Whether you’re on a quest to see the New 7 Wonders of the World, adventuring off your bucket list, or you’re taking a grand European tour, a VIP visit to Rome’s Colosseum and Forum sites should not be missed. In particular, there’s a special experience that I highly recommend – visiting the Colosseum’s underground dungeon area, taking a stroll on arena floor (the “stage”), and seeing Rome from the Colosseum’s third tier. All of these special areas are kept under lock and key – but are accessible via special access…
I had the opportunity to meet up with Vincenzo, one of the fabulous Walks of Italy guides – and tagged alongside the VIP Access Colosseum and Forum Tour*. Walks of Italy’s small group VIP tour grants special access to otherwise off limit areas within the Colosseum and Forum areas, and I was lucky enough to be able to catch up with Vincenzo’s group.
Vincenzo is a true raconteur – a spirited storyteller who creates a lively and interactive environment. Vincenzo is simply charming, his knowledge and personality carry us through the day.
Escorted behind gated areas, I noticed we caught more than a few curious glimpses from the other tourists. I could literally feel their curiosity pique. Where were we going? What kinds of treasured experiences were we going to encounter (that they would not)? How did we arrange for all of this, and, seriously, what’s behind all of that security?
In addition to the many hovering “Curious Georges”, I also noticed more than a handful of people try to sneak into the restricted access areas or voluntarily tag themselves along our tour (to be honest, I don’t blame them one bit. It would be heartbreaking to come all the way to Rome and then find out that a little advance planning could have made for an entirely different experience. Luckily, Vincenzo and the Colosseum staff watch the group like a hawk, so the sneak-aboards aren’t too successful).
To give you a taste of the special access (but not to give the tour secrets away), here are some of the photos of the Colosseum underground tunnels and dungeon area.
The underground dungeon area provides a glimpse into the brilliance of its architectural design. As we walked through the underground dungeon, I wondered if this type of layout inspired today’s modern Cirque du Soleil shows (killing differences aside) — with tunnels, trap doors, and spaces for storing show props and house animals.
On the main level, we were able to experience the true “gladiator” experience. The main platform is also a restricted access area. Walking out onto the main deck alone provides a small glimpse into what it would have been like to be the gladiator with all of the Colesseum attendees watching your every move. It’s probably the closest that I’ll ever feel like a gladiator.
The tour continues into other special areas of the Colesseum and then winds its way through the vast Forum area.
Many thanks to Walks of Italy for providing an unforgettable experience – and to Vincenzo for being such an inspiring and entertaining raconteur!
In Italy, the customary way to wish someone “Happy Holidays” is “Buone Feste!” or “Tanti auguri!” and to say “Happy New Year!” is “Buon Capodanno!”
To celebrate the New Year, Walks of Italy has a special deal going on until March 1, 2013! Low Sodium Blog readers who book any Walks of Italy services can receive a 15% off discount off all Walks of Italy services through 2013 (the Walks of Italy services have to be booked/paid before March 1, 2013).
To take advantage of the discount, simply book online and enter discount code WALKSLOVESBLOGGERS into the appropriate field.
Enjoy Italy and “Buon Capodanno!”
*Disclaimer: Walks of Italy sponsored my VIP Access – Colosseum Underground, Arena & Forum Rome Tour; the opinions expressed/photos used in the above post are my own.