Ancient Rome Tour with The Roman Guy
Visiting Rome is on most people’s bucket list but deciding what to see in Rome in a short time frame can be somewhat overwhelming. No matter what you finally decide on, your Rome experience will be forever etched in your heart. I’ve been fortunate to visit Rome on a few occasions and I’m now starting to visit Rome like I’m a local.
New visitors to the Eternal City must see the Rome city wonders – Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and the magnificent Rome Colosseum. Preparation is the key to enjoying the best that Rome has to offer. It is essential that you Skip the Line and book Rome tours well in advance to ensure you see and learn all about the ancient history of Rome.
Best Rome Tour Guides
There are a dime-a-dozen Rome tour operators however not all tour guides are created equal! With limited time on your hands, it is important that you connect with the best Rome tour operators. I can highly recommend ‘The Roman Guy’ Italian tours and experiences, as they offer the best small group and private guided tours throughout Italy. I believe, their passionate English-speaking guides are the best informative tour guides in Rome.
Although, I have been to the Colosseum before, I decided on my recent Rome visit that I would take the Colosseum Underground and Arena Floor Tour with The Roman Guy. To skip the line, pre-purchase Colosseum tickets online. It’s super easy.
Elena our local English-speaking tour guide took our small group of 12 on a guided walk of the Ancient City (Roman Forum and Palatine Hill) as well. Elena spoke in detail about Rome history and the Rome Empire.
Dungeons and Passageways
The three-and-a-half-hour tour started in the Colosseum dungeons where the slaves and animals were kept and awaited their grisly fate. Hundreds of wild animals were stored below the Colosseum for 3 or 4 days without food before an event. Slave hunters fought the wild animals (not the gladiators) with most hunters being mauled to death. The highlight of the games was the last act of the day when the gladiators did battle on the Arena floor in front of the roaring crowd.
In 2010, after a $1.4 million renovation project the Colosseum underground was opened to the public. The Hypogeum as it is known is an entire network of underground passages, tunnels, lifts and trapdoors. Here is where our guide explained the architectural history behind the roman construction of the Colosseum and how the gladiators and wild animals could appear onto the arena floor like magic. As I wandered through the underground network I could imagine the gladiators walking these same corridors and feel the slaves terror!
Who Built The Colosseum?
This magnificent stone and concrete monument was built by tens of thousands of Jewish slaves between 72AD and 80AD. It is the largest oval shaped amphitheatre in the world measuring 189m long x 156m wide and around the height of a 12-story building. The original Arena floor was made of timber and the building could seat almost 60,000 screaming spectators and VIPs. A large awning of sails called a ‘Velarium’ was used to protect the spectators from the burning sun and Rome summer heat. Today, only one-third of the Colosseum remains after being damaged by fires, earthquakes and vandals. Your best Instagram photo opportunities are from The Arena Floor of the Colosseum.
After taking dozens of photos, the tour continued to the Colosseum’s first and second levels. The Emperors once sat here and this is where our guide educated us on the rules of the gladiatorial games for both competitors and spectators. The women’s section was located on the top level with no seats or water fountains unlike the other levels.
Ancient City of Rome | The Forum Tour
Included in the Colosseum Arena Floor ticket is a guided ancient Rome tour of the Roman ruins inside The Forum. Referred to as the “Ancient City”, this Roman archaeological site was once the location of downtown Ancient Rome. During our tour, we visited the most famous Roman Forum buildings, including the Temple of Julius Caesar, Arch of Titus, the Roman Senate House and more.
Julius Caesar Temple
The Julius Caesar Temple was built in his honour and this is the location where his body was burned after he was stabbed to death at Largo di Torre Argentina. I found the guide’s tales of Mark Antony, Cleopatra and the Vestal Virgins totally fascinating. Rome’s Eternal Flame is now only ruins but the story lives on how the Vestal Virgins took vows of chastity and were charged with keeping a sacred fire that was never to be extinguished.
The largest building in the forum is the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, a magnificent structure that towers above all the other building in the area. Senate House is where all the most important decisions of the time were made by the emperors and the senators. Walking on the original ancient stone streets today, you can’t help ponder at the life of those who once walked these very same streets.
Palantine Hill | Perfect for Picnics and Sunsets
Also included in The Roman Guy ticket is a guided tour of Palatine Hill situated on one of the seven founding hills of Rome. Palatine Hill in my opinion is one of the best ancient sites in Rome. According to legend, Lupercal Cave at Palatine Hill is where the she-wolf saved the young twins Romulus and Remus from certain death by suckling them from her teats. In adulthood, Romulus killed Remus in anger and later became the first King of Rome. The panoramic sights from the hill offer unparalleled views over the Roman Forum and Rome city.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Roman Guy tour of the Colosseum Underground and Arena Floor plus learning about the history surrounding The Forum and Palatine Hill. This tour is an ideal way of ticking off a number of key sights in Rome in a short time.
Tips: Take a hat, water, sunscreen and a few snacks. Toilets are available, just ask your guide for the nearest one.
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Italy Blog Series
Italy has captured the hearts of travellers for centuries. It is a country that you will want to visit again and again. You will adore the history, architecture, food and its people. Our Italy blog series will help you to discover the best of Italy, fall in love with all things Italian and enhance your stay in this magnificent country. Ciao!
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