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Rome tours

Take your pick from these tours in Rome

Ancient history, artistic masterpieces, delicious cuisine… Rome has so many accolades, you won’t know where to start. Taking a guided tour of some of the city’s famous landmarks, monuments and local culture is a brilliant way to get to better acquaint yourself with the Italian capital. Undoubtedly, its ancient history is one of the best things to learn about while you’re here, with in-the-know experts on hand to tell you the finer details of bygone times.

  1. Colosseum tour
  2. Vatican Museums tour
  3. Pantheon tour
  4. St Peter’s Basilica tour
  5. Food (and tasting) tour
  6. Roman Forum guided tour

Whichever theme you choose, guided tours give you the chance to delve deeper and choose your favourite slice of this tantalizing city.

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Rough Guides

1. Colosseum tour

Rome’s Colosseum is an awe-inspiring display of ancient creativity, architecture and design at its finest. This oval amphitheatre was the gladiatorial stage for to-the-death fights (both animal and human), reconstructed famous battles and even crucifixion. This wickedly intriguing monument has stood the test of time; take a guided tour and find out all the gruesome and fascinating details, from crossing the arena floor to listening to secret stories of the emperor.

Best for: Ancient history in all its gory detail.

Top tip: Continue the ancient history theme by adding on extra options, like the Roman Forum and Circus Maximus.

2. Vatican Museums tour

The Vatican Museums are so big, so iconic, that it makes one of the best Rome tours to take. It can be difficult knowing where to start (and end), so make sense of the complex by taking an informative guided tour – where you’re much less likely to get lost. Tours start first thing in the morning, usually around 7am; start off at the Sistine Chapel, which is all the more breathtakingly beautiful without jostling for a good position with the other crowds. The tour moves through the Raphael Rooms, Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Maps and plenty more, and all is narrated through your very own headset.

Best for: World-class masterpieces.

Top tip: An extra option is to visit St Peter’s Basilica, which follows on from the Museums.

3. Pantheon tour

The Pantheon was built by 125AD, under the rule of Roman emperor Hadrian. The most standout feature is its huge dome, which was created using a single piece of concrete, carved into layers. You can gaze up at its lofty height, pierced with the ‘oculus’ hole at the top (the only light that shines into the Pantheon), and find out all about its history, construction and significance on a self-guided audio tour. There’s also the chance to take in the other details of this remarkable structure; take your time picking out the details of the Corinthian columns, marble floor and details, without being rushed.

Best for: The secrets of ancient engineering.

Top tip: Make sure your knees and shoulders are covered before entering (both genders), as a mark of respect.

4. St Peter’s Basilica tour

If you’re looking for Rome tours with fantastic views, look no further than St Peter’s Basilica. Book onto a guided tour which kick-starts with skipping the queue; in your small group, your knowledgeable guide will take you through a comprehensive tour through the bustling St Peter’s Square, before guiding you onto the chapel and crypts. You then have the chance to explore the Papal Crypt in your own time; this is where many Popes are buried and so is a significant spot for many Catholics. The highlight of a St Peter’s Basilica tour has to be climbing to the top of the dome. On the first level you can take in the beautiful mosaics and stucco detail up close and personal. Then, prepare yourself: it’s 281 steps to the top. When you reach the top, gaze over the crowds in St Peter’s Square, marvel at the river Tiber and simply soak up the view.

Best for: Best views in Rome.

Top tip: To totally lose yourself in the tour, it might be convenient to leave bags (anything larger than a small handbag) at the cloakroom by the entrance.

5. Food (and tasting) tour

Tuck into Rome’s favourite dishes on a food tour, with tastings included making it the cherry (or suppli) on top. Heading out on a guided food tour of Rome will see you visit small, family-run restaurants, street food vendors and market stalls, all while getting a more intimate feel for the Jewish Ghetto area of the city. Lasting just over a couple of hours, chomping through pizza, gelato and cured meats is a fine way to get to know the city better; there’s even beer and wine tastings for those who want to drink in Rome’s local tipples. If you’re browsing cheap holidays to Rome, joining a food tour is a great way to escape the tourist-focused eateries and discover where the locals dine.

Best for: Treating your tastebuds.

Top tip: Once the tour is over, head back to one of your favourite places you visited for your next meal.

6. Roman Forum guided tour

Although the Roman Forum appears as little more than a pile of crumbling rocks, tall columns and dilapidated temples, it’s so much more than that, and despite all of this, still manages to retain its ancient splendour. This was the centre of public life during the height of the Roman Empire, which once throbbed with activity: hoi polloi and significant figures alike came here for the markets, temples, courts and more. A guided tour takes you past the most significant sites, and you might even pass an ongoing excavation; it’s a hive of activity for archaeologists! You can still walk along the main thoroughfare, the Via Sacra, and during your tour take in the likes of the House of the Vestal Virgins, the Basilica of Maxentius and the Altar of Caesar.

Best for: Seeing archaeology uncovered.

Top tip: Tickets include entrance to the Colosseum, and often the Palatine Hill.

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