Walks of Italy

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Colosseum & Hard Hat Tour

Key Details

  • City: Rome
  • Duration: 3hrs
  • Start Time: 9AM

Tour Highlights

  • Discover incredible architecture & frescoes that would cover 30 Sistine Chapels at one of Rome’s most important archaeological sites: Nero’s Palace.

  • Grab a hard hat and lace up your boots; your Domus Aurea tour explores an active archaeological site with incredible agumented reality recreations of the original palace.

  • Skip lines at the Colosseum with an archaeologist-led tour, plus skip the line access for an independent visit of the Roman Forum & Palatine Hill.
The Domus Aurea Boasts 30-ft vaulted ceilings Ceiling frescoes Frescoes line many of the arches After some 2,000 years the color are incredible An enormous oculus in the domed roof lets in light The people add scale to this huge building Learning about the uses of the Domus Aurea Ancient ceramics excavated from the Domus Aurea Showing how they are stabilizing the Domus Aurea from above Grabbing a pic of an ancient fresco The augmented reality experience in the Sala Dorata Ongoing restorations in the Domus Aurea Scaffolding is still used by the Domus Aurea archeologists every day These halls were buried and forgotten for some 500 years In the Domus Aurea it's hard not to look up These halls stretch over at least 100 acres New augmented reality exhibits  are part of your visit The entrance to the Domus Aurea The incomparable Colosseum Looking out over the Roman Forum The Arch of Constantine


Outshining the Colosseum: Nero’s Golden Palace is the most incredible ruin in Rome.

It takes an exceptional space to outshine the Colosseum but the Domus Aurea, Nero’s ‘Golden Palace, is just that. Built in the first century AD, the Domus Aurea was the ultimate party palace. It had 300 rooms with no sleeping quarters, kitchens or latrines. The façade was covered in gold leaf and inside, any space not occupied by sumptuous furniture was covered in frescoes.

Nero was so demanding that architects were forced to develop a rotating dining room where the emperor and his guests would eat while perfume and rose petals rained down on them.

Grab a hard hat and join us for a special Domus Aurea tour.

Unearthing the remains of the Domus Aurea is a huge project. Estimates put the palace at somewhere between 100 and 300 acres in size. Ongoing work makes this active archaeological site a fascinating visit. On our guided tour you’ll see the famed octagonal dining hall (the one with the revolving roof), admire rooms filled with original frescoes and marvel at the grandeur of its long corridors and soaring arches.

Perhaps most exciting is the latest development here: Augmented reality displays that recreate the Golden Palace as it once was, so you can stand in the middle of Ancient Rome and watch it come to life around you.

Although the ruins have only recently reopened, taking a Domus Aurea tour has been a right of passage for quite some time. In the 15th century artists like Raphael, Michelangelo and Pinturrichio were lowered in by rope to see the ancient frescoes. What they witnessed would inspire not just their own work but the entire Italian Renaissance. Grab a hard hat and follow in their footsteps on our special visit.

Skip the line at the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

The Colosseum is a natural pairing for a Domus Aurea tour – after all, it owes its existence to Nero’s excess. After his suicide, successive emperors were so embarrassed by his Golden Palace that they dredged its lake to build, you guessed it, the Colosseum. The people’s amphitheater was, in fact, an apology for the Domus Aurea.

On our Colosseum tour you’ll skip the line to save hours of waiting in line. Traveling with our expert archaeologist guide, you’ll hear stories of how this incredible structure was used for not just gladiator battles but also executions and so much more. With headsets you won’t miss a word they say while our limited group size means your questions will always be answered.

After your tour (you’ll visit the Colosseum first, then the Domus Aurea) your guide will bring you back to the Roman Forum. They’ll get you past the lines then leave you inside to wander the heart of Ancient Rome and its birthplace (the Palatine Hill) in your own time.

Please note that your Domus Aurea tour will be led by one of the site’s official in house guides. As a bonus, your Walks of Italy guide will accompany you throughout in case you have questions.

Sites visited

  • Domus Aurea (aka Nero’s Golden Palace)
  • Colosseum
  • Roman Forum (independent)
  • Palatine Hill (independent)


  • Special access Domus Aurea tour
  • Skip the line Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill tickets
  • Guided Colosseum tour
  • Expert archaeologist guide
  • Groups of max 24 people


5-stars from over 11 Customer Reviews

Luigi painted an accessible picture of the past with his knowledge and anecdotes. Nero's Golden Palace lived up to the reviews!
Guide was entertaining and knowledgeable !
Our guide was excellent, knowledgeable well spoken and informative. The tour was one of my favorite parts of my visit to Rome.

Important information

Before you travel, please read our important notes about possible disruptions & site entrance requirements

If you wish to visit the Forum and Palatine Hill (non guided), you need to do so directly when tour ends in order to be able to enter the sites.

The visit at the Domus Aurea will be guided by a special site guide as the site is still an active archeological dig.

Please note that the temperature at the Underground site of the Domus Aurea is lower than the outside temperature so it could be good to bring a cardigan.

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Luigi painted an accessible picture of the past with his knowledge and anecdotes. Nero's Golden Palace lived up to the reviews!
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Everything was wonderful. My only critique was that the very pleasant archeologist who took us through Nero's palace was a bit nervous in her delivery and could have used some better story telling and animated excitement when sharing her information. She was competent and I liked her quiet charisma. But for a group of exhausted and confused tourists entering a puzzling and dark space she could have used a bit more audience engagement and performative skills to help us get oriented not to the physical place but oriented to the story .
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Guide was entertaining and knowledgeable !
Our guide was excellent, knowledgeable well spoken and informative. The tour was one of my favorite parts of my visit to Rome.
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