As an enduring monument to sport and spectacle, the UNESCO-listed Colosseum (il Colosseo) is a must-see in Rome. But is it worth visiting the Colosseum at night?
Walking around an illuminated Colosseum without the daytime crowds can be a magical experience. However, you can only enter the Colosseum at night on a pricey guided tour and you won’t be able to visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
In this article, I weigh up these pros and cons, identify the best Colosseum night tour and explore the alternatives.
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Pros and Cons of Visiting the Colosseum at Night
Is it better to see the Colosseum during the day or at night?
A night visit to the Colosseum isn’t for everyone. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages.
Why You Should Visit the Colosseum at Night
1. Ambience and Atmosphere
The Colosseum is beautifully illuminated at night, creating a sense of drama and just a little sprinkling of magic.
2. Fewer Crowds
For me, this is the biggest advantage of visiting the Colosseum at night.
This is one of Rome’s biggest attractions and is usually very busy during the day. I cannot overstate how challenging it is to transport yourself back to Ancient Rome when you are bumping elbows with other travellers.
With fewer people at night, it’s a more intimate experience.
3. Added value of a guided tour
You can only visit the Colosseum at night on a guided tour but this brings its own benefits.
A good guide can provide insights, stories and information that you might not get from a self-guided visit.
Some tours may offer access to areas of the Colosseum that are not open to the general public, such as the arena floor and underground chambers.
4. Avoid the heat of a Roman summer
Trust me; daytime temperatures in Rome can be brutal and far from ideal for sightseeing. If you are visiting the Eternal City in summer, exploring the Colosseum at night is a more comfortable option. It may still be toasty but at least you’ll be out of the glare of the sun.
The Cons of a Night Visit to the Colosseum
1. Reduced Visibility
Yes; the lighting enhances the aesthetics, but it also reduces visibility in some areas. If you are eager to examine the finer details of the monument’s architecture and surroundings you may be disappointed.
2. It’s tricky to take decent photos
There’s a very good reason why there aren’t many photos of the Colosseum by night in this article. Unless you have a steady hand, it’s tricky to capture decent images.
3. You don’t get to visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
This may be important if you are visiting Rome for the first time.
By day, your ticket for the Colosseum includes entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Most daytime Colosseum tours also include these Ancient Roman sites.
The bottom line is that if you want to book an evening Colosseum tour and visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill you will need to buy a separate ticket and visit them at another time.
4. It’s an expensive way of seeing the Colosseum
Night tours of the Colosseum come at a premium and may not be doable if you are travelling on a budget.
5. You have to take a guided tour
Let’s face it; a guided tour isn’t for everyone. If you like to explore archaeological sites at your own pace, a Colosseum night tour may not be ideal.
6. You won’t be able to access the upper levels of the Colosseum
Although your tour may grant you access to the arena floor and underground, the upper levels of the Colosseum aren’t open at night.
Colosseum by Night with Underground & Arena Floor Tour
If a Colosseum Night Tour Isn’t for You
If you decide to visit the Colosseum during the day, I recommend one of two options.
1. Self-guided visit – You can buy a general admission ticket here. This includes admission to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
2. Join a guided tour – this is my preferred option. In my experience, a tour gives you more bang for your buck. Visiting the Colosseum isn’t cheap and the tour may not cost that much more than your entrance ticket.
If this option floats your boat, take a look at my favourite Rome Colosseum tours.
Whether you decide if visiting the Colosseum at night is worth it or not, have an unforgettable time in one of the world’s must-see sights.