If you’re planning a trip to Rome, visiting the Colosseum is probably high on your must-see list. Since it’s one of the most famous sights in Europe, there are long lines and huge crowds. This means it’s best to take a Colosseum tour to truly enjoy the experience, especially a tour like we took that has exclusive access and skip-the-line privileges.
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The Colosseum in Rome is incredibly impressive and packed with history, and it’s also one of the most visited sights in Italy. Andy and I took the Underground Colosseum and Roman Forum Tour we traveled to Rome, and it was one of the best decisions we made. Keep reading for our Colosseum review and see what you can expect on the tour.
Best Rome Colosseum tours
In this post, I’ll be explaining our experience with the Underground Colosseum tour, but there are other options for tours.
- VIP Colosseum Underground Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill: This is the tour we took, which takes you into the Colosseum, including special access to areas of the Colosseum not accessible to the general public, plus the Roman Forum.
- VIP Colosseum At Night Tour With Underground & Arena Floor: Experience the Colosseum at night without the crowds or the hot sun.
- Rome In A Day Tour with Vatican, Colosseum & Historic Center: Short on time? This tour takes you to see many of Rome’s highlights, including the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and more.
Exploring the Roman Forum
The Roman Forum sits next to the Colosseum and was the center of Roman life thousands of years ago. Archeologists are constantly excavating the site and finding out more about this ancient civilization.
Our guide even pointed out a section that was still buried about 20 years earlier, which means when I first visited as a teenager, I wouldn’t have seen this area. How many other sights are constantly changing like that? Not many!
Obviously much of the Forum is in ruins due to age. But we learned on the tour of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum that the buildings were taken apart, stone by stone, by people who were building other structures like churches.
Centuries ago, people just didn’t think about preserving history the way we do now, so it seemed reasonable to them to remove stones and marble to reuse someplace else. But if a building in the Forum was declared a church, it could not be dismantled.
Our guide told us stories about Julius Caesar and other Roman emperors while we walked through the areas they once did. We also walked through Palatine Hill, which was one of the original Seven Hills of Rome and where Roman emperors and the elite once lived.
Skipping the line at the Colosseum
After exploring and learning about the Roman Forum, we went to the Colosseum. As you can imagine, the line was unbearably long. Luckily, because of our tour, we were able to completely bypass the line and go right in. I kind of felt like a rockstar.
Underneath the Colosseum
Next we got to visit the underground level of the Colosseum, another area off limits to visitors with normal tickets. This is where the gladiators prepared and waited until it was their turn to go out onto the main floor. We learned that everything was choreographed to make sure the schedule went as planned, which was even more tricky than you might think since it was so dark in there.
We also learned that the gladiators, despite basically being prisoners, received excellent medical treatment after the shows because they didn’t want every single one of them to die each time. If too many men died, they’d have to be replaced, and the new ones would have to be trained.
It made more sense for the shows to make sure only a few died each time. Still pretty gruesome and cruel to think about, but it was interesting to learn some details I hadn’t heard before.
Top level of the Colosseum
The last place our guide took us was to the third tier, the top level of the Colosseum. Again, we were only allowed up there because we were on this exclusive access tour.
From that high up, we had excellent views of the rest of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and parts of the city. And since no other tourists were around, the experience was much more relaxed and enjoyable.
If you look towards the middle of this next photo, you’ll see an empty platform in a half-circle shape. That’s the arena floor section where we got to go earlier in the Colosseum.
Preparing for the Underground Colosseum Tour
The tour groups are intentionally small, which I always think makes for a better experience. But be aware that the Colosseum has its own regulations, and two groups are combined for the Colosseum portion of the tour. It still didn’t feel like an overly large group though, especially since we were almost always in areas that are off limits to other tourists, so it wasn’t a big deal.
Since the tour is outdoors and almost entirely in areas without shade, make sure you bring lots of water and wear sunscreen. This is especially important if you’re visiting in the summer.
There’s a morning and an afternoon option, so you can choose whichever one works best for your schedule. The tour includes entrance tickets for the Forum and the Colosseum. The tour ends inside the Colosseum, so if you want to explore more of it after the tour, you can.
Why you should take the VIP Underground Colosseum Tour
This is exactly the type of tour we think is worth booking. You get to skip the long lines at the Colosseum, which saves you lots of time and reduces the stress and hassle of waiting around.
The tour takes you to several areas you can’t reach without a tour, or even on many other normal tours. It’s a small group, which makes for a more personal experience.
Throughout the tour, we heard countless stories and interesting facts that made it much more enjoyable to see this historical sight. I don’t always remember all the details after taking tours, but I love hearing the information while I’m there. It heightens the experience, and this Colosseum tour was no exception.
Book the Underground Colosseum and Roman Forum Tour or one of the other Colosseum tours offered by Take Walks:
FAQs about the Underground Colosseum Tour
Here are some frequently asked questions about Rome Colosseum tours and visiting the Colosseum.
Is it worth visiting the Colosseum?
I think it’s worth visiting the Colosseum because of its historical value. It’s one of the most famous sights in Rome, and in the world, and it’s amazing to see it in person.
Is the Colosseum Underground tour worth it?
Yes, absolutely! Someone I know recently visited the Colosseum without a tour and said he didn’t enjoy it because there were way too many people. Even if you’re traveling to Rome on a budget, splurging on this tour will make your experience much more enjoyable.
With the Colosseum Underground tour, your guide will take you to restricted access areas that are not open to the general public. It’s such an amazing experience to be there without being shoulder-to-shoulder with so many other people.
Is it worth going underground at the Colosseum?
Yes, even aside from the perk of getting away from the crowds, it was so cool to see the underground parts of the Colosseum. There’s so much history to soak up here.
Is the night tour of the Colosseum worth it?
The night tour of the Colosseum is a unique experience because it gives you exclusive access to this famous and awe-inspiring attraction without the crowds. It’s after hours, so it feels more relaxed, and the views you’ll have of the Colosseum in different light can’t be beat.
Is it worth getting a guided tour of the Colosseum?
I really do think it’s worth getting a guided tour of the Colosseum for several reasons. A knowledgeable guide will have loads of interesting information to share with you, which you really can’t get without a guide. Even if you could read about it before or after, hearing about the history while you’re actually there is much more meaningful.
A guided tour like the one we took is also the only way to get privileged access to sections of the Colosseum that aren’t open to the general public. This means parts of your tour will be away from the big crowds, so you’ll have a more enjoyable experience. Plus how cool is it to see areas most people can’t get to?
What is the Colosseum dress code?
There is no official dress code to enter the Colosseum. Since you will mostly be outside, dress appropriately for the weather at the time of year when you’re visiting.
Find more helpful info to plan your trip to Italy:
- Which Food Tour in Rome Should You Take?
- Simple Italy Itinerary with ideas for planning one week in Italy
- Why You Should Take an Early Entry Sistine Chapel and Vatican Tour
- 8 Things to Know About Eating in Italy