Visiting the Underground Colosseum

The Colosseum was built over 1,900 years ago, but it never gets old. But if you really want to see the inner workings, you need to take the Colosseum underground tour.

Colosseum in Rome

I have walked by it countless times. It is a part of Rome’s background that I never ever tire of.

However, until recently, I had been inside exactly once.

Inside the Colosseum

Which is pretty unacceptable because inside the Colosseum is amazing.

And getting really down into it – literally underground – is even better.

Inside the Colosseum

I was thrilled to join Through Eternity’s Underground Colosseum Tour.

When I first moved to Rome, the underground area of the Colosseum was off limits, but it is now possible to visit if you book the right tour.

outer ring of the colosseum

The small groups of the Colosseum underground tour are escorted in past the lines.

Colosseum stage

Before you know it, you are walking out on to the stage of the Colosseum.

Colosseum stage

From there, you can start to get up close and personal with the inner workings of the amphitheater.

You can see the stacks and tunnels that once held animals and gladiators, hoisting them up through trap doors in the floor to the waiting crowds above.

Underneath the colosseum

The history of the structure and the games it held is fascinating.

Colosseum in the sun

You can get a sense of the scale from the stage – and try to imagine what the arena would have been like when it was filled with spectators screaming to be entertained.

Colosseum stage area

You could bask in the sun all day, but there is more to be seen.

Tunnels under the Colosseum

Down a tunnel, the warmth disappears.

Colosseum ground floor

Walking past the water source that was once used to flood the arena to re-create naval battles, you emerge into the ruins.

hidden colosseum

From the ground floor, you can see the tunnels that were used by the hundreds of hidden workers who kept the games moving.

I was sold.

Even more in the love with the Colosseum than ever before.

Cats in the Colosseum

You know who else loves the underground Colosseum? Cats.

(Can you spot him sleeping on the ledge in the sun?)

People in the Colosseu

There is always more to be seen, so we kept moving.

Climbing up the ramp, we walked to the center level of the arena.

Colosseum levels

And we kept climbing.

Past the crowds, and above the masses, all the way to the top tier of the Colosseum.

Only accessible through a locked gate, we had the terrace all to ourselves, with Rome spread out below.

View from the Colosseum Terrace

Throughout the tour, and over the gorgeous views, I learned more about the Colosseum than I knew was possible.  Thomas entertained us with the history of the name, the construction, the politics and the sheer ingenuity of the inner workings.

I was completely awed by the the underground tour, and can’t wait for my next walk by the Colosseum. Now I know what’s inside, outside, above and below.

If you want to book a lighter version of the Colosseum underground tour with skip the line access to the underground and main areas (but not the 4th and 5th-floor terraces) you can do that here.

Please note that the Tiqets option is an affiliate link and Natalie may receive a commission if you choose to book that way. You are under no obligation to do so!

8 thoughts on “Visiting the Underground Colosseum

  1. Angi Cividino says:

    Amazing! Thanks for sharing (thoughts and photos). I was reading an article about UNESCO including Neapolitan pizza on its Cultural Heritage (Food) List (because it’s a 300-year-old tradition they’ve nurtured and want to claim), which brought me to another article on the number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy (51, more than any other country), a lot of these are entire city centers because they’re so damn old. Holy crap Italy has a lot of history. My dad is originally from Northern Italy, close to Venice. I’ve never been to Italy… maybe one day. I’ve still got relatives in Italy, France and Switzerland. Stay safe and have fun!

    • Natalie says:

      I LOVE that UNESCO is including pizza ­čÖé I have a bit of a bucket list to see as many UNESCO sites as possible because I agree that the history is amazing. Hope that you have a chance to come see it in person soon!

  2. Tom Walsh says:

    We have booked our tour with Through Eternity for June, counting down the days until we leave for our vacation. Also have a tour of the Scavi booked; we love Rome and all its glorious history (and gelato!).

    • Natalie says:

      Ahh! Amazing! I am sure you will have a fantastic time.

      I am admittedly more a gelato buff than a history lover, but the scavi sound incredible too. Enjoy the June trip!

  3. Pingback: Views from the Colosseum – An American in Rome

  4. dena landry says:

    Thanks for the tour, the first time i went to rome with a tour group, we were running behind and got to see the outside and take pictures but didn’t have time to see inside. 2nd trip i went alone and just wanted to be a local, and not do to much touring stuff that i already saw. wish i would have seen it now , will make sure i go in next time and take that tour. thanks

    • Natalie says:

      It was really really interesting to see the mechanics of the Colosseum from the underground area. I have only been inside twice in 6 years!

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