Are you wondering what the Colosseum hours of operation are and if they change during the year? the timetable varies considerably during the year and it’s possible to have different start and closing times if you’ve booked night tours, early opening tours, and other private tours. And because 7 million people visit the Colosseum each year, here’s everything you need to know and the Colosseum’s hours of operation.
- Quick Read: The 3 Best Colosseum Tickets and Guided Tours
- Check before you go
- Month-by-month opening hours to visit the Colosseum
- Just the ticket
- Where to queue
- Restricted entry: The Hypogeum and the top tiers
- Maximum capacity (Capacitus Maximus?)
- Best time of the year
- Best day of the week
- Best time of day
- Colosseum Hours of Opening & Closing -FAQ
Quick Read: The 3 Best Colosseum Tickets and Guided Tours
7 million people visit the Colosseum every year. Buy your tickets online and don’t spend hours waiting in line to reach the front of the queue for the ticket office.
Why? The night tours of the Colosseum are full of atmosphere, especially if you’re lucky enough to go on a full-moon night. There are major underground parts of the Colosseum you can only see at night and it’s a special experience.
This is the best Colosseum Guided Tour – it gives you the history, and ‘wow’ factor of being able to see all of the aspects of the Colosseum. It’s the full Colosseum experience, and if you’re only going to go once in your life – this is the tour you want!
The only downside of the night tour is that it’s a standalone experience. The combined ticket lets you visit the Colosseum at your chosen time, then wander over to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill after lunch, at sunset, or whenever it’s convenient for you.
The tours are exceptionally well-reviewed, especially the optional Colosseum tour by an archaeologist.
Check before you go
It may come as a surprise to know there can be almost three hours of difference in the closing times between winter and summer.
It’s also important to check if all parts of the Colosseum will be open when you plan to go – because some parts are only possible to visit during certain periods.
Read on to find out more specific details about the opening hours at various times of the year.
Month-by-month opening hours to visit the Colosseum
The opening hours vary according to the month/season of the year. Here are all the current details, correct for 2023.
Visit the Colosseum: 2 Jan to 15 Feb: 08:30 – 16:30 – last admission at 15:30
⌚ In the winter months, the timetable is at its most restrictive. The earliest admission time is constant throughout the year at 8:30 but afternoon visitors will not be admitted after 3:30 pm.
Visit the Colosseum: 16 Feb to 15 March: 08:30 – 17:00 – last admission at 16:00
⌚ As winter begins to turn to spring, the timetable expands slightly, with the Colosseum closing at 5 pm and the final admission coming at 4 pm.
Visit the Colosseum: 16 March to last Saturday of March: 08:30 – 17:30 – last admission at 16:30
⌚ This trend continues in the second half of March, with the Colosseum opening an extra half an hour.
Visit the Colosseum: Last Sunday of March to 31 August: 08:30 – 19:15 – last admission at 18:15
⌚ From the last Sunday through to the end of August, opening hours are at their longest, with visitors admitted until 6:15 pm and the Colosseum being open until 19:15.
Visit the Colosseum: 1 – 30 Sept: 08:30 to 19:00 – last admission at 18:00
⌚ As the summer comes to a close and the evenings draw in, the closing time is brought forward fifteen minutes.
Visit the Colosseum: 1 Oct to 31 Dec: 08:30 – 16:30 – last admission at 15:30
⌚ From the first of October, visiting hours are reduced to the same schedule as they are for January.
While you can see that there is a fair bit of variation during the year, there are thankfully few festivities which will affect your visit.
The Colosseum is closed on May 1, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, but opens for other festivities, including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, when the normal winter timetable is in force.
The only other day to keep an eye out for is June 2, Italy’s National Day, when opening hours are delayed until 1:30 pm.
Just the ticket
Another thing to remember if you are planning to rock up without a ticket: the Colosseum ticket offices shut one hour before the Colosseum itself closes!
That means that if you haven’t booked a Colosseum ticket online, you need to arrive in plenty of time to get a ticket.
Lines are not necessarily long but can be unpredictable, and no one wants to be left looking forlornly at the amphitheater, 55 minutes before closing time, with no way of getting in.
Similarly, if you have booked a ticket online, bear in mind that the last entry is always an hour before closing time, so don’t confuse the two.
If you miss that deadline, you won’t be allowed in even if you have your ticket ready and waiting.
Finally, remember that you will have to line up with the other ticket holders and go through security, and that last entry gives you just 60 minutes inside, which is the bare minimum that you will want.
My advice is, if you are planning on a late afternoon visit, try to get there 90 minutes before so things don’t feel so frantic.
Where to queue
There are actually three entrances to the Colosseum, and what kind of ticket you have will determine where you have to go:
🏛️ Visitors with single Colosseum tickets (so not combined tickets for the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill), but including guided tours and skip-the-line access, should go to the Individual Visitors Gate.
🏛️ At the Individual Visitors Gate, there are two lines. One is for “skip the line” tickets – look out for “Visitors with Reservations” and the other is for all other ticket types.
🏛️ Groups of visitors with a professional guide go to the Group Gate.
🏛️ The Stern Gate is only for guests accompanied by an accredited tour guide.
Restricted entry: The Hypogeum and the top tiers
The opening hours listed above go for the entire Colosseum except for the Hypogeum – the Colosseum underground area – and the top tiers of the Colosseum.
The Hypogeum is a fascinating network of tunnels under the Colosseum arena – the backstage to the arena’s performance area!
Here you can picture gladiators girding their loins before battle or licking their wounds afterward or baying animals pacing back and forth in cages.
A remarkably innovative elevator system was used to transport all participants – human or animal – to the arena floor.
The area available to tour was actually expanded in 2021 – and is a must-see if you are in town at the right time.
To see these parts of the Colosseum, you must book a guided tour. If what you read below sounds appealing, make sure you book a tour as far in advance as possible, because places are limited.
The Top Tiers
The top tiers of the Colosseum are also accessible at certain times of the year and are accessible via several flights of steps.
There are no ramps available so please note this is not an option for visitors with mobility issues.
At the top of the steps, amazing views both outside Rome and inside the Colosseum itself open out before you, and it really helps to give you an idea of the venue’s scale.
At the time of writing, the third tier is not open, but the second tier is.
Maximum capacity (Capacitus Maximus?)
Back in Ancient Rome, health and safety measures were probably not high on the priority list in the Colosseum. These days, no more than 3000 visitors can be on-site at any one time.
That means that, at the busiest times, there can be some serious bottle-necking outside the entrance. Lines can grow suddenly, as a strict one-in, one-out policy is put into place.
This makes an even stronger argument for buying tickets in advance. At the busiest time of year, waiting times of 2-3 hours have been known.
Best time of the year
If you want to avoid the crowds, winter is without a doubt the quietest time.
Even though visiting hours are at their most restrictive, any time outside of the Christmas period will be a good bet, and autumn in Rome is relatively mild.
Best day of the week
Although Rome is a major tourist attraction, you will still notice a significant difference in visitor numbers between the week and the weekend.
Many tourists visit Rome for the weekend, so if you can avoid Saturdays and Sundays, you will avoid the worst days. That advice goes for long weekends too – so Fridays and Mondays are the busiest weekdays.
That leaves Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday as your best days. Perhaps best of all would be Wednesday morning – because many visitors to Rome will be over at Vatican City in St. Peter’s Square for the Papal audience.
Best time of day
Apart from Wednesday morning, mornings can actually be a rather busy time to visit. Some of the biggest Colosseum tours arrive in the morning.
If you do want to go in the morning, the best move is to check the Colosseum opening hours and get there first thing.
Alternatively, there can be a slight easing off in foot traffic from around noon.
Colosseum Hours of Opening & Closing -FAQ
What time does the Colosseum stop letting people in?
While the opening and closing hours vary by as much as 3 hours over the year, the last entrance is always 60 minutes before closing time. As you need to go through the security line, plan on arriving 90 minutes before closing to give yourself an hour to see the Colosseum.
Can you go into the Colosseum at night?
The Colosseum at night tours are standalone experiences that give you access to underground areas you can’t see during the day. You can’t enter at night without joining a tour. Be sure to join a ‘night’ rather than an ‘evening’ tour to get the whole wonderfully atmospheric experience!
Is the Colosseum open every day?
The Colosseum is open every day of the year except for May 1, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. The Colosseum doesn’t open until 1. 30 pm on June 2, Italy’s National Day.
What happens if you are late to the Colosseum?
The Colosseum ticket office shuts one hour before closing time and the last admission to the Colosseum is also one hour before closing. If you arrive less than an hour before closing time you won’t be allowed inside.
What is the best time of day to see the Colosseum?
Apart from Wednesday morning (which is the best time of all to see the Colosseum), if you plan to visit the Colosseum in the morning, you need to arrive as soon as it opens. After midday, the crowds begin to thin out a little. The most fun and least crowded time to see the Colosseum is at night.
Can you wear shorts in the Colosseum?
You can wear shorts and pretty much whatever else you like to the Colosseum. As it’s not a religious site, like the Roman Forum across the road, there is no dress code.