As a sort of symbol of Roman hedonism, the Colosseum has quite the grim yet intriguing history behind it. To really understand ancient Rome and the incredible power it held, a visit to this magnificent stadium is essential.
Widely considered to be one of the finest examples of architecture and engineering, just witnessing the structure without context is impressive.
However, to really enrich your experience to the fullest, we highly recommend going on one of the top guided tours of the Roman Colosseum, which we’ve hand-picked for you below. Let’s get started!
Top Colosseum Guided Tours
The 7 Best Rated Roman Colosseum Tours For 2023
- Rome: Ancient History and Colosseum Underground Tour
- Rome: Guided Colosseum Night Tour
- Colosseum Underground and Ancient Rome Semi-Private Tour
- Rome: Guided Tour of the Colosseum Underground
- Small-Group Tour of Colosseum Underground, Arena and Forum
- Colosseum Underground and Ancient Rome Tour
- Rome: Colosseum Arena Guided Tour, Forum & Palatine Option
Now lets take a closer look at the guided Colosseum tours in Rome so you can find the right one for you!
Colosseum Tour Reviews
- Departure: Piazza del Colosseo, 58, 00184 Roma RM
- Duration: 3 hours
- Includes: Guided small-group tour, Colosseum skip-the-ticket-line tickets, Colosseum underground tickets, Roman Forum guided tour
- Other: Inside and outside tour
In all honesty, going to the Colosseum on your own is much different than going with a knowledgeable guide and small group. You’re going to get the attention you deserve, while learning in-depth about the vast history of the Roman empire and the average Roman’s way of life.
You’ll see and learn about all that and more on the Rome Ancient History and Colosseum Underground Tour! Your 3-hour tour starts by you meeting up with your guide (departure point varies, depending on option and time booked) and heading right over to the epic structure that is the Colosseum.
The guides waste no time in getting to the good stuff, making this once booming location come to life with its rich history and dramatic tales of gladiator battles, slaves, and savage wildlife! This isn’t any tour, either – you’ll get the chance to see essentially every single area of the Colosseum, including exclusive access to off-limits areas that most don’t get to see.
This is where we head down into the underground chambers, where you’ll get an idea of the fear that Gladiators had to endure while waiting in the secret passages before battle. This is also where the wild animals were held and later transported to the Arena’s main floor.
It seems hard to believe that all of these stories actually happened in just one building, but the guides do an excellent job at mentally transporting you back in time.
Afterward, get back out into the fresh air and venture through this legendary city for an hour or so, lead by your guide. See the Forum, ancient temples, and many other important locations around the capital.
- Departure: In front of Colosseum metro station
- Duration: 75 minutes
- Includes: Guided tour, Skip the line
- Other: Crowd-free, unique view into Colosseum
While the Colosseum is a top sight for just about anyone in Rome, once the sun sets and general entry has stopped for the day, the vibe is a completely different one. Not just anyone is able to be inside at night, but on the Rome: Guided Colosseum Night Tour, you’ll be one of those lucky few!
Walk in the footsteps of brave gladiators through the depths of the epic building before rising up to the arena floor illuminated by moonlight and free of other people.
This is a 75-minute tour so it’s a bit more brief than the first tour, but that doesn’t mean that it’s lacking in experience or information in any way.
Meet up with your guide in front of the Colosseum metro station and head straight in (no lines to deal with, of course!) and revel in the indescribable nighttime atmosphere painted by the echo of your voices and footsteps as you trek on. Your tour kicks off with a walk through the tunnels, chambers, and underbelly of it all.
If you’re into architecture and design, you’ll absolutely be intrigued by the stories and historical accounts the guide has to offer. Learn how the Colosseum was not only a work of art, but genuinely a genius piece of engineering that took incredible time and thought to pull off.
Thanks to the included headphones, you’ll hear your guide clearly, no matter where you are inside the structure. The only part that we weren’t really big on was the VR section of the tour, which was pretty brief but paled in comparison to the rest of the experience.
Overall, it’s a fantastic time that we can’t recommend enough! Even if you’ve already gone on a tour in the daytime, the atmosphere and sections you get to access make it much different!
- Departure: Piazza del Colosseo, 21, 00184 Roma RM
- Duration: 3 hours, 15 minutes
- Includes: Small group, Climb down the Underground and walk onto the Arena of the Colosseum, Enjoy a friendly and professional Local Expert Guide, Skip the long lines
- Other: Explore certain off-limits areas
There’s a big difference in going on one of those massive Colosseum tours with tons of people in a group, and going on a small-group, intimate tour. The latter is exactly what you’ll get with the Colosseum Underground and Ancient Rome Semi-Private Tour MAX 6!
The title kind of says it all, but your group will be limited to just 6 people or less so you all get a personalized experience you’re sure to want to repeat!
Waste no time in line and skip right to the entrance and into the depths of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, and the Roman Forum, with interesting guidance the entire time. The guides really know this area through-and-through, and are typically locals who have spent a large portion of their lives here.
Start our at the underground level, which as we’ve already spoken about, is limited to very few people. After exploring the labyrinth of underground chambers and hearing all about the occasionally deadly battles, you’ll come up to the Arena and see where they fought.
With most tours, you’re only allowed to stroll around the edges, but with this selection you get to actually walk over the original floor. Head over next to the Roman Forum, where you’ll learn about how it served as a marketplace for locals, a site of learning for many artists and architects, as well as which tombs it holds.
Walk up Palatine Hill: one of the Seven Hills of Rome which has also been referred to as “the first nucleus of the Roman Empire”. It not only offers a great view, but will give you valuable insight into how the richest of Rome used to live, with grandiose villas and sheer opulence.
- Departure: Via Del Colosseo 24, Rome
- Duration: 3 hours
- Includes: Guide, Skip-the-line entrance ticket to the Colosseum underground, arena, ground floor, second tier and exhibitions, headsets
- Other: Biggest bang for your buck
If you go check out the Colosseum on your own, you’ll only be able to access 2 levels of the magnificent amphitheater founded nearly 2000 years ago. What if we told you that you could see every possible part of the Colosseum on our next tour?
With the Rome Guided Tour of the Colosseum Underground, you’ll see firsthand where perhaps the most tension was felt as wild animals and gladiators awaited potential battle.
This is also one of the more complete excursions, as you’ll not only get behind-the-scenes in the stadia’s chambers, but will also see the Arena Floor, and the Roman Forum. With your skip-the-line entrance ticket included, there’s no need to deal with the heavy queuing that the Colosseum is also known for.
Your professional guide will take you out onto the Arena floor, making the scene come to life with legends about the gladiators who battled here. Walk through the the West Exit of the Colosseum, known as the “Gate of Death”, as it was the exit where the animals and gladiators who didn’t make it out alive were carried from.
It’s approximated that over 400,000 people and over a million animals unfortunately passed away here, all at the expense of entertainment. Today, things are quite different and whenever a death sentence is overturned anywhere in the world, the Colosseum’s lights change from white to gold – just a little fun fact!
After going through the dungeons, you’ll continue on through a guided tour of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. While Palatine Hill isn’t quite as well-preserved as the Colosseum, it’s still very interesting and is full of fun facts regarding its relevance throughout ancient Rome.
- Departure: Piazza del Colosseo, 21, 00184 Roma RM
- Duration: 3 hours
- Includes: Fast track entrance tickets and reservation fees, thorough guided tour of the Underground section and Arena floor, guided tour of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Live expert guide, sterilized earphones, full on-site assistance
- Other: Skip all lines
When you visit Rome, you’re going there knowing that it’s one of the top tourist cities in the world. It’s pretty much always full of visitors, and more so if you decide to go in the summertime.
However, you can at least skip the massive lines with the Small-Group Tour of Colosseum Underground, Arena and Forum! After meeting up with your guide right outside the Colosseum, you’ll be given headsets so you’ll always be able to clearly hear what your guide is saying, as you continue through the Underground, Arena floors, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill.
Once you enter, you’ll head right onto the Arena floor, where gladiator and wild animal battles were held, as well as mock sea battles they achieved by flooding the floor with water! Then, descend into the Underground floor where you’ll gain insight into the situations the Gladiators were put in, with wild animals held in cages here.
The guides do a great job with their historical commentary on the different stories about gladiators, government, engineering, and much more. After the Colosseum, take a break and then head on over to the archaeoloical area of the Roman Forum.
The Roman Forum is the most important forum of ancient Rome, where many public meetings, courts of law, and gladiator combats took place. Get some fresh air with a stroll along the paths up to Palatine Hill, where you’ll learn of the legend of Romulus and Remus creating the foundation of the city.
It also became somewhat of a kind of “Beverly Hills” where the city’s most powerful families took up residence. The breathtaking view from up here gives you a fantastic vista of the Circus Maximus, too!
- Departure: Via Del Colosseo 24, Roma
- Duration: 3 hours
- Includes: Guide, Skip-the-line entrance ticket to the Colosseum, access to the underground, arena, ground floor, second tier, and exhibition, headsets
- Other: VIP experience
This is yet another one of our favorites, with this tour cutting down everything that isn’t necessary to having a great Colosseum experience. You don’t have to worry about waiting in line with the skip-the-line tickets, and you’ll gain access to many cool places most don’t get to see!
The Colosseum Underground and Ancient Rome Tour is perfect if you’re a history buff looking for an in-depth excursion about the empire and this epic structure! Just like with many of the others, after meeting your guide you’ll be provided a headset to ensure you never miss anything they have to say.
The first hour of the tour is dedicated purely to the Colosseum, and you’ll start off with the Arena floor, followed by the underground chambers, ground floor, and many other areas important to the battles and general operation of the building.
Even if you already know quite a lot about Roman history, you’re sure to learn some new and intriguing facts from your guide’s exciting stories! This VIP experience will have you feeling truly important, where you pass the roped-off areas to see another side of this ancient world.
The guides themselves only add to this, offering to take photos, answer questions, and generally making sure everyone has a top-notch experience. They’ll point out how the most “important” families would sit in different elevated, more comfortable seats, like how the emperor was perched high above the Arena to decide countless gladiators’ fates.
You’ll then spend the rest of your tour venturing through the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill – both of which are crucial to understanding Ancient Roman times.
- Departure: Various
- Duration: 1 to 3 hours
- Includes: Guide, Entrance to the Colosseum Arena (if option selected), Roman Forum and Palatine Hill tour (with the 3-hour option), Entrance to the Colosseum Underground (depending on option selected), Skip-the-line entrance, Headsets
- Other: Customizable tour
Hop right into the deep end of ancient Roman history with the Rome: Colosseum Arena Guided Tour, Forum & Palatine Option. This is not only a small-group tour for an intimate experience, but also a fully-customizable one where you get to go on the parts only interesting to you and leave out the rest.
When you’re visiting a place full of so many things to do such as Rome, there’s no time to waste on seeing things you aren’t interested in doing! The structure of the Colosseum from the outside is pretty mind-blowing, seeing as it’s absolutely massive and built with impeccable attention to detail.
You’ll find out soon enough that a visit to this building is much more than just a retelling of gorey gladiator legends. It’s truly a beautiful piece of art that holds so many stories, covering all the way from ancient times to modern ones.
Riddled with secret passageways and trap doors, you’ll get to see the underground area (if you choose) to see the labyrinth of tunnels for yourself! Today, it is exposed to air, but at the time of operation it was hidden beneath the arena floor.
Wild animals were kept caged here, as well as gladiators – all waiting to battle on the main floor for thousands of peoples’ entertainment! After learning about the culture, religion, and everyday life of Romans who attended the shows here, you’ll then head to the Sacred Road inside the Roman Forum.
This important street leads through the various temples, including the ruins of the temple of Cesare and Saturn. Then, head up to the top of Palatine Hill and take in the incredible views of the Roman Forum as well as some ruins of Imperial palaces!
FAQs About The Roman Colosseum
What is the best way to see the Roman Colosseum?
You can purchase a ticket and tour the Colosseum on your own with an audio guide. You will get the basics by doing this but we would highly recommend a guided tour. An expert tour guide will give you so much more information than the audio guide and make the Colosseum come alive with it’s history. You will also be able to skip the long lines that come with the tourist season! The Ancient History and Colosseum Underground Tour is our recommended tour.
What is the Roman Colosseum?
The Colosseum is an amphitheater in the center of Rome. It was most commonly used for gladiator fights and executions for entertaining the Roman citizens.
How do I get to the Colosseum?
The Colosseum is just east of Palatine Hill. You can get there by taking the metro train (line B). Buses are available (lines 60, 75, 85, 87, 271, 571, 175, 186, 810, 850, C3, and 117) and lastly you can take the tram (line 3). If you don’t want to deal with the hassles of public transportation you can also take an Uber or a taxi.
How big is the Colosseum?
The Colosseum 620 ft long by 513 ft wide and is four stories tall. When at full capacity it could seat 50,000 spectators. Believe it or not, the spectators would be shaded by a huge retractable awning called velarium. The arena floor has a sand floor and had trapdoors and elevators that animals and gladiators used to get to the ground level.
What can I see inside the Colosseum?
While the Colosseum is in ruins, you can still see whats left of the seating area and the arena floor. The most interesting part of any tour is seeing the underground chambers where the animals and gladiators stayed until it was there turn to go to the arena floor. Most tickets give you access to the upper level that gives you a view of the surrounding city.
When is the best time of year to see the Colosseum?
The Colosseum is open every day except for New Years day and Christmas. The hours vary depending on the time of year. The best time to go is the early morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and heat. Your ticket includes access to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. We would highly recommend you buy your tickets well in advance and take a guided tour with skip-the-line access.