This is a hard one to review. The sights were amazing, the tour guide was very knowledgeable and friendly, and skipping the lines was worth every penny. That said, I would break down the tour to two days. Seven to eight hours of walking and non-stop historical information made the last couple hours miserable. A couple folks left. Has nothing to do with age, but if you are not fit, don't do this in summer. The meal at the restaurant was very unorganized, too many tours at the same time. The guide had the information but after awhile my brain shut him off. And finally, when you opt for the pick-up option, be aware there is no return option. This should be more clear. The tour ended a 30 minute walk back to the hotel or a cab.
We didn't make it to the afternoon portion Colosseum because my son felt sick after the lunch. But the morning tour was very fast paced and unfortunately, there are so many tour groups, our ear pieces kept getting interference from the other groups. So much of the information from our guide was lost to static or interference.
This is a lot for one day. The Vatican was extremely crowded the day that we went, so we were rushed through the galleries. The next day was a holiday, and they were setting up in the afternoon so everyone went to the Vatican that morning. The guide was good, but it was just difficult to concentrate and follow her when we were literally wall to wall with people. Lunch was not great. It was not coordinated well at all. Some of our group had already finished their dessert while another table was still waiting for a second course. The food wasn't great either. What I was most shocked about is that drinks were not included in the price of lunch, including water. So everyone had to get separate bills to pay for their drinks.
They only had one guy who was gathering the 50 or so people from the restaurant to get on buses to go to the Colosseum, so that was a bit hectic. It just seemed like it could have run much smoother with more people helping out. We were standing around for a good 20-25 minutes just waiting for one family to finish eating their meal. If you can, I would skip the lunch option. It is helpful to have them pick you up from your hotel in the morning and take you from the Vatican to the Colosseum. Just remember, they don't take you back to the hotel after the Colosseum, which we knew, but a few other people in the group didn't realize.
The Colosseum tour was great. Be sure you go to the bathroom before you go though. They only have one bathroom there and the line was about 40 minutes long. The tour guide actually told our group if you have to go then you need to leave the tour and catch up later. The Ancient Rome/Palentine Hill portion of the tour was interesting. It was actually longer than the colosseum tour which I was surprised about. I think I would have enjoyed it more though if it wasn't such a long day. The day was 10 hours between hotel pickup and the end of the ancient rome tour.
All in all I would break these activities up into two days if you have the option. Also, it might better to go with a smaller group because for all of our tours we were with larger groups. There were 30 people in the Vatican group and about 20 for the Colosseum tour. It would have been nice to get more personalized attention. The guides actually had a hard time answering questions because there was so much to get through and they didn't want to stop to answer everyone's questions.
This tour was on the brink of terrible. It took us a while to start everything bc the guides were so unorganized. Each group has about 30 people and its just WAY too many people to keep track of for one guide, way too many people to wait on for bathroom/ lunch breaks etc. We did private, semi private and this tours in our time in Europe and SEMI PRIVATE IS THE WAY TO GO! The cost is the same
Our tour guide for the Vatican was incredible, super knowledgeable, charismatic and fun!
Lunch was again, unorganized. It was hosted at a crummy, small restaurant where the food was awful, the staff was incompetent.
Colosseum tour guide was probably the worst tour guide I have ever come across. She was new and had limited to zero knowledge of the roman ruins/history. She kept getting everyone lost and She tried to BS her way through the tour with inaccurate information and it was just extremely disappointing.
Note is it IMPERATIVE to wear sneakers/ hiking shoes as the marble at the Vatican is unforgiving and colosseum as the walkway stones are loose and jagged. This is a full day of walking, roughly 7 miles Some of the older people on the tour could mot complete the tour and left early because they were in pain and weren't able to keep walking on the cobble stones.
We would not recommend this tour. Choose a semi private tour
Skip the Line for Vatican and Colosseum are a must! When we arrived at St. Peter's Basilica, the wait to get in was over three hours, and we were able to walk right in! The same can be said for the Vatican Museum and the Colosseum. With the headsets, we were able to enjoy the sites while learning about the history of each area which only enhanced the experience. Our tour guide was able to prepare us for the Sistine Chapel with history and some interesting little facts that made this experience all the more enjoyable as well. I highly recommend lunch, because you are able to stay with your tour group and makes the chances of missing the bus to the second half of the tour less likely. Plus, it was delicious! The tour companies know all the best places!