A Short Introduction
There are different kind of tickets of the Colosseum.
If you just want a ticket that gives you a pass for the archeological area of the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and Colosseum (with access to the first and second level only) the cost is 14 euros for adults and 9.5 euros for children if you buy online. You can visit the aforementioned area by yourself or book a tour guide through one of the many tour companies operating in Rome.
Quite often the tour guides working for private tour companies are more competent and professional than the guides working for the Colosseum administration, but the cost of a tour could range between 60 and 120 euros per person, depending on the length of the tour, company, group size, inclusions, exclusions, and so forth and so on.
If you seek access to the Colosseum Underground you have different options. You can either buy a guided tour with a private tour company — check our dedicated page to compare some of the best Colosseum Underground Tours — or you can buy the tickets directly on the website of Colosseum administration. Keep reading to learn more in detail about the kind of Colosseum tickets available, and how to visit the underground area, the arena and the Colosseum Belvedere (three highest levels.)
Read carefully, as things are not as easy as they appear at first sight. This is Italy.
colosseum Entrance Fees
Some areas are free to walk through, some are not - and you need a different kind of ticket and reservation to enter. So it is good to know what you want to do, or at least to have a vague idea. You would need one or another ticket to visit different areas.
The standard Colosseum ticket gives you access to the Colosseum (Flavian amphitheater), Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Its cost is € 12, plus € 2 booking fee when you buy online. The ticket is free if you are younger than 18 years old. You can have it at a discounted price if you are a EU citizen between 18 and 25 years of age (€ 7.50, plus € 2 online reservation fee).
On top of this base ticket there are other services that you can purchase to make your Colosseum experience more complete. In fact, the standard ticket gives you access to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill but you can only visit the first two rings of the Colosseum.
COLOSSEUM UNDERGROUND TICKETS
In the past few years, more areas of the Colosseum have been opened to the public: the underground area, the arena, and the Colosseum top tiers (3rd, 4th and 5th level).
If you want to visit the Colosseum Underground and the Colosseum Arena you need to purchase a special ticket, in addition to the Colosseum entry fee specified above (see previous paragraph.) You can purchase individual tickets here at a price of € 11 per person. So, if you don't qualify for discounts, you would pay a total of € 25, when you buy the ticket online.
Furthermore, you cannot visit the underground and arena by yourself. With this ticket, you will be placed into a group of maximum 25 people led by Coopculture guides. More often than not, they deliver standard tours with basic notions and little communication skills. In fact, the best tour guides work with tour operators that can pay them more.
NB: you cannot buy more than 6 Colosseum Underground tickets at the same time.
COLOSSEUM BELVEDERE TICKETS
Last year, a new exciting section of the Colosseum has been opened to the public after restoration: the Colosseum Belvedere (that is the top rings, 3rd, 4th and 5th level).
You have two options if you want to visit the Colosseum Belvedere. Both reservation options entail a visit of the associated areas with a guide of Coopculture in a group of maximum 25 people. So, these are your options to explore the top levels of the Colosseum.
- Purchase dedicated tickets for just the top 3 rings (hey, always in addition to the Colosseum entrance fees, mentioned in the above paragraph "Colosseum Tickets", to be bought separately). Each customer can reserve maximum 6 products per transaction and cost is € 11 (plus Colosseum entrance fees, as said, when you buy online.) So the total cost would be € 25 per person.
- The second option is to buy individual tickets for Colosseum Underground and Belvedere, here. The cost is € 17 per person, plus Colosseum entrance fees to be bought separately, for a total of € 31 per person. You will be in a group of 25 led Coopculture guides.
If you want to visit the Domus Aurea, you need a separate tickets
Domus Aurea (Nero's Palace)
Located (well, actually, buried) just a couple of minutes from the Colosseum on foot, the Domus Aurea (Nero's Golden Palace) has been only recently reopened to the public. It is really worth visiting and most Rome visitors actually agree that an underground tour of Nero's Palace is even more beautiful than Colosseum underground tours.
In any case, while the Domus Aurea is part of the archaeological area of the Colosseum, you need, guess what, a separate ticket to get in. The ticket cost is € 16 per person, including online reservation fees. However, you won't be allowed to visit Nero's Palace just by yourself. The ticket gives you right to join a max-25-people group tour led by an archaeologist or guide of Coopculture.
The tour is about 1.5 hour long and it includes a high-quality 3D experience inside the Golden Vault Room. The Domus Aurea is certainly is one of the most inspiring underground tours of Rome.
Tours of The Colosseum
While visiting the Colosseum archaeological area by yourself is possible - maybe with the help of a guidebook or an audioguide - it is also true that when it comes to the Colosseum and the related sites, we are talking about one of the largest and most ancient excavation sites in the world; an archaeological area that comprises layers upon layers of Roman history.
You could spend days or even years to see and learn everything.
Most people know there is much to see in Rome, and especially in the ancient city. But very few actually imagine how much there is to see, learn, explore and enjoy; and when visitors arrive to Rome, the first feeling is often to feel stunned and overwhelmed. Confused, also. Confused about how it works with the ticket, reservations, tours and whatnot.
Private tour operators have developed hundreds of itineraries and tours of the Colosseum in the past years. What is good about guided tours of the Colosseum is that:
- you usually have a better guide (tour operators pay their tour guides more;)
- you usually don't have to go through the hassle of understanding what ticket you need to go here or there, how and when to pick it up and so on. The best tour operators in Rome have ticket service included in the tour costs. So you don't have to worry about anything, except enjoying Rome.
The downside, of course, is that purchasing a tour (versus individual ticket) is usually more expensive. How much more expensive, depends on many other things: Group size, brand, length of the tour, inclusions/exclusions, quality of the guide.
COLOSSEUM UNDERGROUND TOURS
Colosseum underground tours are amongst the most popular Colosseum tours on the market. Visitors have the chance to descend into the subterranean tunnels of the Colosseum where beasts and gladiators would wait for their turn on the fighting stage.
The Colosseum underground tour also includes also a walk on the arena where the actual fight would take place.
The number of people allowed in the restricted areas is now limited to 25 per time slot.
Time slots are also limited, expensive and quite difficult to secure for both individual travellers, guides and tour operators. This competition brought to an increase in the average price of tours of the Colosseum underground. This does not mean that the a tour of the Colosseum underground is not worth the price. On the contrary. Just, whether you purchase and individual ticket or you book a tour with a tour operator, it is not so easy to make a reservation.
At the moment - but the procedure is always subject to change, like in the best tradition of Italian bureaucracy - Coopculture releases Colosseum underground tickets on the third week of each month for the following month. So on the third Monday of May, tickets are made available for June, and so forth and so on. So, be aware that, whether you buy individual tickets or a Colosseum tour with a tour company, you might need to wait until the third week of the month before tour date, to be 100% sure to have your spot secured.
No tour company can guarantee otherwise, because the tickets are released one month at the time, on the third week of the month prior to the tour date. Tour operators still sell tours in advance because they usually are able to secure their reservation. Only at times, they can't. In which case, they ask visitors to move on different tour dates or time slots.