Get ready for a lot of free entry days at the Colosseum in 2019! Here in Rome, we’re used to the Colosseum free entrance every first Sunday of the month but in 2019 the minister of culture is mixing things up, removing some of the free Sundays during the peak tourist months but then adding more free days (and even some free afternoons) here and there. All in all, there will be more free days at the Colosseum this year than ever before, but it will be hard to tell when they are. Below I’ve listed all the announced dates for free entry at the Colosseum in 2019 so you can plan your visit accordingly.

Now the question is: Should you go to the Colosseum on a free day?

With no advanced bookings possible, free day at the Colosseum can mean long lines in the sun waiting to get through security and then waiting to pick up your free ticket. While this line can move fairly quickly, the Colosseum has a maximum capacity of 3,000 people and on free days it can fill up even faster than usual so you’re stuck outside waiting for people to exit before you can get in. The Colosseum opens at 8:30am so you could start lining up early or I’d recommend going as late in the day as possible to try to avoid the rush times.

Where you should go instead…

What I usually do is avoid the Colosseum on free days but take advantage of free entry to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Or skip the ancient sites entirely and enjoy free entry to many of Rome’s less visited and incredible museums. Some of my favorites are the Galleria Borghese (booking an entry time in advance is still required here), Palazzo Massimo, the Etruscan museum in Villa Giulia and the Galleria Nazionale Arte Moderna.

For a list of national museums that are free to everyone on the first Sunday of the month, click here.

The view from under the Colosseum’s arena floor

List of Free days at the Colosseum 2019

To celebrate the Week of Culture, every day will be free from the 5th to the 10th of March.

Free entry for the first Sunday of each month will continue as usual from January to March and from October to December. Here are those dates:

6 January
3 February
3 March
6 October
3 November
1 December

Basically, don’t expect free Sundays from April through September this year. Those have been replaced by the following free days scattered throughout the summer months:

9 May
5 June
29 June
23 September
4 October
4 November

Confused yet? That’s it for the free full days… but there are also free Thursday afternoons from May to June and again from September to November. These apply only to the last three hours of admission which (get ready for it) change seasonally. Below are the days with free afternoons and the hours in which they are free:

30 May (free: 4:15pm-7:15pm, last entry at 6:15pm)
27 June (free: 4:15pm-7:15pm, last entry at 6:15pm)
26 September (free: 4:00pm-7:00pm, last entry at 6:00pm)
31 October (free: 1:30pm-4:30pm, last entry at 3:30pm)
28 November (free: 1:30pm-4:30pm, last entry at 3:30pm)

That’s it for the free days! Want to avoid the hassle of ticket purchasing and planning entirely? Click here to see our options for private tours of Ancient Roman sites both on and off the beaten track or simply write to Lauren to ask a question or customize your tours in Rome and Italy.

See you in Rome!