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5 hours plus a break
When in Rome don't miss our tour of the Colosseum's underground tunnels and the arena floor!
Marvel at ancient stage machinery capable of amazing special effects and mechanical elevators centuries ahead of their time; learn about the series of trapdoors and incredibly complex system of underground tunnels below the arena that made the Colosseum's spectacles possible. These were amongst the ingenious inventions which helped ensure the incredible popularity of the games that we will see on our walking tour Alongside our expert guides, learn how the gladiator games unfolded and how their rituals of violence were conceived as Imperial propaganda capable of unifying the incredibly diverse populations, languages and cultures of the Roman Empire.
The majority of guides who lead this tour for us are themselves archaeologists, ready to answer all of your questions about the amazing ancient ruins you will visit – they’ll also take you to spectacular viewpoints, allowing you to take incredible photos of the ancient city.
Re-live an entire day's entertainment on our Colosseum tour
Learn about the stages of the games, the processions and the salutes of the participants, and the battles between ferocious beasts and gladiators made all the more spectacular by the surprise entrance of animals into the arena through secret trap-doors. You’ll be amazed by stories of gladiators fighting to the death roared on by the cheers of a delirious crowd, and the capricious decisions of the audience or of the emperor to save or condemn a defeated gladiator according to their whim. Walk on the arena floor, not usually open to the public and reserved specially for you on this tour. Gaze up from the viewpoint of the gladiators as they breathed their last.
Enter into the private life of the gladiators
Our tour of Ancient Rome will take you into the daily lives of the gladiators, showcasing the manner of their combats, their weapons, and the origins of these men who often came from the remote provinces of the empire - the success of the games was ensured by the multi-ethnic society of the time. On our Colosseum Tour you will also learn about their daily training, which took place in the barracks where the gladiators lived. The barracks were equipped with their own small arena, as you will see at the Ludus Magnus, one of their living quarters near the Colosseum.
Admire the perfection of the Colosseum from where nobles once watched the games
As we explore the seating areas that were once reserved for the creme-de-la-creme of Roman society, we can fully appreciate the imposing magnitude of this remarkable edifice. From here, the structure's arcades and marbles are laid out before us, its dramatic spaces revealing a colossal feat of engineering. The Colosseum (originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater) was built over ten years on a site which was previously part of Nero's Golden House, the Domus Aurea - which you can now also explore on our special Domus Aurea tour. From the Colosseum's 2nd tier you can enjoy fantastic 360 degree views of its spectacular architecture.
Uncover the daily life and the political struggles of ancient Rome on our Roman Forum tour
This great valley was the political heart of ancient Rome. Here we will retrace the daily life and politics of the ancient Romans, beginning at the Senate, where the most memorable debates of the Roman Republic took place. You will enter the rooms and the stunningly beautiful garden of the House of the Vestal Virgins. On our group tour of the Roman Forum you will discover who the Vestal Virgins were, gaze upon their marble portraits that still survive today, and learn of the cruel destiny that sometimes awaited them. In the Basilicas of Julia and Maxentius, seats of the courthouses, our guide will bring you into the spaces of the great public trials during the time of Cicero and Caesar. At the temples of Saturn, Castor and Pollux and Antoninus and Faustina, we will meet the Roman gods and unravel the enigma of a Christian church built into the structure of a pagan temple. The innovations of Roman engineers will amaze you on the Via Sacra, still marked today with the wheel-ruts of carriages that passed over it for centuries. Meanwhile, the film-strips of antiquity carved into the marble of the Arch of Titus and Arch of Septimius Severus tell of the great conquests of Imperial Rome. We will re-live timeless events such as the funeral of Julius Caesar near the Temple of Caesar and the decapitation of Cicero in the very spaces where they happened. Finally, we will explain the political rise of Augustus, who ended the Roman Republic and founded an empire.
Explore the luxurious villas of the emperors on our Palatine Hill
The Palatine Hill is still for the most part excluded from the itineraries of other tour companies. Wonderfully preserved even today, it's a shame to neglect this beautiful part of the ancient city, a place that for centuries hosted the exclusive residences of the Roman aristocracy until the emperors appropriated it to construct their colossal villas. Why was it such a desirable spot? Simple. The views from here down into the Forum, the Colosseum, the Circus Maximus, and indeed the entire city are unmatched. Our group tour will start with the origins of Rome, near the Huts of Romulus from the 8th century BC, which were later moved to the House of Augustus for obvious political reasons. We will take you to see the majestic architectures of the Imperial residences, with their gigantic colonnades. Amongst them the House of Augustus, the Flavian Palace, the Severian baths and the great Stadium. You will uncover original furnishings fashioned from precious marbles and statues in the Palatine Museum, and retrace the lives of the most famous and extravagant emperors who ruled here, men such as Nero and Domitian.
Our guided visit includes also the Aviaries and the Farnese Gardens (Orti Farnesiani), reopened in March 2018. The main Farnese Palace, a hidden gem in itself, was constructed on top of the ancient imperial palaces in one of the most spectacular corners of the Palatine Hill, with a series of stepped terraces descending towards the Roman Forum.
The Underground Colosseum is reserved exclusively for us.
During your hour-long Colosseum Underground Tour you will be in a group of a maximum of 24 visitors. Please note that the availability of timed entrances to the Colosseum's underground areas are extremely limited. As a result, the exact time at which we we will enter the underground varies on each tour.
For a complete overview of Rome's magnificent cultural heritage, why not also join our in-depth Sistine Chapel Tour and our magical Rome at Twilight tour, which delves into the characteristic streets of the city's historic centre?
In front of the entrance to the Palatine Hill. You will receive full details, including a map and photo on booking.
This is a walking tour, taking you inside the Colosseum and through the archaeological sites of Ancient Rome. There are a lot of steps and uneven surfaces. Wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water. Being a group tour, we must move at a certain pace together and if you have limited mobility, please contact us before booking.
Sep 21, 2019
Sep 20, 2019
Our guides are fluent in English and have a contagious passion for Rome's inspiring cultural heritage. Experts in their fields, they will immerse you in the hidden histories and intriguing lives of history's great protagonists. So much to see, so easy to miss out: with the help of our guides, visit the most absorbing sites and uncover the stories that have changed the world. Don't miss this fascinating journey!