If and when you visit the Colosseum in Rome, I suggest you take the underground tour.
The underground Colosseum tour first opened late 2011 and then was closed right away due to storms. It reopened in April this year. Upon my travels to Rome I decided that I would go on one of these Colosseum tours. Yes, it’s a very touristy thing to do, but if you have not seen the Colosseum I still recommend you do the same.
On the day you decide to go to the Colosseum, I suggest that you either get there good and early or find a company online to buy tickets from, and print the ticket vouchers off. I suggest these things because the line to the Colosseum is extremely long no matter what day you go. If you buy tickets ahead of time, you get to go through the fast line.
The underground Colosseum tour is a 90 minute tour which costs about 20 euros and included entry to The Roman Forum and the Palatine hill.
Where it begins
The Colosseum underground tour begins inside the Colosseum where you meet your tour guide. The tour guide then takes your group, and brings you outside and around leading you through a gate.
The first stop of this tour is in the arena where gladiators and Christians once battled for their lives. From the arena you can see what is left of this beautiful monument. People once sat and gathered around to watch these epic battles take place, just like we now go to a ball game.
After you spend some time in the arena (where your guide will give you a brief history and show you pictures of what it once looked like) you will make your way back inside and down the steps to the basement layers of the Colosseum.
Beneath the arena
The underground part is what made this tour for me. This is where a lot of the things happened. Beneath the Colosseum there were once chambers cells and tunnels where animals, slaves, gladiators, criminals, and Christians suffered horrible bloody deaths.
Stop reading, start speaking
Stop translating in your head and start speaking Italian for real with the only audio course that prompt you to speak.
The tour guide explains in detail of what took place down in the Colosseum nether regions also known as the hypogeum. It was really awesome to look in the tunnels and walk around. It was even better that the tour guide has pictures of what the Colosseum once “looked like”, that really gets your mind going. The tour guide tells stories about the tunnels you walk through and you even hear about the water and sewage system.
The last and final part of the tour is the higher levels of the Colosseum.
The tour guide takes you up to the second level where a a brief few minutes is spent talking about the fans that once sat in these stands and other little details.
Then the tour guide leads you to a set of stairs where they have to use a key to open up and enter. The stairs lead you to the very top of the Colosseum. Here you have a wonderful panorama of Rome and another downward looking view of the arena.
The cheap seats as I called them, because they were so high up. It is definitely worthwhile experience.
This tour will be closed again in a few months so if you are in the area I suggest that you take advantage of this tour.
Overall I would happily recommend this tour to anyone visiting Rome.
For Guided Tours in Italy visit: Select Italy’s Guided Tours Selection
Photos taken by Diana Besser