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Colosseum Tours

Here are some recommendations to choose the best tour to the Colosseum of Rome

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

May 14, 2021 • 10 min read

Colosseum Tours

Colosseum of Rome | © Jametlene Reskp

In Rome there are many places that leave you speechless just by contemplating them, but the Colosseum conquers your heart and soul as a traveler. I tell you all the details so that your visit to the most famous amphitheater in the world is unbeatable.

1. What are the best Colosseum tours?

Choosing the best guided tours to the Colosseum is not easy, you will find many options for all budgets, but I summarize the best options with which you will stop feeling like a tourist and you will become a witness of the history of Rome.

2. Guided tour of the Colosseum in standard groups

Detail of the Colosseum | ©Unsplash
Detail of the Colosseum | ©Unsplash

The best thing about this guided tour of the Colosseum: is that it includes the entrance tickets (not all do) and also the visit to the Roman Forum with explanations by an expert, something that interested me a lot, since I sensed that the place had much more behind it than what I could appreciate in the individual visit. In addition, I was also convinced by its value for money compared to other options.

Once the tour was done, I can say that what I appreciated the most was the fact that we were able to visit the Colosseum without waiting or queues, in a group of 25 people and with access to areas not normally seen in the individual visit on your own.

3. Guided tour of the Colosseum in small groups

Details of the interior of the Colosseum | ©Unsplash
Details of the interior of the Colosseum | ©Unsplash

This tour is the same as the previous one, it also includes the entrance tickets and the guided visit to the Roman Forum. But for a minimal difference in price, this tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum in small group, will make your visit more exclusive and intimate, as it is done in even smaller groups.

If the average general tour of the Colosseum and Forum is 25 people, there are other tours like this one that have the option of an average of 16 people. You can consider this option if you are traveling with a large group and this way the guide will be practically private for you.

Ana's Traveller Tip

If you want to have a breathtaking view of the Forum without paying an entrance fee, go from Piazza del Campidoglio.

4. Private guided tour of the Colosseum

View of the Colosseum Arena from the stands | ©Unsplash
View of the Colosseum Arena from the stands | ©Unsplash
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If you can afford it, there is an option that you should consider (it will be my self gift when I return to Rome): A private guided tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum:. I tell you why below.

  • It includes all areas of the Colosseum as well as the Palatine Hill and the Forum of Rome.
  • It has all the advantages of the general tour (duration, guide, headphones, no waiting time...) but you also have a guide for you alone (or for you and your companion/s).
  • It features personalized explanations that can focus on the details that interest you the most or on the resolution of doubts you may have about the city of Rome in general.
  • It allows you to adapt the pace of the tour and the duration of each stop according to your interests: the guide is at your disposal.

5. Tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum guided tours

View of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum | ©Unsplash
View of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum | ©Unsplash
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Here are the stops that all tours usually make, although if you choose the private guided tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum:, you can deviate from the current itinerary and ask the guide to adapt it to your tastes.

Colosseum of Rome

It is the main point of the visit and the one that takes the most time. Almost all of us had seen Gladiator and knew about the gladiator and animal fights that took place in the Roman amphitheater, what I, for example, did not know and what they told us during the visit was that naval battles were also recreated here.

It was very curious to imagine the Colosseum in a different context and to see how all the shows that took place here were possible thanks to the maximum use of the amphitheater's engineering.

Palatine Hill

It is near the Colosseum and next to the Forum and is one of the oldest points of the city and the most central of the seven hills of the city of Rome. I remember very fondly that they chose this point to tell us the story of Romulus and Remus since it was at this point that Romulus founded the city.

If you don't know the history or you have forgotten it, I recommend that you don't look up anything before the visit and listen to the guide's explanations as if it were the first time you were told the story. Even if you choose the guided tour of the Colosseum in standard group:, you will visit this part of the Forum as well, as it is included.

Roman Forum

After seeing the Palatine Hill we went on to tour the Roman Forum; it was one of the parts I was looking forward to the most because during the individual visit there is no information available to better understand what we are seeing. Probably, in the guided tour of the Colosseum in small group you will have more time to ask your doubts to the guide, but the truth is that everyone is very professional and will try to solve your questions during the visit.

After pointing out the different parts of the Forum (the temples of Saturn, Venus, Vesta, etc.) he explained to us what kind of activities and ceremonies took place here. We all knew that this enclave was the center of Roman social life, but I think after the explanations we really assimilated the reason why.

6. What you should know about the Colosseum tour

Façade detail of the Colosseum :: ©Adèle Beausoleil
Façade detail of the Colosseum :: ©Adèle Beausoleil

Duration of tours

In general, the duration of the Colosseum and Forum tours is three hours. At first it seemed like a short time, but I realized that, when you visit the site with a specialized guide, the time is twice as long as it would be if you were to see it on your own.

Later I compared my experience with that of other travelers who did longer tours and most of them agreed on the same thing: it was difficult to keep the attention the whole time and the last explanations were too dense.

Details of interest

  • The three points of interest included in the guided tour (Colosseum, Forum of Rome and Palatine Hill) are next to each other so you will not move from the area during the day.
  • The tour includes headphones to better listen to the guide, although, as the group is not usually very large, they will not be necessary.
  • Hiring the superior option you will get that the guided tour includes the Underground Colosseum, the visit to the Arena and the third floor of the Colosseum. In my opinion it is well worth it; since you are going to invest time to visit the Colosseum in depth with a guided tour, I would not leave anything to see, even if I had to pay a little more.
  • The price of the guided tours will always be higher than the price of the ordinary ticket, but do not assume that the difference is much because sometimes it can be just a few euros and the investment is worth it.
  • There are usually different times to choose from. I recommend early in the morning or late in the afternoon because at these times there are usually fewer people at the points of interest.
  • They include cancellation: unforeseen events do exist and being able to reschedule your visit without losing money is an important plus.
  • Include tickets: not all tours do and sometimes the price shown is only for the guided tour.
  • It also includes the Roman Forum and the Monte Palatino: because they complete the historical vision of ancient Rome, they are in the same area and are always included with the Colosseum tickets.

Ana's Traveller Tip

When choosing a guided tour, it is better to choose small groups and with tickets already included.

7. Organize your guided visit to the Colosseum of Rome

Interior of the Colosseum | ©Unsplash
Interior of the Colosseum | ©Unsplash

What to bring

When you pack your backpack don't forget the receipt that you will receive by email when you book the tour (the tickets will be given to you by the guide); if you can't print it don't worry because showing your email or giving your personal information will be enough. In the Colosseum and especially in the Forum it is very hot so bring water, a hat, sunscreen and cool clothes if it is summer. Although the guided tours are not usually long, bring something to eat as food is usually not included in the tours in this area.

How to get to the meeting point
The meeting point will almost always be near the Colosseum and the guide will tell you how to find it, so you can't miss it. To get to the Colosseum from the center of Rome you can use the metro line B to the Colosseo stop (the easiest option), buses C3, 60, 81, 85, 87, 175, 628 or streetcar number 3. If you are staying in the center of Rome you can also go for a walk; the Colosseum, although not in the center, is accessible on foot.

Duration and schedules

The guided tours of the Colosseum last an average of three hours, not counting the trips between the points of interest. That is, in the tour I recommend you will spend about an hour and a half inside the Colosseum and another hour and a half visiting the Forum and the Palatine Hill, but calculate that the tour will take you longer because you will have to move from one place to another (although they are quite close).

Eating in the area

If you finish the tour of the Colosseum and the Forum at lunch or dinner time, it is best to move away from the area to avoid crowds and reheated food (a sin considering the pizzas and pastas you can have in Rome), but if you take the guided tour you have the option to ask the guide to recommend a nearby place that is not too touristy and enjoy a more authentic meal.

Tour with children

If you are going to visit the Colosseum with children, the private guided tour of the Colosseum and the Forum can be a good option because, if there are children in the group, they often introduce anecdotes that may interest them and adapt part of the speech for them. In any case, you will also find tours totally adapted to children and it can be a good option to awaken their interest in the history of the place.

Special options

If you are traveling with someone with reduced mobility, make sure that the guided tour you choose is adapted for this group. The Colosseum has several wheelchairs available for visitors.

8. Practical tips for guided tours

View of the Colosseum and Forum from the Campidoglio | ©Unsplash
View of the Colosseum and Forum from the Campidoglio | ©Unsplash

Photographs

The main advice I am going to give you is valid for any guided tour in Rome. If you love photography, there are hundreds of places in Rome that will delight you, but don't try to take too many pictures during the guided tour.

You will have plenty of time to take pictures of the Colosseum outside, during the visit enjoy the explanations and let yourself be seduced by the surroundings. In return, I'll write down a couple of places from which you can take stunning photos of these two monuments:

  • The view of the Forum from the Plaza del Campidoglio and the Capitoline Museums is spectacular and you will not have to pay an entrance fee as in other viewpoints in the city.
  • Between the streets Via del Colosseo and Via Nicola Salvi there is a stop from which you can take a great picture of the Colosseum. I also recommend that, although the amphitheater does not come out "whole" in the frame try to experiment at different times of day from the square surrounding it.

Beware of heat

I also have to repeat to you to be careful with the high temperatures. Keep in mind that the Forum is an esplanade where there is no shade and that during the visit the heat can be very hot. Bring plenty of water to hydrate yourself and protect yourself from the sun.

What to do with backpacks and luggage

Finally, please note that you will not be able to enter the Colosseum with large backpacks or luggage, so avoid taking this guided tour the day before you leave for the airport or just upon arrival without stopping by the hotel.

9. Other guided tours you may be interested in

Along with the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums are the most emblematic enclave of Rome and have so much to offer that it is worth visiting them with the company of someone who can tell you all its history in a pleasant way. You can check this article I wrote about St Peter's Basilica Tickets:.

Nor would I forget the Galleria Borghese, one of the most spectacular places in the city and that often goes unnoticed by tourists. I leave here the guide of Borghese Gardens and Gallery Tours & Tickets: so you can consult it.

If you prefer more complete tours of the city, I recommend you to read Best Rome Tours:. I am sure you will find the one that best suits your tastes, as the offer of tours and guided tours of the city is endless!