Why you'll love this tour
The Colosseum from top to bottom – and without queueing
With exclusive access to sections of the arena normally closed to the public, this VIP style Colosseum tour is what bucket list dreams are made of. Retrace the steps of gladiators as your delve into the underground maze of tunnels, where they armored up before facing the crowds. Then savor the chance to gaze upon the massive amphitheater from their point-of-view, as you step onto the arena floor (which is an option only available to few!). Take in the towering sight of the ancient stadium while your guide awes you with stupefying stories of the cruelly-choreographed gladiator games, animal hunts and mass crucifixions that played out on this very stage some 2000 years ago.
Our Colosseum Underground tours allow you to examine the arena like no average tourist can. In addition to the privileged entry to its stage and backstage area, we’ve also got special access to the third upper ring. High above the clamor and confusion of the general admission areas, you'll have the freedom to ponder in peace – all while getting a spectacular bird’s-eye panorama. With over 6 million visitors a year, avoiding the crowds is always a key ingredient for creating the ultimate Colosseum experience for our guests. Our official Colosseum partnership let us sail right past the lines and walk straight into the sights, saving hours of tedious queuing with the masses.
Roam the Forums with an insider expert
The Roman Forum is the perfect setting to gain a deeper insight into life in ancient Rome. Whether you were a lower-class plebeian or an esteemed member of the toga-clad elite, this was the place to be in the heydays of the Roman Empire. Get a taste of it all as your first-rate guide uncovers the nitty-gritty, the dirty politics and the sublime beauty of this most remarkable of ancient sights. Traveling in a small group of 12 guests or fewer, you’ll walk the Via Sacra, where generals and their armies once held their triumphal processions, see the Temple of Caesar, erected on the very site of the ill-fated emperor's cremation, and pass the Rostra (speaker’s corner), where the head of the famed orator Cicero was put on display after his vicious murder.
It‘s certainly no small feat to encapsulate Rome’s 2000+ years of extremely turbulent history in an enlightening, yet entertaining, 3.5-hour tour – but our guides are ready and able for the task! Armed with eye-opening insights, unforgettable details and mind-boggling anecdotes, they will transport you back to a time when emperors were considered deity (at least by themselves!) and mythical characters like Caesar and Cleopatra strutted their stuff on these same cobble-stoned streets. Though the amount of rich history laid in the soil beneath your feet may be too much to grasp all at once, a little imagination (and some encouragement from What a Life Tours) can help you put it all into perspective!
Get a taste of eternity on the Palatine Hill
Paradoxically, we’ll end our tour where Rome herself was born. A few modest huts built on the top of the Palatine Hill in 200 BC were the humble beginning of the Empire, which grew to be the gigantic state we all know today. However, only centuries after the first settlers arrived, this mythical hill would be associated with anything but modesty. Let’s put it this way – if the Colosseum were the Hollywood of ancient times, then the lush (pun intended!) Palatine Hill was undoubtedly the Beverly Hills counterpart.
Anyone who was anyone (including Marc Anthony and Emperor Augustus himself) had a private villa on this poshest of addresses, overlooking the sprawling city below. Amazingly, you can still see the remnants of their opulent palaces, stadiums and temples today but your guide will help paint the unfinished picture with intriguing tales and descriptions so you truly get a feel for the lavish lifestyle of antiquity’s rich and famous.
What you'll experience
When Emperor Nero was overthrown in 68 AD, the imperial power was seized by General Vespasian Flavius. Upon his installation as the new emperor, Vespasian faced an intricate urbanistic dilemma: what to do with Nero's gigantic palace? He desperately needed to establish good relations with the Roman people and, thus, demolished the lavish estate to make room for a spectacular new amphitheater. The building project commenced in 62 AD and took only 8 years to finish – an incredible achievement celebrated with 100 days of gladiator games, animal hunts and mass executions.
Reservations for Tour Operators with privileged access to the underground area and upper third level tier of the Colosseum are released on the 3rd Monday of the month preceding the tour. In the event when time slots are not made available, you might be asked to reschedule your time or date, subject to availability — or alternatively accept a refund. Every tour operator works with these parameters.