How Long Do You Need At The Colosseum?

The Colosseum is a world-renowned landmark that receives millions of visitors annually from all over the world. It’s an engineering and architectural marvel that was a symbol of the Roman Empire’s power and status. If you want to be among the many visitors, it’s important to have a plan for your visit. One of the first things that you’ll want to find out is how long you need at the Colosseum. 

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The Colosseum in Rome, Italy

It largely depends on the type of visit that you want to experience, but a visit to the Colosseum will typically take between one and a half to four hours.

If you’re doing a basic visit on your own it will likely be on the shorter end of the estimate, but if you’re doing a detailed guided tour, it could easily be closer to four hours.

The Colosseum is a massive structure that is largely intact from its original construction and has a rich history that extends back to 80 AD. When planning your visit, consider that the site doesn’t just include the Colosseum, but also the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill which are typically included in combination tickets. The sites that you decide to see will largely impact how long you stay.

Palatine Hill

Standard Visit

1.5 to 2 Hours:

For a basic visit to the Colosseum, you should plan to spend about 1.5 to 2 hours. This will allow you to explore the main parts of the arena such as:

The Arena Floor: Where the gladiator combats and other spectacles occurred.

The Underground: See where the animals and gladiators were kept before entering the arena.

The Upper Levels: Enjoy panoramic views of Rome and the inside of the Colosseum.

With this amount of time, you can take your time and explore the Colosseum and get a true feel as to how large and amazing the structure is.

Extended Visit

3 to 4 Hours:

If you love history or archaeology or if you plan to visit during peak tourist season, then you can expect to spend between 3 and 4 hours at the Colosseum. This will allow you plenty of time to:

Take a Guided Tour: A guided tour provides much more detail and insights than you won’t get on a self-guided tour. 

Explore Exhibits: There are temporary exhibits about ancient Rome and the Colosseum’s history that may be accessible during your visit.

Photographs and Videos: Allowing for more time gives you more opportunities to capture the Colosseum with photos and videos and still be able to enjoy the Colosseum.

The Colosseum

Comprehensive Visit Including The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

Half Day (4 to 5 Hours)

For an extensive experience that not only includes the Colosseum but also the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, schedule 4 to 5 hours for your visit. These sites are conveniently located near each other and together provide a more complete picture of ancient Rome.

Roman Forum: Walk through the political, social, and religious center of ancient Rome. It’s here that you’ll find the Senate House, the Temple of Julius Caesar, and the massive Arch of Titus.

Palatine Hill: Explore the birthplace of Rome and the residences of emperors. The Farnese Gardens is a great spot for a break.


The Colosseum

Buy Tickets In Advance: To save time and avoid the long lines, it’s best to purchase your tickets online. We were happy that we already had our tickets when we visited because we were able to skip some very long lines and walk right in. 

Consider purchasing a combination ticket that includes the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.

Pick the Right Time to Visit: Going in either the early morning or later afternoon is the best. This way you’ll avoid the worst of the heat and the crowds.

Wear Comfy Shoes: The Colosseum and surrounding areas involve a lot of walking as well as uneven surfaces.

Bring Water and Snacks: In the summer especially, the heat can get to be quite intense and there is very little to no cover through the areas. There are water fountains inside the Colosseum so bring a water bottle.

Consider a Guided Tour: There are several options for guided tours. You can go with a simple audio tour or something more extensive, but either way is great to pick up interesting details and info about the sites.


The Colosseum is more than just an interesting place to visit. It’s an architectural and engineering marvel that has stood the test of time and is a remarkable symbol of Ancient Rome’s power. Whether you spend a couple of hours or a half day and include the surrounding sites, this will likely be the highlight of your trip to Rome. If you’re coming with your family, you’ll want to check out our essential guide to visiting the Colosseum with kids as well as our guide featuring nine other must-see monuments in Rome. Safe travels!


  • Jeremiah Pittmon

    Jeremiah Pittmon is a published travel writer and photographer from Cleveland, Ohio. Passionate about exploring the world with his family, he finds inspiration in all types of travel. Through his blog,, and social media channels, he shares captivating experiences and valuable tips for families who love to travel.

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How Long Do You Need At The Colosseum?
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