Planets Email Us blog twitter

Colosseum & Forum Tours

 

The Birth of Rome

By looking at these hills, we can see quite clearly how Rome must have come into being, and how it became a powerful city. The location of these hills was favorable for defense, and for the beginning of a strong settlement. Situated about eighteen miles from the mouth of the Tiber, they were far enough removed from the sea to be secure from the attacks of the pirates that infested these waters; while the river afforded an easy highway for commerce.

Their Relation to One Another. To understand the relation of these hills to one another, we may consider them as forming two groups, the northern and the southern. The southern group comprised three hills—the Palatine, the Caelian, and the Aventine—arranged in the form of a triangle, with the Palatine projecting to the north. The northern group comprised four hills, arranged in the form of a crescent or semicircle,in the following order, beginning from the east: the Esquiline, the Viminal, the Quirinal, and the Capitoline—the last being a sort of spur of the Quirinal. These two groups of hills became, as we shall see, the seats of two different settlements. Of all the hills on the Tiber, the Palatine occupied the most central and commanding position. It was, therefore, the people of the Palatine settlement who would naturally become the controlling people of the seven-hilled city.

Their Relation to Neighboring Lands. By looking at the neighboring lands about the Tiber we see that Rome was located at the point of contact between three important countries. On the south and east was Latium, the country of the Latins, already dotted with a number of cities, the most important of which was Alba Longa. On the north was the country of the Sabines, a branch of the Sabellian stock. On the northwest was Etruria, with a large number of cities organized in confederacies and inhabited by the most civilized and enterprising people of central Italy. The peoples of these three different countries were pushing their outposts in the direction of the seven hills. It is not difficult for us to see that the time must come when there would be a struggle for the possession of this important locality.

Union of the Romans and the Sabines.The two hill-towns which thus faced each other naturally became rivals for the possession of the lands near the Tiber; but being so nearly of equal strength, neither could conquer the other. If these settlements had not been so close together, they might have indulged in occasional strife and still remained separate; but being near to each other, they were obliged to be constantly at war, or else to come to some friendly understanding. They chose the latter course, and after forming an alliance, were united by a permanent league, and really became a single city. To celebrate this union, the intervening space was dedicated to the two-faced god, Janus, who watched the approaches of both towns, and whose temple was said to have been built by Numa. The Capitoline hill was chosen as the common citadel. The space between the two towns was used as a common market place (forum), and also as a place for the common meeting of the people (comitium). This union of the Palatine and Quirinal towns into one community, with a common religion and government, was an event of great importance. It was, in fact, the first step in the process of which afterward made Rome the most powerful city of Latium, of Italy, and finally of the world.

Capitoline Hill

The Capitol Square and the "Cordonata", large stairway leading to the top, are among the best creations by Michelangelo as an architect . The square is lined by three palaces, the New Palace and the Conservators' Palace (which house the Capitoline Museums, among the oldest and most important public collection of antique statuary in the world) and the Senatorial palace, Centrex of political power in Rome. It was built over the ruins of the Tabularium. It has a double staircase, adorned with Roman statues at its base. At its corner stands a column upon which there is a copy of the famous bronze statue of the she-wolf, emblem of Rome. In the middle of the square stands the copy of the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. The original, cast in bronze and then gilded, has survived intact because it was thought to represent Constantine, first Christian emperor.

Quirinal Hills

Opposite the Palatine settlement there grew up a settlement on the Quirinal hill. This Quirinal settlement seems to have been an outpost or colony of the Sabine people, just as the Palatine settlement was a Latin colony. The Sabines were pushing southward from beyond the Anio. The settlers on the Quirinal were called Tities; their colony formed a second hill-town, similar in character and nearly equal in extent to the Palatine town.

Caelian Hill

The union of the Romans (Ramnes) and the Sabines (Tities) was followed by the introduction of a third people, called the Luceres. This people was probably a body of Latins who had been conquered and settled upon the Caelian hill, although they are sometimes regarded as having been Etruscans. Whatever may have been their origin, it is quite certain that they soon came to be incorporated as a part of the whole city community. The city of the early Roman kings thus came to be made up of three divisions, or "tribes" (tribus, a third part, from tres, three). The evidence of this threefold origin was preserved in many institutions of later times. The three settlements were gradually united into a single city-state with common social, political, and religious institutions.

Palatine Hill

Recent excavations show that people lived there since approximately 1000 BC. According to Roman mythology, the Palatine hill was where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf that kept them alive.

The Palatine Hill (Latin Palatium) is the centermost of the seven hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city. Massive retaining walls extended the area on the Palatine and used for the Imperial building complex. The emperors of Rome built their palaces on the Palatine and the ruins of the palaces of Caesar Augustus, Tiberius and Diocletianus are still to be seen. The term 'palace' itself stems from Palatium. Private hunts, games and fights were held at the Stadium Of Domitian on the Palatine Hill. Columns ran the entire length of this stadium.

Palatine hill is some 70 meters high and looks down on one side upon the Forum Romanum and on the other side upon the Circus Maximus.

The site is now a large open-air museum and can be visited during day time. The entrance can be found near the Arch of Titus on the Forum Romanum.

The Palatine Hill (Latin Palatium) is the centermost of the seven hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city.

Massive retaining walls extended the area on the Palatine and used for the Imperial building complex. The emperors of Rome built their palaces on the Palatine and the ruins of the palaces of Caesar Augustus, Tiberius and Diocletianus are still to be seen. The term 'palace' itself stems from Palatium. Private hunts, games and fights were held at the Stadium Of Domitian on the Palatine Hill. Columns ran the entire length of this stadium.

Palatine hill is some 70 meters high and looks down on one side upon the Forum Romanum and on the other side upon the Circus Maximus.

The site is now a large open-air museum and can be visited during day time. The entrance can be found near the Arch of Titus on the Forum Romanum.

Roman Forum

The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum), a marshy ground between the Palatine and Capitoline Hills became the central area around which ancient Rome developed, in which commerce, business, trading and the administration of justice, elections were held, the Senate assembled and triumphal processions took place. It lay roughly at the Centrex of a circle of hills upon which grew small villages. Their inhabitants used the valley as a burial ground. In the VII cent B.C., under the Etruscan king Tarquin the Elder, the stagnant water in the Forum was drained into the Tiber through a channel which was to become the great Sewer Cloaca Maxima, it was paved and became a real square at the Centrex of a town.

It was full of temples, basilicas and 3 triumphal arches used by emperors to commemorate their victories. The first one, constructed by Augustus, does not exist anymore the Arch of Titus, built in 81 A.D. commemorates the victory in the Jewish War and near the capitoline hill is the Arch of Septimius Severus built in 203 A.D. to commemorate the victory over the Parthians. The Curia was the location where the senate assembled.

The first Temple of Saturn was built in 497 BC and was used as a treasury and housed the banners of the legions and the senatorial decrees. Only three Corinthian columns remain of the Temple of the Dioscuri built in 5th century B.C. to and dedicated to the Gemini twins Castor and Pollux. Remains of several other temples and basilicas can be found at the forum romanum, among them the Basilica of Constantine & Maxentius, the Basilica Aemilia, the Temple of Romulus, the Temple of Vesta, House of the Vestal virgins and Basilica Julia built by Julius Caesar a court of civil jurisdiction where magistrates held tribunals.

The Temple of Antoninus and Faustina was built in 141 A.D. by emperor Antoninus to honor his deceased wife Faustina. The last monument built inside the Forum is the Column of Phocas. The outstanding building which rises next to it was the Basilica of Maxentius, started by that Emperor in the early IV century.

The forum was gradually surpassed by a number of large imperial fora forming a complex with the Forum Romanum: the Forum Julium, Forum Augustum, the Forum Transitorium and Trajan's Forum. During the Middle Ages, its monuments were for the most part buried under debris, and its location was designated the Campo Vaccinio

The buildings we see today in the Forum do not date back to the same period and were not discovered at the same time. The sacred Way was the most famous street in ancient Rome, along which victorious generals rode in triumphal procession proceeding to the Capitoline Hill to give thanks to Jupiter, the Great and Good.

Immediately on its right are the ruins of the Basilica Emilia (named after the Aemilia family), it was used for the administration of justice. Walking forwards the Sacred Way, stands the great Curia Iulia, seat of the Senate.

In front of it is the Lapis Niger, an area paved with black marble slabs which the Romans believed was the tomb of Romolus. Beyond the Curia rises the Arch of Septimus Severus.

The northern short side of the Forum was closed by the Rostra, the orators' platform to which the Romans had fixed the prows (rostra) of the enemy ships defeated at Antium (338 B.C.). Between the Rostra and the Tabularium (the state archive) rose the temples of Concord, of Vespasian and of Saturn linking the Forun to the Capitoline Hill.

On the south-east corner of the Forum stands the Basilica Julia, used for the administration of Justice. On this side of the Forum rise many bases of statues and an honorary column dedicated to the Emperor Foca in 608 B.C.

To the east of the Basilica Julia stand three columns belonging to the temple of the Dioscuri while in the centre of the Forum is the Temple of Caesar (29 B.C.) dedicated to the 'god' Julius Caesar. Immediately to the east of the temple of Caesar is the Regia which was held to have been the residence of the second king of Rome, Numa. Right in front it stands one of the most ancient and important sanctuaries of Rome, the temple of Vesta, and next to it the House of the Vestal Virgins.

At the north-west end of the Forum stands the Temple of Venus and Rome, erected by the Emperor Hadrian (135 A.D.). The southern short side of the Forum is closed by the Arch of Titus (around 81 A.D.)

Colosseum

The Flavian Amphitheatre, better known as the Colosseum (Coliseum), is probably the most famous monument in the world. It is the largest structure for entertainment ever built by the Romans for gladiator fights, hunting simulations involving ferocious and exotic animals and executions.

Built by the emperors Vespasian and his son Titus and given as a gift to the Roman citizens, the Colosseum was finished in 80AD and inaugurated with 100 days of games. 60-70,000 spectators could enter through 80 arches and after spending the entire day there, could leave in under 20 minutes. In warm weather the audience was protected from the sun by an large canopies maneuvered by sailors of the imperial fleet. The building was constructed with blocks of stone and brickwork. The arena itself was a huge wooden floor covered with sand while the subterranean underground passages consisted of a series of tunnels where the wild beasts and various equipment used during spectacles were held.

It became known as the colosseum because of an enormous bronze statue of Nero which in the second century A.D. was placed near by the monument. This elliptical colossal construction, with a height of 48 meters, has impressed and fascinated men of all Ages. It was with no doubt the most favourite place by the Romans, who came to prefer above all other entertainment the slaughter of men armed to kill and be killed for their amusement. The amphitheatre consisted of four floors. The first floor was 11,50 meters high adorned by half columns of the Doric order. The second floor, in the Ionic order, was 11,85meters high. The third floor, in the Corinthian order, was 11,60 meters high. The fourth floor consisted of a plain wall with projecting corbels which supported the bases of the masts to which on days of strong sun were attached the strips of giant awning which sheltered the spectators. Staircases and galleries led the crowd to the different tiers of seats.

The Colosseum remained in service for four and a half centuries prior to damage by lightening and earthquakes The last gladiatorial combat was recorded in 404AD, and the last hunt in 523AD. Nobody could afford the enormous expenses required to organize the events, and this made the function of the building obsolete. When the amphitheatre was closed, it was used for burials.

In the Middle Ages the Colosseum was transformed into a fortress and later used as a quarry of building material. Many palaces and churches and even parts of the Vatican were built with the stones of the Colosseum The iron clamps that held the blocks of travertine together were extracted and melted down for other purposes, leaving the holes that are visible throughout the structure.

Arch of Constatine

This impressive arch which stands next to the Colosseum is one of the largest arches built by the Romans. Constantine was the emperor who brought a semblance of peace to a Rome that had been fraught with civil war on and off for a hundred years. He gained power by defeating the emperor Maxentius in the famous battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312 CE. The arch was built for Constantine by the Senate and people of Rome in 315 CE to commemorate his victory over Maxentius. The arch has three portals and is richly decorated with statues and carved reliefs. The four statues around the upper story were from a monument of Trajan's time and represent Dacian warriors against whom Trajan had fought a successful war. The panels between them come from monuments built for the emperor Marcus Aurelius, while the medallions (between the portals and the upper story) come from Hadrian's time (117-138). The reliefs that were executed expressly for the arch tell of episodes from the life of Constantine.

 

Details

Visit Hidden Rome

crossing the bridge
See Trastevere

Crossing the narrow streets leading to the ancient Jewish Ghetto we will appreciate the charm of a town quite foreign to the bustle of a capital city.

Take this small group tour and discover the other side of the river.

More Details

 

Colosseum Day
Stones

The Glory of Imperial Rome - Coloseum and Forum

The Capitol, citadel of Ancient Rome. Reached by switch back path up from the Forum, the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitol was the center of the Roman world. The Temple was the stage for all of the sacred  religious and political ceremonies.

The Coliseum was built in AD 72  by the Emperor Vespasian as an entertainment site for the public. Vespian had been a professional soldier before becoming Emperor and loved the battle. He built the forum to show off Deadly Gladiator combats, wild animal fights and public executions. The shows were free of charge, paid for by the emperor and wealthy citizens. It is one of many amphitheaters that were built by the Roman Empire, but it remains today the most impressive symbol of the empire.

an arrowInquiry Form
Arch of Constatine

Colosseum Tours

Escorted Small Group Tour

See Ancient Rome's major sights and skip the queues for the Colosseum and Palatine Hill. Perfect for first-time visitors, this guided morning walking tour is the ideal introduction to Ancient Rome

more details

From $36.00

Ancient Rome and Colosseum Half-Day Walking Tour

Duration: 3 hrs

Cost: $65.00 pp

Itinerary Details & Secure Online Booking

To request a private guided tour or for larger groups use the above Inquiry Form

Several major sites are covered in just three hours, and you'll receive enlightening insights into Rome's millennia of history as you stroll, without wasting time waiting in line.

Your tour begins atop the Colle Oppio with a panoramic view of the Colosseum, Rome's most recognizable landmark. Next, you will skip the long lines and gain special access to the Colosseum. Once inside, your expert official guide will take you through the bloody past of the amphitheater as you listen to tales of gladiators, mock sea-battles and executions.

After a brief rest at the Arch of Constantine, you will arrive at the Palatine Hill, the most famous of the seven hills of Rome. From here you can admire the views of the Roman Forum and Nero’s Circus Maximus where chariot races were held. Romulus and Remus were said to have been found on the Palatine Hill by the she-wolf who nursed and raised them. Legend also holds that Romulus went on to found Rome.

The last stop on your tour is a walk along the Via Sacra or 'Sacred Way', the main path through the Roman Forum that was used for triumphal processions. The tour ends at the temple which houses the altar where Julius Caesar was cremated. Visitors from around the world still leave flowers and candles at this site to this day.

 

 

Ancient Rome Half-Day Walking Tour

Duration: 3 hrs

Cost: $36.00 pp

Itinerary Details & Secure Online Booking

To request a private guided tour or for larger groups use the above Inquiry Form

Take a walk through Rome's 2,000 years of history with an expert guide who'll bring the past alive. You'll have a hands-on history lesson at key ancient sites including the Colosseum, Forum and Pantheon on this fascinating half-day tour. The entertaining and informative three-hour walking tours are often led by skilled archaeologists, who can help unlock Rome's many secrets.

Perfect for first-time visitors, this guided walking tour is the ideal introduction to Rome's famous sights, leaving you with time in the day free to explore the city at your leisure. The afternoon walking tour (held in the morning on Sundays) visits Rome’s best known ancient sights, including the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Capitoline Hill, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona. Several major sites are covered in a short period of time, and you’ll receive enlightening insights into the city's millennia of history as you stroll.

While your local guide is trained to educate you in history, politics and architecture, they will also make the daily life and times of ancient Rome come to life with enthusiasm and humor. In three hours you'll relive life in ancient Rome as a gladiator, emperor, slave, Vestal Virgin, senator, merchant and goddess!

The tour includes inside visits of the Colosseum and Roman Forum. However, the entrance fee is NOT included in the tour price, so a supplement will be payable direct on the day of travel.

Forum

Archeology Tour

Dig deep on this small group tour exploring Ancient Rome's archaeological sites: the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

more details

From $38.00

Ancient and Archaeological Rome Half-Day or Full-Day Tour

Duration: 3 hrs

Cost: $38.00-92.00 pp

Itinerary Details & Secure Online Booking

Choose a morning or afternoon tour - or book both, with lunch included, for a comprehensive introduction. You'll travel in a personalized small group with maximum 15 people!

Morning Tour (3 hours)
Your morning tour unravels the mysteries of the Colosseum, built in the 1st century A.D. It was the largest amphitheater of the ancient world, seating fifty thousand spectators!

Next, you'll walk to the Palatine Hill, the ancient residence of the Caesars. This excavation site was originally built by Domitian and only rediscovered by archaeologists in the 20th century. At the Palatine Antiquarium, examine findings from the first villages and shepherd huts including frescoes and sculptures. Observe the Loggia Mattei set among ancient imperial ruins of the Palace of Domitian.

The morning tour concludes at Loggia Mattei, or you can choose to add the afternoon tour and lunch at a restaurant in the town center (optional).

Afternoon Tour (3 hours)

Begin your afternoon tour at the Roman Forum (2:30pm) and learn how public life in ancient Rome took place. Let your expert guide lead you through basilicas and temples honoring the origins of Rome and its mythical founders!

Journey back through the centuries, visiting the Campidoglio from the Republican Age and sacred temples dedicated to the Capitoline Triad. The Renaissance-style Capitoline Square was designed by Michelangelo during the 16th century.

Next, visit the Capitoline Museums to admire magnificent marble and bronze statues, paintings and a collection of Imperial portraits.

The afternoon tour concludes on the Caffarelli Terrace, where you can appreciate unrivaled views of the Roman Forum.

 

Circus Maximus

Imperial Rome

Escorted Group Tour

Explore Rome's ancient Roman Imperial-era attractions on an afternoon tour that combines a little walking with relaxed sightseeing by coach.

more details

$47.00

Roman Imperial-era attractions

Duration: 3 hrs

Cost: $47.00 pp

Itinerary Details & Secure Online Booking

To request a private guided tour or for larger groups use the above Inquiry Form

This half-day afternoon tour is the perfect introduction to Rome's famous Imperial sights: the Roman Forum, Colosseum and St Paul's Basilica.

Explore Rome's ancient Roman Imperial-era attractions on an afternoon tour that combines a little walking with relaxed sightseeing by coach. This half-day afternoon tour is the perfect introduction to Rome's famous Imperial sights: the Roman Forum, Colosseum and St Paul's Basilica. Your afternoon tour of Imperial Rome includes the following highlights:

Piazza del Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo, with fantastic views over the Roman Forum
Circus Maximus and Pyramid of Caius Cestius
Inside visit of the Basilica of St Paul, the largest patriarchal basilica in Rome after St Peter's, built over the burial place of St Paul the Apostle and one of the five great ancient basilicas of Rome

Your three-hour Imperial Rome tour concludes outside, but doesn't enter, the Colosseum.

 

Campidoglio

In the Steps of Emperors

Private Walking Tour

We begin this walking tour through the vestiges of ancient Rome at the Arch of Constantine with a broad explanation of the extraordinary stories inscribed on it.

more details

175€ for up to 5

Private Walking Tour

Duration 4hrs

•The Arch of Constantine
•Colosseum
•Roman Forum
•Temple of the Vestal Virgins
•Senate
•Saturn's Temple
•Capitoline Hill

 

From the Arch of Constatine , we head to the Colosseum to bring to life for you the days in which huge crowds would gather to participate in the greatest events of that epoch.

We'll speak about the incredible construction techniques used and built in just over 10 years (AD69 to 80) in a period at the height of the city's wealth and power, the functions of the building , the training of the gladiators and the slaves who were forced by their owners to battle it out in the arena etc. Who they were and why the games remained so popular for over three centuries. You'll discover an unexpectedly complex society and the multiform empire that gave life to it.

From there we go to the Roman Forum to see the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina , to understand the structure and use of the Roman temple, it's Greek and Etruscan origins, and the meaning of the sacrifices that took place in it. Then to the Temple of the Vestal Virgins with their purification rituals and white veils. We follow with the Arch Septimius Severus which bears the marks of the hatred between the two brothers. Then off to the Senate with its marvelous polychrome tiles and to the Rostra, that tribune of tribunes, from which Julius Caesar , Cicero , and other greats of the time roused the crowds with their memorable speeches and in front of it the Temple of Divus Julius where he was cremated. Then to Saturn's Temple and after to the Umbilicus Urbis , the Miliarium Aureum, etc . Finally, we will unveil to you one of the Roman Forum's greatest enigmas : how the large door of a church created within a temple has no steps to reach it. We'll finish the tour on the Capitoline Hill with a wonderful view of the forum to understand how time has changed what was once the center of the world.

Campo Vaccino is an out of reach place near the Colosseum where, every 7 days, one goes to the meat market situated in the middle of the ancient ruins of the pagan temples." This is how a Roman poet from the mid 1600's describes the Roman Forum. So too, in the same years, had the Colosseum been reduced to nothing more than a convenient, multi-purpose marble cave . And yet this had once been the center of the world for more than a thousand years. It's the only place in the world where civil and religious buildings stand side by side and the place where the most important events of Roman public life took place. No greater puzzle exists in which the pieces and very sense are so scattered. The tribune where J. Caesar , Cicero , Augustus and all the greats in general gave orations to decide on wars to conquer the world, the altar where the rebellious crowds erected the funereal pyre for J. Caesar's body, the " Umbelicus Mundus " the mythical place of contact between the world of the living and that of the dead, the temples where great rituals in hon our of the Gods were celebrated and where the desires of the these Gods were divined by soothsayers from the insides of the beasts that were sacrificed according to typical Etruscan customs.

And finally, it is in the Forum, that the first sundial , brought over from Sicily, was placed. If only there were someone who knew how to find the pieces of this puzzle and put them together to reconstruct the splendour that once was.

Inquiry Form

we will respond within 48h

Additional comments:
*Your e-mail address:
Your name:
# Adults:
Preferred Activity Date(dd/mm/yy)
AM or PM
Hotel
Tour Options: