Abstract This paper presents experimental studies of the enhanced light transmission through metallic films pierced by subwavelength annular apertures. Two different methods (e-beam lithography and focused ion beam) have been used to build the nano-structures. We have experimentally recorded their far-field spectral response in the visible range and the optical near-field above the nano-structures when they are excited at 633 nm. The spectral response exhibits a transmission peak at 700 nm with maximum efficiency around 16%. The near-field exhibits a characteristic two-lobe structure just above the aperture. Finite difference time domain (FDTD) simulations reproduce quite well the experimental results.