Remember the movie Gladiator, and its first battle scene inside the Colosseum? When Maximus and his fellow slaves first step out onto the sands of the arena, ascending from the dark depths of the Colosseum Underground armed with spears whatever helmets and shields were to hand, with no idea who (or what) they’re about to face
Veteran gladiators? Ravenous lions? Camped out in the center of the enormous amphitheater, Maximus and his men find themselves prey to a unit of scythed chariots, whose unfortunate riders they slaughter. Much to the ire of the emperor Commodus.
Our Colosseum Underground Tour offers the key to comprehending how the Colosseum functioned as an amphitheatre. Beneath the sands of the arena ran a complex network of cells, passageways, and holding rooms housing both human and bestial participants along with all their equipment and stage props.
Few places on earth transport you so vividly and directly back to antiquity as the Colosseum. The Colosseum Underground was recently opened for the first time in history and places are limited due to the fragile nature of the structure. So carpe diem – seize the day – and see for yourself what it was like to participate in the games here nearly 2,000 years ago with Walks Inside Rome!
What to expect from our Colosseum Tour
Our private or small group Colosseum Underground tours grant you exclusive VIP access getting you straight inside the Colosseum. This means you avoid the multitudes of crowds that first thronged its entrance nearly 2,000 years ago!
Your small, intimate group of no more than 12 guests will fully explore this iconic amphitheater, discovering its forgotten secrets as your expert guide breathes fresh life into it. After touring the Colosseum’s upper level and eerily atmospheric underground, you’ll cross over to the Roman Forum – the ancient epicenter of Roman public life, and a remarkably preserved theme park of temples, basilicas, and historically infused monuments.
The highlight of our Colosseum Underground Tour
The Colosseum Underground originally spanned two levels. One was home to a complex water and drainage system. Designed by the best Roman engineers of the time, its purpose was to wash away the blood and excrement of the dead human and animal participants above. Grim, right?
The stench would have been appalling, and the darkness would have only amplified it. Because little natural light filtered through from above, so its workers had to light their rooms and tunnels with lamps. Yet its travertine walls still retain their original white color, unlike those above and inside the monument which for centuries have been exposed to the elements.
Punctuating the winding, labyrinthine corridors of the Colosseum Underground are nooks and crannies only an expert guide can contextualize. Some of its darkened crevices were actually holding cells, cages for wild beasts before they were transported to the arena and pitted against either combatants or the condemned. Certain wooden structures at the end were hand-winch lifts, used to lift participants to the area floor above through a series of cunningly hidden trap doors.
Discover the Roman Forum on your Colosseum Underground Tour
Stepping across the ancient road from the Colosseum into the Roman Forum, you can explore the epicenter of ancient Roman life. Among the Roman Forum’s plethora of monuments, there are some incredible attractions your guide will show you:
- Visit the site of Julius Caesar’s cremation, the scene of a near riot in the days following his assassination.
- Marvel at the Temple of Vesta, where the Vestal Virgins kept their sacred fire eternally lit – they believed for the divine protection of their city.
- Discover the Forum’s basilicas: large colonnaded buildings inside which the Romans would hold law courts and conduct their political and financial business.
- Learn all about the Forum’s temples: like the Temple of Saturn – built in honor of the Capitoline gods – and the Temple of Vespasian – built in honor of emperors who shuffled off their mortal coils only later to become gods.
Approaching the end of the Roman Forum, in the valley between the Palatine Hill, you’ll stand in the shadow of the Arch of Septimius Severus. This colossal victory monument commemorates the emperor’s victory and humiliating subjugation over Rome’s most dangerous enemies: the Parthians. For reasons that still elude us, it’s one of Rome’s most popular backdrops for enamoured couples taking selfies.
Book a Colosseum Underground Tour with Walks Inside Rome
For more than 20 years, Walks Inside Rome has been offering immersive, authentic, and educational private and small-group tours and Rome kids and families experiences. Our team of local, licensed guides are seasoned experts in art, history, archaeology and food. Our combined expertise and experience transforms your time in Rome into something truly exceptional.
To check out our catalogue of tours and experiences, visit our website or contact us directly. We can’t wait to hear from you so we can customise your own Rome travel guide and start exploring together!