Tickitaly guided tour; Colosseum & Forum Rome Reviews
Professional guided tour Sep 08, 2013
Having never been to Rome before but being very keen to explore the major attractions in full I decided to book a guided tour for the Colosseum. I came across tickitaly.com and saw they were offering a tour which included the exclusive areas of the dungeon and upper levels, which cannot be accessed by standard entry tickets. I am not a big fan of paying in advance and not actually receiving any physical item, especially to a foreign website, but I went ahead. I did read after of some bad reviews on various websites about tickitaly and I did become nervous that I had paid for nothing, but as I am writing this review it would suggest that I needn't have worried.
The ticket price was 45 Euro which pays for the entry to the Colosseum & exclusive areas, entry to the Forum and of course the guide. The tour lasted 3 hours and roughly split the time in half for the two locations. Certainly the ticket price for this tour is higher than paying for entry to these venues yourself, but you can only access some areas of the Colosseum with these tours and there is no waiting in queues to purchase the tickets as the guide has them already. I went in early September and the lines for tickets were still pretty extensive and so this is a real perk to buying in advance, especially on super hot days!
After booking online you are asked to print out the confirmation and bring it with you to show to your tour guide at the arranged meeting point about 20 minutes before the tour starting. This point was just outside the nearest metro station (Colosseo) where the guide held a sign and waits for all the participants to arrive. I was relieved to see the guide and even more so when she viewed my confirmation and accepted me as part of the tour. There was a slight discrepancy with one group of people who's names were not matching those on the guides list of people, but after a short phone call, it was fine and the guide was very pleasant and professional.
Soon after the maximum 25 people were accounted for and we began the tour and headed straight across the now pedestrianised area around the entrance to the Colosseum. Once inside we took a short bathroom stop in order to be comfortable for the few hours ahead. From here we were joined by an employee of the Colosseum who was required in order to access the dungeon area which has only become accessible to visitors for about 2 years. Before heading down the tour guide explained many things about the outer layer of the arena which had been damaged by earthquakes and modern walls which had been added to stop any more demise of this historic marvel. It was so interesting to hear about the different stone that was used and the techniques used in building such an impressive venue.
The temperature was much cooler underground as we headed towards the foundations, sewers and dungeons. The wooden floor of the arena on which the participants fought has long since disappeared except for a newly built platform for visitors on our tour could use. From above you can see the channels and corridors used to move gladiators and lions about, but it's only when you are down looking up can you see the scale of the stadium and the majesty of it. Despite having access to the exclusive area, you are still required to keep within the limits; the tour must keep together and the employee will be keeping a sturdy eye! We then made our way to the third tier which offers great views to within the stadium and outside towards Arch of Septimius Severus and the Forum.
We then took the short walk across to the Forum and again walked straight passed the queue. We took the path to the right to look back across to the Colosseum and around passed many ancient ruins of different buildings. The guide was great at explaining things as we walked around and fielded any questions people had. Throughout the journey we passed some of the city water taps which was very welcomed especially on the hot day. Although the tour was great it was tiring and I was a little relieved when the 3 hours was up and the tour was finished. The guide provided some more advise on the city before departing and leaving us to explore more at our own leisure.
In short; I think the tour is worth joining and although I can't compare it to others I believe I got value for money. The quality of the guide who's English was clear and very informative, as well as exclusive access and queue jumping, I rate it 8/10. Feel free to ask me any questions on my experience of this tour :)
You can check out some highlights of my tour here: http://youtu.be/jLRQblw6Arg
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