Just think of the spectacles that have been seen within the walls of Rome’s mighty Colosseum. Nowadays the only spectacle is that of visitors and tour groups roving around the outer walls, trying to imagine what it would have been like to cheer on gladiators and chariots as they duelled in the ring. Dating back to around AD70, it is remarkably well preserved and is one of Rome’s must-see destinations, something that most visitors to the city take to heart.
The building itself is simply stunning, built of sturdy stone blocks linked with iron clamps to form an elliptical structure. There are various sections to the building and one of the best ways to gain insight into the significance of each area is on a tour with a knowledgeable guide. There are many options, with some of them also incorporating the other significant Roman ruins, like the Forum, that can be found nearby. Here are five of the best Colosseum tours available that include skip-the-line tickets.
From €52/ per person
As one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Colosseum is understandably quite heavily protected, and that tends to mean restricted access to visitors. This excellent skip-the-line tour not only gets you into the iconic building faster, but also gets you access to the arena floor to get a sense of what it would have felt like to be a gladiator. Enter through Gladiator’s Gate, spend a brief amount of time in the arena with your guide, before seeing a reconstructed version of the animal lift, that would have hoisted lions and the like up into the arena. Guides are available in English, German or French.
From €32/ per person
This tour in two parts starts out at the Colosseum, where an expert guide to the building will help guide you through priority access, while depicting the Roman history that led to both this kind of building, and the kinds of spectacles it held. Depending on whom you ask, the Colosseum could hold anywhere from 50-65 thousand people. After the Colosseum you will then meet your second guide, who will show you a different side of Ancient Rome, the political one demonstrated by the sights of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Comfortable shoes are recommended.
FROM: €20/per person
If time is against you and you’d prefer to experience the Colosseum without a guide, then this skip-the-queue priority ticket will at least ensure that no time is wasted waiting in line to get inside. Get a great look at the Colosseum as it is today and imagine how it once was, the creation of a Roman Republic that had a thirst for violent sports, and which built one of the world’s finest buildings as a venue to hold them. With this ticket you will get access to four tiers of the amphitheatre, as well as entry to the Roman Forum.
From €30/ per person
Ancient Rome was a vast, sprawling city, and many of the remains, now thousands of years old, are still visible. The highlight may be the Colosseum, but this tour allows visitors to explore the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill as well, in order to get a more complete overview of what life would have been like under Roman rule. Skip the line to gain access to the Colosseum while hearing about Roman betrayal, intrigue and political backstabbing. Okay, so not much has changed in that regard, but this is where the techniques of today’s leaders were honed. Other highlights include the Arch of Constantine and the view over Circus Maximus.
From €129/ per person
For a much more comprehensive overview of Ancient Rome over a four-hour tour, this option hits all the high notes, including a trip up to the fifth-tier of the Colosseum, often off-limits to most visitors, as well as a chance to delve underground, to the cells in which gladiators and animals were held before being unleashed into the arena to the baying masses. Take in the temples and law courts from which Rome’s mighty empire was organised and rules, before ending atop Palatine Hill.