Premium Vatican & Colosseum Arena Floor Combo Tour

Beat the biggest crowds at the Sistine Chapel then step through the Gladiator’s Gate like a warrior

Travel Flexibly 5 / 5 See All 122 Reviews · 8.00h 16 max · Vatican, Italy

Want the most bang for your buck at two of Rome’s top sites? This perfect Rome combo tour not only gives you early privileged entrance to the incredible Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica, but also special access to walk onto the historic Arena Floor where ancient gladiator battles once raged! With a small group, engaging local guides, and two unforgettable VIP experiences, your day in Rome doesn't get much better—at awesome value too.

  • Skip the line early Vatican Entry
  • Main Galleries
  • Raphael Rooms
  • The Sistine Chapel
  • St Peter’s Basilica
  • Baldacchino By Bernini
  • Colosseum Arena Floor
  • Colosseum Second Floor
  • Roman Forum
  • Palatine Hill

You’ll meet your friendly guide at Caffé Vaticano, and with your small group, you’ll skip the line at the Vatican Museums to start exploring before the general public is allowed inside. With fewer crowds, you’ll enjoy a peaceful and in-depth viewing of the incredible galleries, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica, hearing stories of Vatican history along the way.

After a break for lunch, you’ll make your way to the Colosseum where your second expert guide will be waiting to meet you. Skip the line through a special entrance then experience the unique thrill of walking through the Gladiator’s Gate and onto the floor of the Arena. Afterwards, explore the first and second tiers then take a tour of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

Vatican and Colosseum Arena Floor Tour Description

Your 8.5-hour tour includes:

  • Skip-the-line early entrance to the Vatican

  • Guided tour the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica

  • Free time for lunch in Rome

  • Skip-the-line entrance to the Colosseum

  • Exclusive access to the Arena Floor of the Colosseum

  • First and second tier access at the Colosseum

  • Guided tour of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill

  • Engaging English-speaking guides

  • Maximum group size of 15

This Vatican and Colosseum tour is a combination of two popular tours. After enjoying lunch on your own, meet up with your group again to explore the Colosseum with a new guide. Booking a combo tour saves you money since you see more attractions at a lower price!

Pio Clementino Museum and Nero’s Bathtub

At the start of your tour, you'll follow your guide to the Bramante Courtyard, designed by Donato Bramante. This part of the Vatican Museums is home to the Apollo Belvedere, Laocoön and His Sons, and the Belvedere Torso. Visit three of the world’s most iconic statues: the Apollo Belvedere, Laocoön and His Sons, and the Belvedere Torso.

Learn about the myths and legends associated with these iconic sculptures before visiting the oldest and largest bathtub in existence. The 25-foot bathtub was created for Emperor Nero from the rarest red marble at the time. So rare, that none exists today!

Popular Vatican Galleries

Before the big crowds start to arrive, your guide will lead you on through the Vatican Museums, visiting the Candelabra Gallery, Gallery of the Tapestries, and Gallery of Maps. Admire the ancient Roman and Greek statues, the Flemish tapestries created by Raphael's students, and the gorgeous topographical depictions of Italy.

At the height of the Roman Empire, pontiffs rarely left Rome. In order to understand the Italian peninsula without endangering his life, Pope Gregory XIII commissioned 40 giant meticulous maps so he could accurately understand his country better.

Most of these maps measure more than 15 by 16 feet, and the detail will fascinate you as you wander through this hall beneath a glittering gold ceiling. You'll hear the stories behind these treasures from your expert guide as the Vatican secrets are slowly unveiled to you.

Raphael Rooms and The School of Athens

Raphael is the epitome of a Renaissance artist. In the period of European civilization immediately following the Middle Ages, a great period of revival in art, literature, and thought occurred. Raphael became one of the most recognized artists of this era, though his life was short lived.

Pope Julius II commissioned Raphael to fresco multiple rooms inside of the Vatican Museums and you’ll see that art for yourself. Among other masterpieces, you'll stand beneath one of Raphael’s most famous works of art: The School of Athens.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is the Vatican’s crowning jewel. It’s housed in a truly non-descript building from the outside that belies the stunning works of art found inside. Only when stand beneath it, is it clear why the Sistine Chapel is one of the most celebrated works of art in western civilization. Michelangelo painted more than 600 figures on the ceiling and in the Last Judgement (in addition to what other artists created), and the sheer magnitude of his endeavor is mind-blowing.

Since the Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, speaking inside is not allowed. Your guide cannot explain the frescoes while you are inside, so they'll provide you with a map/handout for reference before you enter.

To enter the Sistine Chapel, both men and women must cover their knees and shoulders, otherwise, the Vatican might refuse entry to religious sites and you’ll miss out on a portion of your tour. We understand the summers in Rome can be hot, so a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

St. Peter's Basilica

A guided tour of the most famous basilica in Italy is up next. You’ll leave the Sistine Chapel through a door and passageway reserved only for certain group tours. This lets you bypass the lines into St. Peter’s and head right in.

As you enter this majestic space, you’ll see Michelangelo’s La Pietà—his Virgin Mary holding the body of her dead son. It’s a detailed work of art that’s not to be missed. Follow your guide as they point out important tombs, millions of mosaic tiles, details on the dome, and the eye-catching Baldacchino created by Bernini. It’s what stands watch over the tomb of St. Peter’s remains.

Please note that St. Peter's Basilica is closed on Wednesdays for the Papal Audience and can occasionally experience other unexpected closures. If this happens, your guide will make up the time at other areas within the Vatican.

Free Time for Lunch and on to the Colosseum

Your Vatican guide will wave goodbye and you’ll have some free time to sit and enjoy an authentic Roman lunch before making your way over to the Colosseum. There, your friendly Colosseum guide will meet you by the Colosseo metro stop, and you’ll skip the line to begin your arena experience.

Colosseum Arena Floor

Beat the crowds with special access to an area of the Colosseum that's not available to regular Colosseum ticket holders: the Arena Floor. You'll trace the footsteps of warriors who once entered through the imposing Gate of Death (or the Gladiator's Gate.)

Visit the opening to the reconstructed trap door and hear your guide describe the wild animals and warriors who once fought to entertain ancient Roman society. It's a unique chance to imagine the emotions that fighters must have felt so many years ago.

Roman Colosseum History

After the Arena Floor, your guide will lead you to the Colosseum's first and second levels. Here, you can see where emperors would sit and you’ll learn the rules of the gladiatorial games for both competitors and spectators. Learn why the ancient amphitheater was named the Colosseum, plus many more interesting facts. You'll spend an amazing 1.5 hours exploring the top attraction in Rome with your super-knowledgeable guide.

Guided Roman Forum Tour

Not far from the Colosseum sits the Roman Forum, and your guide will lead you through these ancient ruins on a guided walking tour. This archaeological site was once the location of downtown ancient Rome. You'll visit some of the most famous Roman Forum buildings including the Temple of Julius Caesar, Arch of Titus, the Roman Senate House, and more. Re-live ancient history as you walk down the same roads taken by famous Roman emperors and philosophers.

Please note that depending on the assigned entry time for the Colosseum, your tour might enter the Roman Forum first and end in the Colosseum.

Climb Palatine Hill

From the ancient downtown, your guide will lead you to a place we like to think of as the Beverly Hills of Ancient Rome. Climb the Palatine Hill and take in the views over Circus Maximus. You'll explore the 2,000-year-old palaces and learn stories of Rome's rich and famous.

Your tour ends here, right in the heart of ancient Rome. Don’t hesitate to ask your guide for restaurant recommendations!

What you get with this tour
Skip-the-line early entrance to the Vatican
Guided tour the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica
Free time for lunch in Rome
Skip-the-line entrance to the Colosseum
Exclusive access to the Arena Floor of the Colosseum
First and second tier access at the Colosseum
Guided tour of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
Engaging English-speaking guides
Maximum group size of 16
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122 total reviews

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5.0/5 (based on 122 reviews)
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1 stars
A great half-day tour!
03 January 2023
D
Reviewed by
David D'Attile

This tour covered a ton of Vatican highlights while leaving us with a fair amount of the day remaining to further explore the Vatican or elsewhere in Rome. Our tour guide, Sara, was a local who was clearly passionate about informing visitors about the city and was a joy to be around. A great experience all around!

Vatican Highlights Tour with Sistine Chapel
30 December 2022
K
Reviewed by
Kristin Lumelleau

Outstanding! Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable. And he did a great job of giving us so much interesting information, while not overwhelming us. We highly recommend this tour

Enjoyable experience
23 December 2022
J
Reviewed by
Joseph Chase

Tourguy reps were on time and easy find. We enjoyed our tour with Marina’

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where to meet?

In the morning, meet your guide between Hotel Alimandi and Caffé Vaticano at the top of the big staircase (Viale Vaticano, 100). For the second part of your tour after lunch, meet at the green souvenir kiosk in front of the "Colosseo" metro stop, located just outside the lower level. At both meeting points, you'll find our friendly welcome staff there holding The Tour Guy signs.

What to bring?

Please be sure to meet Vatican dress code requirements by covering your knees and shoulders in the most sacred religious areas like the Sistine Chapel. You'll also want to wear comfortable shoes since this is a walking tour.

Do we really get access before the crowds on this tour?

The Vatican opens at 9:00 am to the general public, but this tour has access to the 8:00 am early entrance line for a quieter Vatican experience. You can avoid the longest line for general admission, but there is still a short security line to go through before actually entering the Vatican.

Does this tour always include St. Peter's Basilica?

St. Peter's Basilica is always closed on Wednesday mornings for the weekly papal audience. If you book a tour on Wednesday, your guide will make up the time in other fascinating areas.

Is there a dress code to enter the religious sites on this tour?

We ask both men and women to cover knees and shoulders, otherwise the Vatican might refuse entry to religious sites and you’ll miss out on a portion of your tour. We understand the summers in Rome can be hot, so a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

What to bring?

Please be sure to meet Vatican dress code requirements by covering your knees and shoulders in the most sacred religious areas like the Sistine Chapel. You'll also want to wear comfortable shoes since this is a walking tour.

Where to meet?

In the morning, meet your guide between Hotel Alimandi and Caffé Vaticano at the top of the big staircase (Viale Vaticano, 100). For the second part of your tour after lunch, meet at the green souvenir kiosk in front of the "Colosseo" metro stop, located just outside the lower level. At both meeting points, you'll find our friendly welcome staff there holding The Tour Guy signs.

Does the Vatican ever experience sudden closures?

During state visits or special religious events, parts of the Vatican may be closed unexpectedly and without much notice. If an area normally visited during a tour is suddenly closed, our guide will still provide explanations of the closed areas from outside. They will even show you another gallery to compensate for the lost time in the usual location.

What if I have concerns about my mobility on this tour?

If you have any doubts about your mobility, you might prefer a Private Rome in a Day Tour. Private tours offer more flexibility and the ability to accommodate your specific needs, especially on walking tours that include sets of stairs and uneven terrain.

Where does this tour end?

This tour ends either at the Colosseum or the Roman Forum, depending on the assigned ticket entry.

Does the Arena Floor ever close to the public?

Sometimes the Colosseum closes access to the more restricted areas with little notice. This usually happens in cases of heavy rainfall or an emergency repair. If this happens, we will visit other areas of the Colosseum, and the tour will continue with the same duration. As the Arena Floor is only a portion of this tour, there are no refunds if Colosseum Management closes it at short notice.

Is photography allowed in the Sistine Chapel?

No, the Vatican requests that no photos or videos be taken inside the Sistine Chapel.

Does this tour always follow this exact itinerary?

No. Guided tours of major attractions are dependent on ticket assignments and there are occasions where the order may change, so you might enter the Roman Forum before the Colosseum.

Total: as low as $157.20

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$174.67 as low as $157.20
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