Meet your 5-star Rome expert at the Colosseum and prepare for a 3-hour exploration of the Colosseum with the coveted Arena Floor, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. After parting ways for lunch, reunite with us as we take you on another 3-hour journey through the Vatican Museums with major highlights including the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, St. Peter’s Basilica and more. All off-limits access or skip the line.
At a Glance Why You’ll Love It
|Skip the general admission lines for an in-depth guided tour of the Colosseum, including the restricted access Arena Floor, then follow the Sacred Way to the Arch of Constantine, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.|
|Cross the border into the world’s smallest country to enjoy the masterpieces of the Vatican Museums like the Raphael Rooms, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica without budging or being budged.|
|With a small group of 12 participants or fewer, you’ll have a chance to truly interact with your passionate official guide and get insider tips on how to spend the rest of your time in the Eternal City.|
Tour Summary Get in the Know
Head Back to Ancient Rome the Colosseum & Roman Forum
There’s no better place to begin your full-day adventure of Rome than where it all began – at the Colosseum! Let this Ancient Roman amphitheater dazzle and amaze you with its sheer size, rich history, and truly majestic presence as you walk in the footsteps of emperors, senators, and gladiators… dirently onto the Arena Floor.
Stand in the tiers where more than 55,000 spectators once fled to watch the famous “circuses” and gladiatorial combats while your official guide debunks myths from legends. Get insider knowledge about the Flavian Dynasty and the reason they chose to build the Colosseum on this very spot. Discuss the underground hypogeum, with its advanced trap doors and pulley systems, and the ancient “retractable roof” that once covered the crowds on hot summer days – some of the most remarkable examples of Ancient Roman engineering.
Then venture past the Arch of Constantine and through the gates to the Roman Forum. Explore the vast area of the Palatine Hill that was once covered by the Palace of Emperor Domitian, with remnants of heated mosaic floors and courtyards to admire. Stand before the remarkably preserved Arches of Titus and Septimius Severus and the imposing Basilica of Maxentius and Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. Translate the Latin inscription at the Temple of Julius Caesar and find out how the Vestal Virgins lived and tended to the Temple of Vesta. See a full list of sights visited below.
See the Treasures of the Vatican Museums with a Rome Expert
After a break for lunch, rest your feet at the What a Life Tours office, located just steps away from the Vatican’s doors. Get the best stories and anecdotes from your charismatic guide. Our team is comprised of the most experienced and highly rated guides in Rome, so we can confidently guarantee an enlightening experience for you and your travel partners. Discover hidden details and insider secrets as you make your way through the vast collection of the museums in the Gallery of the Maps, Gallery of the Tapestries, and Gallery of the Candelabra.
Take a breath of fresh air in the Courtyard of Statues and Pinecone Courtyard. Marvel at ancient gems in the Greek Cross Hall and the Round Room. And, of course, take some time to admire the top Vatican highlights, such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling and the Raphael Rooms.
Best of the Vatican the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms & St. Peter’s Basilica
Stand in awe of the finest examples of High Renaissance art in the Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms. Make your way through the four fully frescoed rooms of Raphael Sanzio, examining the intricately painted walls from every angle. Then turn your head upwards to admire Michelangelo’s 16th century Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes, considered to be the pinnacle of all western art, and ponder its symbolic themes. Let your cicerone transport you back in time to paint a bigger picture, where you can discover the relations and rivalries between these contemporaries who realized these, their greatest works, simultaneously. Find out how Michelangelo was forced against his will to complete his ceiling frescos by a persistent pope, and hear stories of Raphael sneaking into the Sistine Chapel and copying his technique.
A Vatican visit simply would not be complete without a thorough look at Rome’s shining gem, St Peter’s Basilica. Experience beauty and grandiosity that it difficult to put into words between the towering marble walls that support St Peter’s iconic dome. Light beams in through windows illuminating enormous walls of mosaic and golden trim that line the church. Marvel at Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture of “La Pietà” and find out why he broke into the church and carved his name across Mary’s sash. Stand at the high altar and get an up close look at Bernini’s stunning bronze Baldachin before making your way to admire his largest contribution to Rome: St Peter’s Square. Stand in the footsteps of saints, martyrs, and pontiffs while you take in the beauty of the colonnades, sculptures, and fountains that adorn the plaza. Then, take a break for lunch and meet back with us at the Colosseum!
What you’ll See Along the Way
- Arena Floor
- Arch of Constantine
- Roman Forum
- Arch of Titus
- Palatine Hill
- Sistine Chapel
- Belvedere Apollo
- Laocoön and His Sons
- Belvedere Torso
- Gallery of the Tapestries
- Gallery of Maps
- Raphael Rooms
- St. Peter’s Square
- St. Peter’s Basilica
- Michelangelo’s Pietà
- Bernini’s Baldachin
- Skip-the-line access to all sites
- Expert English-speaking guide
- Small groups of 12 or fewer
- All tickets and reservations
- Headsets to hear the guide clearly