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VIP Colosseum Underground Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill with Walks of Italy

VIP Colosseum Underground Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill with Walks of Italy

Postby Wansbrough » 17 Mar 2015 10:23

I did this tour back in 2013 and thought I had posted a review. It wasn't until I looked for it that I realised that I hadn't. :oops:




Sorry its a bit late Tom, better late than never I suppose. :D In my defence I did touch on it briefly here on my Digital postcard topic. :D Celebrity Silhouette Postcard #5 Civitavecchia

Anyway, couple of years ago I started a topic announcing I had booked a tour of the Colosseum and Forum in Rome with a company called Walks of Italy . A tour around this area was something I had wanted to do for some time and the more than favourable reviews for this company lead me to eventually go ahead and book. Granted they are not the cheapest but I felt the reviews could not all be wrong. Booking was simple and easy to do with everything being done online through the Walks of Italy Website.
Almost instantly a confirmation e-mail was received with details about the meeting place maps which included marked up photos to make the rendezvous with the guide easier.

On the day our journey started in the port of Civitavecchia where we caught the train into Rome, following our arrival we decided to walk to the Colosseum which didn’t take as long as we thought. There were other people on the ship taking the tour who took the metro but we thought it would be much more fun to walk and we only stopped once on the way for a coffee.


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Our allocated meeting point was in front of the Colosseo underground station where we made contact with our guide who was called Jon, we were all issued with radio headsets which at the time was a new thing for us. Walk of Italy tours never consist of more than 12 people and it didn’t take too long for everyone to assemble and we were soon on our way along the Via dei Fori Imperiali towards the entrance to the Roman forum which was our first stop. One of the benefits of doing one of these tours is all the ticketing is taken care of and there is little or no hanging around in queues waiting to gain access to the sites. We were soon inside and Jon wasted no time in getting down to business.

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Jon wasted no time in grabbing our attention and kept us hooked all throughout the tour which started at the Forum and worked down towards the Colosseum itself.


We spent much of the first half of the tour inside the Forum where many things were pointed out to us which had we have gone in on our own we would easily have missed. Our guide Jon really brought the whole place to life with his descriptions and knowledge of the sites history. What you don’t really appreciate is the time span involved with all the different layers of archaeology spread around you. At first glance you would easily dismiss it as being from the same era but after our tour it quite evident that that is not the case.

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We stopped briefly for a comfort break at the bottom of the Forum before making our way past the Arch of Constantine on our way to the Colosseum itself which was the part of the tour that I was really looking forward to. As before our tickets had been pre purchased and Jon lead us through all the queues towards a fenced off area accessed by a gate which was locked and attended by young lady who opened it up and let us through to the other side. The headsets came into their own here because Jon was able to navigate us very easily through the crowds while also slipping in a some nice commentary.

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On the other side of the fence we were again given loads of information about the history of the site and how it came to be in its present state. The reason for the gate was because it was the entrance for the access to the reconstructed arena floor. This is something that WOI include in their tour and another one of the reasons we chose them as our guides. I remember Jon telling us before we walked out that everyone would stare at us and wonder how we got there, but he then added “but you don’t need to worry about them!”

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After passing through a security gate Jon continued to talk us through this amazing piece of history.


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Before eventually leading us out onto the reconstructed arena floor.


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Being able to stand down there and look up at the Colosseum was quite a memorable experience and something I will never forget. When you think of how old it is and what it must been like in its heyday it really is something special and I felt really lucky to have been able to stand where I did.




We were soon on the move to the next special access area which was below the reconstructed arena floor, this area is known as the Hypogeum which is a network of tunnels, passageways, rooms and storage spaces beneath the floor of the main arena and is where the gladiators and animals would have been gathered before awaiting their fate in the arena itself. Much of this area can be seen from above but it was nice to be able go down and see everything from that level. It certainly helps again with putting the Colosseum’s vast size into perspective.




The tour was not quite over and our final special access area was up to the third tier, from here there were some fantastic views over the whole arena and again I felt quite taken aback at the scale of the whole place. This was where the tour ended and where sadly we had to make our exit to get back to the ship on time. Had we have had more time we would wandered around a bit more but unfortunately we had a train to catch!


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This was a very memorable tour for me and one that I will not forget. I particularly like the way Walks of Italy cater for the smaller group and the fact the price includes for access to the special areas. I know they are not alone and other tours do this as well but I cannot fault the professional way they provided our tour and so much so we have decided to use their services again in Venice……… ;)
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VIP Colosseum Underground Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill with Walks of Italy

Postby JollyJill » 17 Mar 2015 10:39

We were discussing returning to Rome only the other day, so I was very interested to read about your walking tour.

I visited the city as part of one our coach tours of Italy many years ago. Although we visited the Forum and Colosseum area, we had very little time and didn't even manage to see the inside of the Colosseum.

We were looking at the possibility of a cruise which stops at Civitavecchia and taking the train to Rome the other day. We will be sure to seriously consider booking a walking tour (time permitting) of the area you described, in the hope of seeing the things I missed on my first visit.
As always W, thanks for the great photos. :thumbup:
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VIP Colosseum Underground Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill with Walks of Italy

Postby adogap » 17 Mar 2015 11:00

Thank you! Thoroughly enjoyed your review and photos Wansbrough. I have never been to Rome and had not appreciated how vast and intricate the Colosseum actually is :o Such a fascinating place! If ever fortunate enough to stop at Civitavecchia I would really want to do this tour :mrgreen:

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Re: VIP Colosseum Underground Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill with Walks of Italy

Postby tomvet » 17 Mar 2015 11:53

Great review and pics (even if it is long overdue!). Definitely something we would consider - it gives such an in depth insight into it all!
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VIP Colosseum Underground Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill with Walks of Italy

Postby Dave » 17 Mar 2015 16:16

Fantastic review and photos - thanks W! :thumbup:

We did a tour of Rome about 18 months ago (with Costa) which was excellent, but it didn't include the Colosseum. Our coach circumnavigated it though but our photos are from the outside - and most are through glass. But we will return and make a point of doing a tour like this one. :D
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VIP Colosseum Underground Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill with Walks of Italy

Postby grannyM » 17 Mar 2015 18:28

Great photos and review W. Thanks for doing it.

We also did a walking tour on a RCI excursion. It was our first visit to Rome and were very disappointed not to actually get inside the Colosseum. The next time we spent so much time at the Vatican we didn't make it to the Colosseum either. Hopefully this year.

What I do remember about the walking tour on that first visit was being almost overwhelmed by being in places like this.

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When our wonderful guide said 'and they took Caesar's body from...' I almost fainted with excitement and had to take deep breaths. T asked me if I was ok and I said "I just can't believe we are here, where it actually happened." :D
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VIP Colosseum Underground Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill with Walks of Italy

Postby judgegeoff » 17 Mar 2015 19:30

Great pictures as usual W, many thanks for sharing them. One of our Rome excursions took us into the Colosseum, but not as good a tour as yours. Next time perhaps...... :D
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VIP Colosseum Underground Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill with Walks of Italy

Postby Wansbrough » 17 Mar 2015 20:39

grannyM wrote:Great photos and review W. Thanks for doing it.
What I do remember about the walking tour on that first visit was being almost overwhelmed by being in places like this.

This sort of tour I could do whenever the opportunity arises.

grannyM wrote:When our wonderful guide said 'and they took Caesar's body from...' I almost fainted with excitement and had to take deep breaths. T asked me if I was ok and I said "I just can't believe we are here, where it actually happened." :D

Like the Temple of the Divine Julius where he was said to have been cremated. :D

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Apparently there always fresh flowers laid out. :shock:
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Re: VIP Colosseum Underground Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill with Walks of Italy

Postby tomvet » 17 Mar 2015 22:56

Out of curiosity (and of course being practical :roll: ) - for the most part, did you notice how buggy accessible was it?
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Re: VIP Colosseum Underground Tour with Roman Forum & Palatine Hill with Walks of Italy

Postby andynew » 17 Mar 2015 23:19

Love Rome, been there a few times now, for 3 or 4 days at a time pre or post cruise, but in all that time have never been inside the Colosseum, just so much else to see, but will definitely consider next time as it looks amazing from those photos
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