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VIP Private Colosseum Tour

  • Group Size:
    Group Size: Private
  • Language:
    Language: English
  • Duration:
    Duration: 3 hrs
  • Start:
    Start: Multiple AM & PM
  • Price:
    Price: From 389 €
  • Cancelation:
    Including: Skip the line tickets

Tour Overview

Indulge yourself in the Luxury Travel Guide award winner for ‘Historical Tour of the Year 2022’. This incredible Private Colosseum Tour covers it all, the Colosseum inside and out, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, each area artfully directed by a passionate expert in ancient archaeology on an itinerary that will satisfy your every curiosity.


Tour Highlights

  • Colosseum Outside
  • Colosseum Inside
  • Arch of Constantine
  • Roman Forum
  • Basilica of Aemilia
  • Arch of Septimius Severus
  • Temple of Castor & Pollux
  • Temple of Caesar
  • Temple of Vesta
  • Basilica of Maxentius
  • Temple of Saturn
  • Temple of Antonius & Faustina
  • Arch of Titus
  • Palatine Hill
  • Palace of Domitian

What's included

  • Skip-the-line access to all sites
  • Expert English-speaking tour guide
  • Private customizable tour
  • All tickets and reservations
  • Headsets to hear the guide clearly

What you’ll See Along the Way

Colosseum Outside

The Flavian Amphitheatre, more famously known as the Colosseum, was (and remains to be) the Roman Empire's largest stadium. Inaugurated by the Emperor Titus in 80 AD after only 8 years of construction, it was the ultimate testimony of ingenious Roman engineering – and a true beauty to behold. Even at the time of its erection the satirical poet Martial expressed his firm belief that the awe-inspiring structure deserved to be amongst the world’s “new seven wonders”. Almost two millennia later, in 2007, Martial's wish was fulfilled as the Colosseum officially entered that very exclusive category.

Colosseum Inside

The interior of the Colosseum is no less spectacular than seeing it from without, and a must do on any trip to Rome. Climb up to the 2nd Tier for fantastic views over the arena floor and underground hypogeum as your guide unveils the history of each area in detail. You'll learn about the different kinds of games and public spectacles that took place here, from wild animal hunts, to executions, to gladiatorial fights and even mock naval battles, as well as the different Roman castes that filled this place to its 80,000-person capacity.

Arch of Constantine

Following your exclusive Colosseum tour, we'll visit the adjacent triumphal arch – a towering masterpiece in white marble, which brims with intriguing details. Emperor Constantine had the monument erected in 315 AD to commemorate his victory over Maxentius a few years earlier – a battle he claimed to have won by the help of Christ himself. Despite his assertion, there are no Christian symbols on the arc. Instead, there are statues of Dacian prisoners and reliefs picturing Marcus Aurelius giving bread to the poor. The inside of the arch shows Emperor Trajan’s victory over the Dacians.

Roman Forum

Prior to its glory days, this valley was nothing more than a mushy swamp, used only as a burial ground for the people living on its surrounding hills. But, thanks to the construction of the Cloaca Maxima in 6th century BC, this marshland could finally be drained of its moisture and inhabited. The area served the people and leaders of Rome well for many centuries and, by the early 2nd century AD, many religious, political and commercial buildings had filled the landscape. The remnants of these marble super structures can still be admired today as the tangible testimonies of this area’s position as the very center of the Roman Empire.

Basilica of Aemilia

This impressive basilica was built on the initiative of Marcus Aemilia and Marcus Fulvius in the 1st century BC. Though only ruins remain of its former glory, the structure is the only surviving basilica from the Republican era, making it one of the most significant landmarks within the Forum. In ancient Rome, the word "basilica" referred to a public space where the citizens would meet to carry out legal matters and conduct business. The small green spots seen on the remnants of the marble floor are traces of coins, which had melted with the bronze from the roof during one of the great fires that ravaged the basilica.

Arch of Septimius Severus

This 65-foot tall triumphal arch was built in tribute to the Roman’s victory against the Parthians in the last decade of the 2nd century. A Latin inscription celebrates the achievements of Emperor Septimus Severeus, proudly informing the reader that he had been appointed consul for the 3rd time and emperor with absolute power for the 11th time. Furthermore, a series of images in the form of reliefs show the Roman crusade, the emperor's triumph and the vanquished enemies – all of which are surrounded by engravings depicting personifications of the four seasons, the god of war Mars and the victory goddesses.

Temple of Castor & Pollux

On a high podium in the center of the Forum, stand the three surviving Corinthian columns of the Temple of Castor and Pollux, dedicated to two of Ancient Rome’s most beloved deities. According to the legend, these mysterious twin warriors showed up during the battle at Lake Regillo in 499 BC and led the Roman army to victory. Later that day, the brothers appeared in the Roman Forum and announced the triumph to the Romans, before vanishing into thin air. The people, who immediately recognized the deities, vowed to build a temple in their honor on the very same spot from which they had disappeared.

Temple of Caesar

Augustus had this sanctuary built to honor the memory of his adoptive father, Julius Caesar, after his vicious murder in 44 BC. The exact name of the shrine was Temple of the Divine Julius Caesar because the former emperor was deified by the senate and worshipped as a god by the Roman citizens following his death. Very little remains of this once imposing temple, but you can still visit a semi-circular nook which marks the exact site where Caesar's bodily remains were cremated. Even 2000 later, people come here to pay their respect to the great emperor and the memorial is covered with fresh flowers daily.

Temple of Vesta

This round temple marks the very spot where the mysterious Vestal Virgins carried out their daily tasks. The most important duty of this highly respected cult of priestesses was to tend the sacred flame of the city, kept within the walls of the sanctuary. Romans believed that if the fire ever extinguished, it would symbolize the fall of the empire so the position as a Vestal came with a lot of responsibility. It must have been a challenging task to keep the fire lit, especially beneath the gaping oculus of the structure’s dome which provided no assistance in shielding it from the rain and wind.

Basilica of Maxentius

Much of this gargantuan 4th century AD Basilica was destroyed by earthquakes and vandals but its legacy lives on to this day. In fact, well-documented sources claim that the Renaissance artists Michelangelo and Raphael came to study the ruins on the Basilica of Maxentius and let its shapes inspire their own works of art. Another admirer was Bramante, the first head architect of the Basilica of St. Peter, who wrote “My plan for St. Peter is the Basilica of Maxentius with the Dome of the Pantheon on top” – an architectural plan which is evident upon examining the colossal Vatican church today.

Temple of Saturn

The first temple dedicated to Saturn was built here in the 5th century BC, but the columns and the high platform belong to the more recent building that was added after the second great fire of Rome in 283 AD. The podium is cast in cement and covered in travertine, a stone that resembles marble but is much more affordable. This was a common building technique used when constructing the public buildings in ancient Rome, as marble was relatively expensive at the time. The rooms that were built into the podium served a number of administrative functions; even the Roman Treasury was housed here.

Temple of Antonius & Faustina

This beautiful temple was built in honor of Emperor Antonius Pius and his wife Faustina in 141 AD. During the Renaissance, the rebuilding of Rome led to the deconstruction of many of the temples in the Forum, including the Temple of Faustina and Antonius. Valuable building materials were removed from the temple bit by bit but, luckily, the sides of the edifice were left untouched and a new church was constructed around them. The façade, backside and roof we see today are 16th century additions, while the base, side walls and beautiful marble colonnade are all ancient originals.

Raphael Rooms

On the third floor of the Papal apartments, overlooking the southern end of the Belvedere Courtyard, the Raphael Rooms, or “stanze”, can be found. In 1508 Pope Julius II, the pope responsible for commissioning Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling, commissioned Raphael Sanzio and his studio to fresco the walls of his papal apartment. Julius died in 1513, leaving Pope Leo X to continue the program. Of the four rooms, Raphael physically contributed to the frescoes of the Room of Heliodorus, the Room of the Signatura, and the Room of the Fire in the Borgo, while his assistants were left to finish the Hall of Constantine after Raphael’s death in 1520.

St. Peter’s Square

St Peter’s Square spans an impressive 320 meters long and 240 meters wide, giving it the capacity to host more than 250,000 people at a time. Famous Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini headed its construction from 1656 to 1667 by commission of Pope Alexander XII. 284 massive white columns, divided into 4 rows, flank the square boasting 140 statues of saints on top that overlook the plaza from nearly every direction. At its center, an Ancient Egyptian obelisk stands at nearly 25 meters high with stunning fountains on either side. From above, the piazza resembles the shape of a keyhole, which makes reference to the keys handed to Peter by Christ: the Key to the Church and the Key to Heaven.

St. Peter’s Basilica

Italy’s largest, richest, and holiest church rests on a plot where an earlier 4th century basilica once stood. In the mid 15th century, a plan was set to replace Constantine’s 349 AD church with a bigger, better version. After 120 years of construction, St Peter’s Basilica was completed in 1626. Its lavish interior contains masterful works of art such as Michelangelo’s iconic “La Pietà” sculpture and Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s bronze Baldachin, which towers over the high altar beneath the basilica’s dome. The dome, designed in part by Michelangelo, reaches an impressive height of 119 meters and can be reached by scaling 551 steps.

Michelangelo's Pietà

Michelangelo’s hauntingly beautiful marble depiction of “La Pietà” is indeed one of the most iconic and recognizable images in Catholicism. His chiseled masterpiece features the post-crucifixion body of Christ resting lifelessly across his mother’s lap. Layers of fabric drape over Mary as she mourns the death of her only child. When Michelangelo was questioned about his decision to make Mary look so young (far too young to be the mother of a 30 year old man), he explained that her complexion remained youthful due to her purity in mind, body, and spirit. Michelangelo was said to have considered this to be his life’s greatest work. In fact, he was so proud of it that he even carved his name across Mary’s sash, ensuring that no one else would ever receive credit for it.

Bernini's Baldachin

The 95-foot-tall bronze Baldachin stands directly beneath Michelangelo’s cupola at the church’s main altar, marking St Peter’s Tomb below. Baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini was only 25 years old when Pope Urban VIII called upon him to design the massive canopy. From 1624 to 1633 Bernini depended on both sculptural and architectural skills to realize the masterpiece that we see today. Sturdy marble platforms boast four spiraling bronze pillars that corkscrew upwards and support an elaborate canopy of wood gilded in bronze. After its inauguration in 1633, Bernini was commissioned to take on other works for the church, including the design for St Peter’s Square.

Arch of Titus

This arch celebrates the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD by Titus, a victory that brought unbelievable riches to the Roman Empire. The arch was heavily restored in the 19th century and, if you look closely, you can actually see that the new stone is crisp, while the old stone is somewhat damaged. As the interior of the arch is examined, two carvings can be seen; one depicting a chariot driven by four horses, representing Titus riding into Rome victorious. The relief on the opposite side shows the army carrying in the spoils of war, among which is the discernable Menorah.

Palatine Hill

Overlooking the Colosseum and the Roman Forum is the Palatine Hill, where the rulers of ancient Rome once lived in their luxurious palaces. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Palatine Hill was occupied mostly by shepherds and it wasn’t until the 16th and 17th centuries that the hill began to look as regal as in Roman times. Although most of the marble-clad palaces with their lush gardens and decorative statuary are long gone and the landscapes diminished, there is still a sense of wonder that comes with walking through the ruins of the glory that once was.

Palace of Domitian

Domitian may not have been the first emperor to make home on the Palatine Hill, but his grandiose residence completely outdid those of his predecessors. The extravagant palace was so large that it could be divided into two complexes – one public and one private. The Domus Augustana, or private section of the palace, housed the luxurious living quarters for the emperor and his family, while the Domus Flavia was reserved for the state chambers. The estate had everything a 1st century ruler could dream of – including a personal stadium, which you can still see the remnants of today.

Tour Summary Get in the Know

The Roman Colosseum Seen As It Should Be

What could be better than skip-the-line entry to one of the world’s most visited and iconic monuments? How about an award-winning tour company and a private historian versed in all things Ancient Roman to guide you through it. This private tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum cuts no corners, taking you to the center of the fascinating ruins of one of the greatest civilizations ever.

Our private Colosseum tour is designed for history buffs and curious travelers alike, with the common thread of leaving standard tours in the dust. Not only will you have the full and complete attention of your guide, but you’ll also be able to customize the tour based on your preferences, which means spending more time exploring the Forum, or seeing specific areas of Palatine Hill. Whatever the case, you’ll have ample opportunity to enjoy your personal expert’s invaluable insight.

Flavian Amphitheater Come Back to Life

Ask any Ancient Roman where the Colosseum was, and they would have shrugged at you or worse. When the travertine stone was white, shiny, and new, Rome’s massive arena was called the Flavian Amphitheater after the imperial dynasty that had it built in 80 AD. The rest is history, a bloody one at that, of wild animal hunts, public executions, gladiatorial combat, and even mock naval battles. One thing’s for sure, your guide will separate fact from myth.

Follow your private archeologist inside to the best vantage points around the 2nd Tier, where the patrician and knightly classes sat, then down to the arena level to see where the Emperor’s tribune once stood. Your guide will reconstruct the Colosseum for you in all its historic glory, from the innovative architecture, feats of engineering, and public’s attitude towards mortal combat, to detailed descriptions of the gladiators themselves. By tour’s end, you’ll agree the Colosseum is still very much alive today.

Inside the Roman Forum Heart of the Empire

After the Colosseum, you’ll stand before the Arch of Constantine, built by Rome’s first Christian emperor in the early 4th century AD, before heading into the Roman Forum. Welcome to one of the most influential archeological sites on the planet. As you explore among the mighty columns and ruins of temples, your guide will transport you back in time to when this was the political center of the Roman Empire, pointing out the incredible details that have survived across millennia within the temples of Vesta and Saturn, as well as the exact spot where Julius Caesar’s funeral pyre burned and more.

With a detailed Forum visit under your belt, you’ll then walk up the Palatine Hill for sweeping views over Rome. This is the exact spot chosen by Romulus to found his city, so a fitting finale to your exploration of Ancient Rome from apex to origin.

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REVIEWS

Private Colosseum Tour

What our Customers say...

Colosseum with excellent guide, Martina

Martina was not only extremely passionate for her job but had so much insight and knowledge to share about each site. Big applause and hug to her. Getting around these busy sights on your own can be a bit daunting and tiresome, hence will recommend to book tours with what a life tours, they make it look so easy and have wonderful guides such as Martina to execute. It was worth every single penny spent.”

Martina was Marvelous!

We really enjoyed our tour with Martina through the Coliseum, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. She is extremely knowledgeable and has an excellent rapport with her audience. In addition, I enjoyed her sense of humor. This was a fabulous experience.”

Simply Amazing!

Our tour of the Colleseum, Palatine gardens, Forum and surrrounding ruins was fascinating! Michele was so knowledgeable, engaging, funny and informative.....a pleasure to spend three hours with! The private tour for two was so well worth it! This Group is tops!!!”

Great day in Rome!

Martina was fantastic, she showed us everything we could have hoped to see and taught us even more. We couldn’t have had a better guide and tour despite the rainy weather.”

Coliseum and Palentine Hill and Forum

My family of four and my mom Spent 3 hours with Valeria today. She was knowledgeable (studied archeology), spent some time studying at Berkeley from folks from the States and was funny. She kept it moving, had all the answers and hit the highlights. Yes u can’t see everything in 3 hours but she made us feel we saw enough. Best tour we went on on our trip to Florence and Roma thanks to her. Perfect way to end the trip.”

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