Choosing just one Roman Colosseum Tour can be difficult
So you’ve decided to take a Roman Colosseum tour.
Back in the day it was a simple yes or no. You either wanted a tour of the Roman Colosseum or you didn’t. Now there are so many options. Do you want a Colosseum underground tour? What group size will suit you best? Do you want to see the other Ancient Roman ruins too? Should you go in the morning or afternoon? Is it wrong to do your Colosseum tour by hovercraft?
To help you make your decision we’ve put together a quick run-down of what’s what in the world of Roman Colosseum tours.
A standard Roman Colosseum tour or general access Roman Colosseum ticket will allow you to enter the first and second levels, from where you can see all of the ancient structure. Areas not included on standard Colosseum tours include the Colosseum underground, the arena floor and the third tier.
The Colosseum underground is a fantastic visit, taking in both a reconstruction and the original ruins of the underground level where gladiators and animals were once kept before they were hoisted onto the arena floor. The arena floor is a small reconstructed area that juts out over the underground offering you a gladiator’s view of the Roman Colosseum (it’s our favorite vantage point) and the third tier gets you up higher, to the area to which women were once confined for beautiful views over the amphitheater and the ruins beyond. The Colosseum underground and arena floor are covered in our Colosseum Night Tour while our Semi-Private Roman Colosseum Tour a Colosseum underground tour, an arena floor tour and a tour of the third tier.
A Colosseum underground tour is well worth considering
A lot of Roman Colosseum tours (and all of our tours apart from the Colosseum Night Tour) include a tour of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. These are other, older ruins only a short distance from the Roman Colosseum which, archaeologically and historically speaking, are actually much more important than the amphitheater. Admission price to these ruins is covered in the price of your Roman Colosseum ticket.
There are certain times of year where you may want to think carefully about the timing of your Colosseum visit. During the summer months you’ll want to stay out of the midday sun (especially if you’re traveling with kids) so touring in the early morning or after 2pm will suit you – although a Colosseum Night Tour might best. During the winter it matters less since the heat isn’t an issue and crowds (at their peak in the morning) are smaller.
For second-time visitors we recommend trying a Colosseum Night Tour. It’s a great opportunity to see a different side to the Roman Colosseum, plus you’ll get into the Colosseum underground level. This tour doesn’t visit the Roman Forum or Palatine Hill (covering it all in a view from the Campidoglio instead), making it a great option for visitors who have seen these before.
The Colosseum Arena Floor offers great views
It goes without saying that the smaller the tour group, the better – better for moving around easily, better for hearing your guide, better for being able to ask questions. The decision comes down to price point though. We cap our Colosseum Group Tours at 25 people or less so they’re never crowded but if you’d rather something a little more intimate and can’t afford a private tour, why not opt for the middle-ground – a Semi-Private Tour with group sizes of 10 people or less.
History and archaeology buffs wishing to dig deeper may want to visit the Capitoline Museums as well as the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine hill. The Museum houses artefacts uncovered during excavations of those and other Ancient Roman ruins as well as artworks from that era and others. Our Full-Day Ancient Rome Tour covers all of the above.
For more information check out our Colosseum tour comparison table to find the Colosseum tour that ticks your boxes.