How to Buy Tickets for the Colosseum and the Vatican

The Colosseum and the Roman Forum were the epicenter of Ancient Rome. The Vatican, with its Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica are the greatest works of art in the city. Both places are essential in Rome. I tell you how to take advantage of them by making a combined visit.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

12 min read

How to Buy Tickets for the Colosseum and the Vatican

View of the Vatican | © Mathew Schwartz

To the question "what can't I miss in Rome?" The answer is indeed "the Colosseum and the Vatican". No trip to Rome is complete without a stop at these two emblematic points of the city.

Both the Colosseum in Rome and the Vatican Museums receive thousands and thousands of visitors every day so, in both places, you have to get in with a ticket. If you don't want to spend hours in line or run the risk of not getting in, it is advisable to book in advance. That's why I recommend you to buy this combined ticket for the Colosseum and the Vatican online and in advance. This way you can fully dedicate yourself to enjoying the magic and history that beautiful Rome has to offer.

Prices for combined tickets to the Colosseum and the Vatican

Detail of the Colosseum| ©Unsplash
Detail of the Colosseum| ©Unsplash

You can choose to buy tickets to the Colosseum and Roman Forum + Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. This pack of tickets will allow you to enjoy the most emblematic monuments of the Italian capital such as the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum.

You will have all the tickets included and you will be able to use them for 3 days, for an estimated price of 82 euros. I recommend this option if you want to freely tour the city and its attractions, dedicating the time you want to each one.

It is best to book this option in advance and online to be able to compare schedules and availability and above all, not to end up paying the price of the tickets separately after long queues at both ticket offices. You can always book a guided tour of the Vatican and a guided tour of the Colosseum separately, but doing it in combination will save you time and money.

Book a guided tour of the Colosseum

How to buy tickets for the Colosseum and the Vatican on your own

Vatican Dome| ©Javier Martinez
Vatican Dome| ©Javier Martinez

For both the Colosseum and the Vatican you can buy your tickets online on their respective websites, as well as on different tourism and culture portals.

For its part, the Colosseum also has physical ticket offices where you can buy tickets directly, although you can find endless queues and waits. For the Vatican, on the other hand, you can only buy in person, the tickets that give access to the dome of St. Peter's Basilica.

Definitely the best option if you do not want to miss these jewels of Roman history, is to purchase your tickets in advance online. This way you don't have to think and speculate with time and money.

Buy skip the line tickets to the Colosseum

How to get discounted tickets to the Colosseum and the Vatican

Outside the Colosseum| ©Palumbos
Outside the Colosseum| ©Palumbos

The following people are eligible for discounts:

  • Accredited Italian teachers
  • Teachers specializing in Art History accompanying a group can get free or reduced price admission
  • Disabled persons and their accompanying members of the social or health services
  • Official guides and tourist interpreters from the EU, provided that they access the museum in the exercise of their professional activity.
  • Art History teachers and accredited secondary school teachers.
  • Teachers and students of Architecture, Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Educational Sciences and Literature or literary subjects with archaeological or historical-artistic direction.
  • Children under 18 years of age, accompanied by an adult, can access reduced prices.

In addition to these benefits for those who meet the above requirements, the Coliseum opens its doors free of charge on the first Sunday of each month. Of course, the queues are usually endless, so if you decide on this option, I recommend you to get up early and fill yourself with a lot of patience.

Buy skip the line tickets for the Vatican

What is included in the combined ticket to the Colosseum and the Vatican?

St. Peter's Basilica| ©Unsplash
St. Peter's Basilica| ©Unsplash

Tickets to the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

The Colosseum ticket is a complete ticket that also includes a visit to the Roman Forum, the huge esplanade with the archaeological remains that was once the epicenter of the social life of the city, and to the Palatine Hill, the most central of the seven hills of Rome and one of the oldest points of the city. These three points are very close to each other and are included in the tour.

Tickets to Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica

When we talk about tickets to the Vatican we are actually referring to the entrance to the Vatican Museums, one of the largest art collections in Europe. The area in which the Vatican City is located has basically two points of interest: the Museums and St. Peter's Basilica, whose entrance is free of charge. The joint tour of the Vatican and the Colosseum also includes a visit to the Basilica.

Book skip-the-line tickets for the Colosseum

Does it pay to buy a combined ticket?

Sistine Chapel| ©Unsplash
Sistine Chapel| ©Unsplash

Yes, if you had to buy both tickets separately, you would end up spending more time and more money. Here is a summary of the main advantages of a combined ticket:

  • Save hours of waiting (yes, hours, plural) that form at both sites since by booking tickets in advance you access both points immediately and in perfect order.
  • Better organization. Particularly I always like to leave room for improvisation when I travel and let myself get carried away by the city in question. However, there are always places that you have to see and the fact that they are so mythical makes them full of tourists and visiting them sometimes involves added stress (you have to calculate the times, how to get there, schedules, waiting ...) that can even tarnish the experience of the visit.
  • You save on both tickets: By buying the offer with the pack of these must-sees of Rome you will spend less money than if you buy them separately. Check it out and let me know!

Buy skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican

Another option: take a guided tour of the Colosseum and the Vatican

Old paper entrance to the Colosseum| ©Unsplash
Old paper entrance to the Colosseum| ©Unsplash

The good thing about buying this guided tour with tickets included for the Colosseum and the Vatican is that the organization you have to take care of will be minimal; you just have to be at the meeting point at the agreed time and follow the guide through the headphones you will be provided with. Even so, I am going to explain several things you should know:

The meeting point

The meeting point may vary depending on the time of the year, but it will be a central location such as Piazza del Risorgimento so you will have no problem getting there either on foot if you are staying in the center of Rome (the city is generally quite accessible for walking) or by public transport. In any case, once you book the tour you can ask how to get to the site and they will tell you without any problems.

Ticket dates

When booking tickets for the Colosseum and the Vatican on the joint tour you must book them for a specific day. If you have any unforeseen circumstances, please cancel 24 hours in advance for a full refund. The organizers of the tour will be in charge of scheduling the times to visit each of the points of the tour. Of course, the departure time will be early, so expect to get up early.

Duration of the visit

The duration of the visit will be about nine hours in total for both places. Of those nine hours, 2 to 3 hours will be dedicated to the Colosseum and the same to the Vatican Museums. I'm not going to lie to you: it's going to be an intense day, but in my opinion it's more worth it than doing the Colosseum on one side and the Vatican on the other.


This tour includes a headset with audio available in several languages: Spanish, English, French, German and Portuguese.

Food information

Food is not included so, although you will be given a lunch break, I recommend that you take some snacks in your backpack and a couple of drinks, so you can kill your hunger if you need to. Although you will find several food stalls and restaurants in both areas. These are the best places to eat near the Vatican and these are the best places to eat near the Colosseum.

Visit the Colosseum and Vatican with kids

If you plan to do this tour with children, keep in mind that they can end up very tired... If they are interested in art there will be no problem because they will have a lot of things to see, but if they are too young better choose another option for your visit to the Colosseum and the Vatican. If you are interested, you can read these tips for visiting the Colosseum with children.

About the Colosseum

Roman Colosseum| ©Unsplash
Roman Colosseum| ©Unsplash

The Colosseum is the past of Rome, a Rome of greatness, emperors and gladiators, but also a Rome of the people because it was precisely in this amphitheater where the Roman population gathered to attend the famous gladiator fights and wild animal fights. Something you should definitely see if you go to Rome.

Details of interest

  • It is the most visited monument in Italy.
  • It was built around 72 BC by Emperor Vespasian, who was a professional soldier who later became emperor.
  • That, in case you were wondering, it owes its name to the statue "Colossus of Nero" in front of the amphitheater.
  • Although now only 3,000 people can access it, its bleachers had a capacity for 55,000 spectators. If it were a soccer stadium, its capacity would place it in fifth place among the largest in Italy.

About the Vatican

Colonnade of St. Peter's Square| ©Unsplash
Colonnade of St. Peter's Square| ©Unsplash

The Vatican, for its part, exudes magnificence and ostentation; it is a present marked by the power of religion. The Catholic Church is headquartered in the city of Rome (specifically in Vatican City, which is considered a separate state) and it is inevitable to gawk at the richness of it.

You cannot miss St. Peter's Basilica, its dome, St. Peter's Square and the Vatican Museums, where you will find the wonderful Sistine Chapel. I will also tell you what you have to see in the Vatican Museums to make the most of your visit:

Details of interest

  • All the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel (highlighting 'The Creation of Adam' or 'The Last Judgment') by artists such as Michelangelo and Botticelli.
  • You cannot miss paintings by Raphael such as 'The Transfiguration' (his last painting), 'The expulsion of Heliodorus from the temple', 'Parnassus' or 'The school of Athens'.
  • Its museums house well-known sculptures such as 'Laooconte and his sons' or the 'Apollo of the Belvedere'.
  • In St. Peter's Basilica you will find the famous "Pietà" by Michelangelo.
  • The view from the top of the dome, open to the public, is probably one of the best in Rome.

Practical tips for your visit to the Colosseum and the Vatican

St. Peter's Square prepared for a religious celebration| ©Unsplash
St. Peter's Square prepared for a religious celebration| ©Unsplash

How to dress

If you go in summer, Rome is very hot. Specifically, in the Roman Forum temperatures are high and there is no shade, so you will need to bring water, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.

In the Colosseum there are parts that are in the shade, but there is also more sun. You will think: great, I'll wear the coolest clothes I have for the day of the visit. Wrong! A tip for visiting the Vatican: you will not be allowed to enter with bare shoulders or with clothes that are too short. You will have to carry a scarf in your backpack and wear it over your shoulders to enter St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums.

An essential tip for visiting the Colosseum and the Roman Forum: wear comfortable shoes, otherwise the nine-hour tour can be very long. Although it may seem obvious, do not wear brand new shoes.

Do not take a large backpack or luggage, as you will not be allowed to pass with these items at any of the sites.

Do not get separated from the group

Keep track of time during the tour. They will wait for you if you are a little late, but that means not only that you will delay the whole group, but also that at the next tourist attraction you see you will have less time and you will have to see it faster. Organized tours are not a time to buy gifts or explore the area at your leisure; you'll have time for that.


Don't forget to carry your cell phone and camera. I'm not saying this (at all) because you'll be looking at your phone; it would be a shame if you did. I say this because if you are going to take pictures of the tour (and not taking them will be very difficult) you might run out of battery (you are going to see a lot of things). Personally, what I do on trips, if I don't have my camera with me or I don't want to use my cell phone, is to put the phone in airplane mode (so I can take advantage of it and disconnect) and use only the camera.

Guided tours of the Colosseum and the Vatican

Visit to the Colosseum| ©Juliana Malta
Visit to the Colosseum| ©Juliana Malta

If what you are looking for when buying tickets for the Colosseum and the Vatican is a detailed and detailed visit, this option is not for you. The time to visit both places will be restricted as the priority will be to see all the points of the tour as comfortably as possible, but not to explore them in depth.

If you are looking for a longer and more detailed guided tour in which each of the wonders you are going to see will be explained, I recommend you to hire the Colosseum guided tour or the Vatican Museums guided tour, of which I have also written articles so you can evaluate all the information. Here you can read the The best guided tours of the Vatican ⛪ and here the one by Rome Colosseum Tours.

Roma Pass and Omnia Card: the tourist card to visit the Colosseum and the Vatican

Inside St. Peter's Basilica| ©Unsplash
Inside St. Peter's Basilica| ©Unsplash

The best option to take advantage of the tourist pass at these attractions is the Roma Pass and Omnia Card, because with it you can choose to enter for free to two tourist attractions that do not necessarily have to be the Colosseum or the Vatican. In addition, with this card you can use the urban transport for free so you will use it to go to the meeting point of the tour and return from it at the end of the day.

In any case, my advice is not to get carried away and that before investing in a city pass you get well informed about it. You can read here all the detailed information about Rome Pass and other passes.

Buy your Roma Pass and Omnia Card

If you are interested in visiting the Colosseum and the Vatican, you will also be interested in

Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Jimmy Harris
Castel Sant'Angelo| ©Jimmy Harris

With this option you will see the two great wonders of Rome, but there is so much more to see. With the tranquility of having covered the essentials, my advice is to organize your visit for the remaining days to locate the fountains, the sights, the palaces and the most important squares of the eternal city and that you dedicate yourself to visit them walking.

If what you are looking for after this tour are more impressive monuments, do not miss the Pantheon, the Castel Sant'Angelo or churches such as Santa Maria Maggiore or Santa Maria in Trastevere. If, on the other hand, what impresses you most on this tour are the Vatican Museums, be sure to visit the Borghese Gallery. If you want, you can read more information in my post on Borghese Gardens and Gallery Tours & Tickets.

If what you want is a more extensive guided tour of the city, I have also prepared a post about my favorites, so read here everything you need to know about Top 11 tours of Rome.

Buy skip the line tickets for the Vatican