Navigating the Colosseum Gates

Are you confused about which entrance to use at the Colosseum? No need to worry – we have got you covered! 

Choosing the right entrance can significantly reduce your wait and allow you to enter this iconic landmark without any hassle.

It features three distinct entrances to accommodate this large influx of visitors and ensure a smooth experience for everyone. 

Each gate caters to the needs of different visitors, helping to manage crowds effectively and minimize wait times.

You can tailor your visit to your preferences and make the most of your time at this iconic landmark.

History of the Entry Gates

The Colosseum was designed to hold massive crowds between 50,000 to 80,000 spectators at a time. 

It had 76 entrance gates for the public and four special ones for VIPs. 

Today, only three gates are still used. The public entrances had plain walls, while VIP entrances were decorated with plaster and painted white and red walls leading to the seating areas. 

The­ entrances without numbers we­re kept for empe­rors, wealthy influential Romans, senators, important visitors from other places, and the­ Vestal Virgins.

During gladiator games, participants would enter through the Gate of Life and exit the same way if they survived. 

Those who didn’t make it were removed through the Gate of Death.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your hands on the most affordable Colosseum ticket and explore today!

The Grand Colosseum Entrances 

The Grand Colosseum Entrances 
Image: Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Step into history through the grand gates! With four majestic entrances, you will feel the thrill of ancient Rome as you walk in the footsteps of emperors and gladiators.

The North Entrance

This entrance was primarily used by magistrates and officials. 

It’s located between Gate 38 and Gate 39 and still exists today. 

The North Entrance provided access to a special seating area reserved for magistrates, offering them a prime view of the events happening at the attraction.

The South Entrance

It was reserved for the highest dignitaries, including the Emperor, Senate members, and Vestal Virgins. 

The South Entrance was a ceremonial gateway between Gate 1 and Gate 76. 

This prestigious entrance granted direct access to the most important seating area within the monument. 

The Entrance Gate of the Pope

It is located on the southern side of the Colosseum, near the main entrance.

During the annual “Way of the Cross” ceremony held on Good Friday, the Pope typically arrives and enters through a gate known as the “Gate of the Pope.”

It can be considered a grand entrance due to its significance and ceremonial nature.

The Gate of Death – West Entrance

The Gate of Death is located between Gate 57 and Gate 58. 

It served as both an entrance and exit, providing direct access to the Arena floor. 

It earned its macabre name because it was the passage through which dead gladiators and defeated animals were removed from the Arena.

The Gate of Life – East Entrance

The Gate of Life was another access point to the Arena floor. 

This entrance is located between Gate 19 and Gate 20. 

Gladiators entered through this gate for their ceremonial parade before the Emperor and spectators. After a successful combat, they exited through the same gate. 

This entrance was connected to a tunnel leading from the Ludus Magnus, the largest gladiator school in Rome.

What are the operating Colosseum Entry Gates?

The Colosseum boasts three entrance gates for single ticketers and guided tours. These include:

Essential InformationIndividual Visitors GateGroup GateStern Gate
Operating hours9.30 am to 7.15 pm 9.30 am to 7.15 pm 9.30 am to 7.15 pm
Average wait time45 Minutes15 to 20 Minutes10 to 15 Minutes
Closest parkingT.parko LosseumT.parko LosseumPark Services
Gate ticketsBook HereBook HereBook Here


1. Which entrance do skip-the-line ticket holders use at the Colosseum?

Colosseum skip-the-line ticket holders can access the Colosseum through the Individual Visitors Gate, also known as the Sperone Valadier entrance, via the ‘Visitors with Reservations’ section. 

2. How can I avoid long queues at the Colosseum entrance?

If you want to avoid standing in long queues at the Colosseum, buy a skip-the-line ticket. With these tickets, you can enter the Colosseum without any delay.

3. What entrance typically has the shortest wait time at the Colosseum?

The Stern Gate usually offers the shortest wait time, averaging about 10 to 15 minutes. It’s reserved solely for groups, schools, or visitors accompanied by an accredited guide.

4. Which Colosseum entrance is recommended for visitors with disabilities?

The main entrance offers step-free access for disabled individuals. You can easily explore the ground floor and middle tier using the elevator, which can accommodate up to two wheelchairs simultaneously.

5. Why did the Colosseum have 76 entrances and exits?

This was to accommodate the large crowds of spectators attending events. These entrances and exits were strategically located around the perimeter of the amphitheater to facilitate the smooth flow of people in and out of the venue. 

Featured Image: Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash

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