In Rome there are many places that leave you speechless just by looking at them, but the Colosseum conquers your heart and soul as a traveler. I'll tell you all the details so that your visit to the most famous amphitheater in the world is unbeatable.
How to choose the best guided tour of the Colosseum
Choosing the best guided tours to the Colosseum is not easy, you will find many options for all budgets. In general, the most important thing you have to pay attention to is that the tickets are included (so you will avoid surprises of having to pay extra at the door and also having to queue) and you can choose between those that have access to the arena or those that also include a tour of the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill.
In Hellotickets, all options include tickets with skip the line access and depending on your budget you can choose between the different options. In addition, all have free cancellation if your trip suffers last minute changes. You can find them all here:
How long are the guided tours of the Colosseum?
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 visiting 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. There is also an express visit to the Colosseum of only an hour and a half if you don't have that much time or just prefer a shorter tour.
I later compared my experience with other travelers who took longer tours and most of them agreed on the same thing: it was hard to keep your attention the whole time and the last explanations were too dense.
Visit the Colosseum in a small group
Visiting the Colosseum on a guided tour has many advantages: you will learn about its history, legends and architecture. Moreover, with tours that also include entrance tickets and a guided visit to the Roman Forum, the experience is much more complete. But if you are looking for a more intimate and authentic visit, I recommend choosing a small group tour.
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.
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 queuing, in a group of 25 people and with access to areas that are not normally seen in the individual visit on your own. This is something I loved doing on my visit to Rome.
Ana's Traveller Tip
If you want a stunning view of the Forum without paying an entrance fee, go from the Piazza del Campidoglio.
What you will see on the Colosseum and Roman Forum tours
I will tell you 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
This is the main point of the tour and the one that gets 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 we were told 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 were held here were possible thanks to the maximum use of the amphitheater's engineering.
It is close to 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 do not know the story or have forgotten it, I recommend that you do not look up anything before the visit and listen to the guide's explanations as if it were the first time you are being told the story. Even if you choose the standard group guided tour of the Colosseum, you will visit this part of the Forum as well, as it is included.
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 tour there is no information available to better understand what we are seeing. Probably, in the guided tour of the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill and the Colosseum you will have more time to ask your questions 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.
Ana's Traveller Tip
When choosing a guided tour, better in small groups and with tickets already included.
Organize your guided tour of the Colosseum in Rome
What to bring
When you pack your backpack, don't forget to bring the voucher that you will receive by e-mail 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 e-mail 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 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 walk there; the Colosseum, although not in the center, is accessible on foot.
Eating in the area
If you finish the tour of the Colosseum and the Forum at lunch or dinner time, it is best to stay away from the area to avoid crowds and reheated food (a sin considering the pizzas and pastas you can have in Rome), but doing the guided tour you have the option to ask the guide to recommend a nearby place that is not too touristy and so you enjoy a more authentic meal.
Colosseum tours 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 it. In any case, you will also find tours fully adapted to children and can be a good option to awaken their interest in the history of the place.
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.
Practical tips for guided tours
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 do not 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 point out a couple of places from which you can take stunning photos of these two monuments:
- The view of the Forum from Piazza 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 the day from the square surrounding it.
Beware of the 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, keep in mind that you will not be able to enter the Colosseum with large backpacks or luggage, so avoid taking this guided tour the day before leaving for the airport or just upon arrival without stopping by the hotel.
Other guided tours that may interest you
Along with the Colosseum, the Vatican Museums are the most emblematic site in 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 The 2 Best Vatican Guided Tours ⛪.
I would also not 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 that you can consult it.
If you prefer more complete tours of the city, I recommend that you read Best Rome Tours. I am sure you will find the one that best suits your tastes, since the offer of tours and guided tours of the city is endless!