Colosseum and Roman Forum Tour (including Palatine Hill)
This incredible tour goes to the very heart of ancient Rome and takes in the Empire’s most iconic monuments. In a group of no more than 25 people, our experienced guide will take you back to the time of gladiator fights at the Colosseum and reveal the secrets of the Roman Forum, which was the political and economic centre of the city and, therefore, of the entire empire. No tour of this area would be complete without exploring the Palatine Hill – the Beverly Hills of ancient Rome, where emperors and nobles resided, high above the riff-raff below.
Welcome to the world of gladiators
The tour begins at the Colosseum, one of the most recognizable structures in the world thanks to its 80 arched entrance gates known as vomitoria. Their name comes from the Latin verb vomere and refers to their function in ‘spewing forth’ the spectators, allowing them to enter and exit the building in exceptionally fast time. Some experts believe the structure could fill with 50,000 people in just 15 minutes and, when the bloodshed was over, empty in an astonishing five minutes. Happily, our group of 25(or fewer) won’t have to leave in such a hurry!
Our guide will take the time to recount the stories of the gladiators – often not gladiators at all, but slaves and criminals with the bad luck to find themselves involved in a deadly public spectacle – and reveal more about the emperors who organised such bloody scenes in the first place. Did you know that at the inaugural games, most likely held in AD 80, over 9,000 wild animals were killed? No, it wasn’t just people who met a grisly fate here; hippos, giraffes, elephants, bears, crocodiles and other wild creatures were brought to the Colosseum from Africa and the Middle East to be hunted and killed in front of the crowd.
Ancient Rome’s beating heart
Next up, we head to the Roman Forum, just a short walk away. At its peak, the Roman Empire encompassed more than five million square kilometers, from England in the north to Egypt in the south. And, it was all controlled from the Roman Forum. The Senate would meet in the Curia building, making administrative decisions that would affect all aspects of life for Roman citizens and subjects around the Empire. The Curia Julia, the third Senate House, is one of the Forums most well-preserved buildings, as your guide will point out. This is due to its conversion into a church in the 7th century as well as later restorations.
The Forum was not just the political and economic centre of Rome, it was also a social and commercial hub. People came from all over to shop in the marketplaces, hear orators make speeches or simply to catch up on the latest gossip. Many of the city’s earliest shrines and temples were also built here, including the House of the Vestal Virgins. We’ll explore what’s left of the House of the Vestals, walking alongside the statues which line the ancient street.
Rome’s most exclusive neighbourhood
Our final task will be to wander up the surprisingly verdant Palatine Hill which overlooks the Forum and affords beautiful panoramic views of the ancient city. Don’t forget to bring your camera as from here you can admire not just the Forum and Colosseum from up high, but also Circus Maximus and the Aventine Hill.
The most famous of Rome’s seven hills, the Palatine is said to be the spot where Romulus founded the city, killing his brother Remus in the process. During the glory days of the empire, this area was Rome’s most exclusive postcode and Augustus, Tiberius and Domitian all built residences here. We’ll explore the ruins of these great palaces and also take in the Stadio, (a stadium used by emperors for private games and events) and the Terme di Settimio Severo (remains of thermals baths built by Septimius Severus).
Your guide will meet you in front of the Angelino ai Fori restaurant. From there you will follow your guide to enter the Colosseum with reservations. After a complete visit of the Colosseum the tour continues up and over the Palatine Hill and the finishes in the Roman Forum
Corner of Largo Corrado Ricci, 40 42 43 43a 25, Via dei Fori Imperiali, 00184 Roma RM, Italy. next to Angelino “ai Fori” restaurant.
20 minutes before the tour time