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Rome's Colosseum Moves to a Timed Ticket System: We Tested It

Seeing the Colosseum in Rome just got easier. And more complicated.

In spring of 2019, CoopCulture, the entity that manages visitor access to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill and other archaeological sites in Rome, introduced a new timed ticket system that appears to be working relatively smoothly. 

Prior to the timed system, advance planners could buy their skip-the-line entry tickets on the COOP Culture website and enter the Colosseum whenever they wished to do so, but that resulted in crowd surges at some times of the day.

Now advance tickets include timed entry, meaning buyers must schedule a slot and purchase in advance (still on the CoopCulture website). That also means travelers need to plan even further ahead in order to snag their desired day and hour. 
The good news? On a recent visit to the Colosseum, we saw timed ticket holders sailing through the entry point. They still have to go through a security check, but there’s much less of a bottleneck than there used to be—except for those poor wretches who didn’t plan ahead. They were waiting in a long, long line to obtain a timed ticket for later the same day.

A guard told us that if you show up at the Colosseum without a timed ticket, make sure to get there by 9 am if you want to have any hope of getting in within a reasonable amount of time.

Those who arrive too late risk not getting in at all—only 3,000 people are allowed into the Colosseum at a time, meaning a limited number of same-day tickets are available, especially in high season. 

In other news from the ancient world, on Nov. 1, COOP Culture raised prices for its combined ticket to the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, from €12 to €16, plus a €2 service charge for those all-important online purchases. In addition, the combined ticket, which used to be good for two calendar days, is now good for just 24 hours.

The upshot of all this is that now with scheduled entry to the Colosseum, tourists waste less time in line so they can see other sites on the same day.

Our advice: Choose an early morning or late afternoon time slot for the Colosseum and spend the rest of the day exploring the Palatine and the Forum.