part in a virtual reality experience of the Colosseum, supported by your audio guide.

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Ancient Rome tour with Catacombs and Appian Way
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Ancient Rome tour with Catacombs and Appian Way

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Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine tour with Vatican Museums upgrade
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Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine tour with Vatican Museums upgrade

Visit the Vatican and the Colosseum in this day tour of Rome. Discover the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica as well as the Roman forum.

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Private Colosseum tour, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
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Private Colosseum tour, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Get VIP treatment with your own Private Ancient Rome Tour as you skip all the lines and enjoy the privilege of customizing your own tour.

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Live Ancient Rome walking tour with virtual reality
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Live Ancient Rome walking tour with virtual reality

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Colosseum Arena and ancient city tour
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Colosseum Arena and ancient city tour

Get the chance to discover the Colosseum and ancient ruins of Rome with two top-rated guides who will tell you more about the places' history!

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The inside story

Gladiators tended to be criminals, prisoners of war or slaves who were trained to fight in professional schools. As their fame increased, some men even volunteered for the job. Trained gladiators would often fight unskilled criminals and slaves as a form of public execution, though winning a fight against a gladiator could earn a slave his freedom.

Archaeological remains show that gladiators were often overweight, perhaps in order to build a layer of protective fat. They tended to eat a vegetarian diet of fresh vegetables, dried fruit, barley and beans to grow strong bones that would heal quickly.

Gladiators would fight barefoot in pairs for around ten minutes while the audience chanted like modern football crowds. A common chant was "habet, hoc habet” (he’s had it!). A defeated gladiator would raise a finger (if he had any left) and might be pardoned by the games’ sponsor.

In 107AD, the emperor Trajan celebrated a victory with a show that included 5000 pairs of gladiators – the largest contest known to history.

Opening times

  • 8.30am-7.15pm – 30 March-31 August
  • 8.30am-7.00pm – 1-30 September
  • 8.30am-6.30pm – 1-30 October
  • 8.30am-4.30pm – 31 October-15 February
  • 8.30am-5.00pm – 16 February-15 March

Ticket office closes one hour before closing time

About the Colosseum

This massive 50,000-capacity amphitheatre was inaugurated in 80AD with games that lasted 100 days and cost the lives of over 5000 animals. Entrance was free back then, though ‘tickets’ written on pieces of pottery were handed out with seat numbers, presumably to control numbers. The poor, and women, sat on the upper tiers, while senators and equestrians had seats closer to the action (protected from flying weapons and body parts by a net).

Entertainments varied. Some featured animal on animal, others were people fighting animals, and others were people fighting people – usually gladiators, but sometimes slaves/prisoners.

Gladiators probably did not fight to the death because they were valuable and popular commodities, though death was naturally an occupational hazard.

Today, the vast Colosseum easily swallows the thousands who visit, though it’s advisable to buy tickets in advance if you want to skip lines. There’s little to actually ‘do’ once inside other than look at the spectacle, though you can maximise your visit by booking special tickets with privileged access to the hypogeum or the upper levels. It’s also advisable to arrange a local or audio guide if Roman history isn’t your subject.

Tickets to the Colosseum often include access to the Forum and Palatine Hill and can be valid for two days, so it makes sense to plan your time wisely. Arrive early for the busiest places and enjoy the Palatine Hill at your leisure in the afternoon when the tourist hordes are elsewhere. Even with advance skip-the-line tickets and German-level planning, you may still discover that organisation at these venues is not entirely like clockwork, so be flexible.

Address

Piazza del Colosseo, Rome

Getting there

  • By Metro
    • MEB, MEB1: Colosseo
    • 51, 75, 85, 87, 117,118, N2
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How to get there

Colosseum Piazza del Colosseo 1 Rome
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