Touring Rome’s Colosseum and Forum is always in the top three attractions for families. This center of ancient Roman history is a must-do, but also big, crowded, and complex. We were very glad we opted to see the Colosseum and Forum with a small group tour. If Rome is in your family travel plans, read on for our Overome Colosseum tour review.
We chose to see the Colosseum with Overome based on recommendations from other travel writers. I’d heard Overome’s tour guides work hard to make the content of the tour relevant to kids, are reliable and timely, and are knowledgable. We were steered right, because our guide Federica was all this and more.
Overome Colosseum tour review:
Overome’s Colosseum and Ancient City Tour starts at the Colosseum metro station, directly under the shadow of the great arena. We met Federica (Feddie) here; she was easy to spot with her Overome sign. Our group consisted of only our family of seven, plus three other guests. After brief introductions, we were off…and by off, I mean just across the street to the arena.
Note: I highly recommend booking small group tours instead of large ones. We saw many large groups walking through the sites, and it didn’t look fun to be in a herd.
The Overome tour includes all entrance tickets and fees, so we didn’t have to wait in the imposing ticket line. We did, of course, have to wait in the security line, but although it snaked halfway around the base of the Colosseum on the day we visited, it took less than twenty minutes to get through. During that time, Federica (Feddie) gave us an overview of the structure and its history. While we patiently moved up in the line, we heard other tour guides getting agitated with the wait, and their guests getting impatient. I knew right then, only minutes into our three hour tour, that we were in good hands with Feddie.
Once in the Colosseum, Feddie took us slowly from level to level, explaining how the arena was built and by whom, its architecture and design, and its uses over the years of its history. Even though the complex was crowded, it was easy to hear what she was saying because we were given earbuds and radios.
Everyone knows at least a little about this colosseum of gladiators, emperors, and prisoners, but we learned quite a few new tidbits, especially about the many exotic animals who entertained and died there, as well as specific stories about certain victims of the games.
Feddie used illustrations on an iPad to help explain her points, which really helped us visualize what she was describing. By no means were we looking at the screen all the time, but it was definitely a useful tool. This tour doesn’t take visitors down to the bottom floor of the Colosseum, be we did spend time on the upper levels with views of the labyrinth of rooms and levers and one-time elevators that made the Colosseum function in its heyday. We actually wished we had more time in the Colosseum when it was time to move on to the Forum.
The Forum is the section of the ancient city center for which I most wanted (and needed) a guide. Without one, it’s an expanse of half-ruined buildings and rubble. Even with a guidebook in-hand, it’s not done justice without someone knowledgable to explain it. I know, because the first time I visited the Forum ten years ago, I did it on my own. I learned far more with Feddie.
We started at the far end, where she pointed out major landmarks in the Forum and showed us more images on her iPad to give us an idea of what it once was. After we could visualize it, we could see how the remains of marble and stone had once been grand buildings and streets. She explained what each structure had been used for, including the House and Temple of Vestrals, Arch of Titus, and the alter with Julius Caesar’s ashes. We learned about the multiple ‘layers’ of the Forum, and for the first time, I could really see how much of the area had been buried in mud and soil for centuries at a time.
We spent more than an hour in the Forum, which left us with little time for Palatine Hill. We were given an overview, however, and when Feddie left us, we were still inside the complex, so we were free to explore it more on our own. Instead, we were worn out and hungry by this time, so we asked her for a lunch recommendation in the area. After leaving Feddie, we happily dined on pizza at nearby Pizza Forum.
Our Overome tour definitely confirmed my suspicion that we needed an expert to fully experience this part of the city. And we couldn’t have been happier with Feddie; it was clear she likes her job and knows her stuff.
The Overome Colosseum and Ancient City tour is $52 per person, and I believe the value is definitely there. At the time of our visit, we departed from the metro station at 9 am, and were done by 12 pm.
As I disclose whenever applicable, our tour with Overome was complimentary, for the purpose of review. Without this type of hospitality, we would not be able to write personalized and up-to-date reviews.