Enjoy exclusive access to the Colosseum Underground and walk onto the arena floor
duration 3.5 hours
group size Max. 24
Get the total Colosseum experience and explore two exclusive areas of the amphitheater not normally open to visitors on our special Colosseum Underground tour. Strap on your sandals and step onto the arena floor where gladiators locked swords in bloody combat, and descend into the atmospheric labyrinth of tunnels hidden beneath the amphitheater to discover the underground world where gladiators waited their turn above as the stench of death assailed their nostrils. In the company of our expert guide, follow in their footsteps as they made the terrifying journey upwards, where you’ll practically hear the roar of ancient crowds and the screams of the gladiators echoing across the marble bleachers. To complete our exploration of ancient Rome, we’ll also get to tour the Roman Forum and Palatine hill, two of the world's most important archaeological sites. This is ancient Rome at its absolute best - book your experience today!
The Underground Colosseum is reserved exclusively for us. During your hour-long Colosseum Underground Tour you will be in a group of a maximum of 24 visitors. Please note that the availability of timed entrances to the Colosseum's underground area are extremely limited. As a result, the exact time at which we we will enter the underground varies on each tour.
Marvel at ancient stage machinery capable of amazing special effects and mechanical elevators centuries ahead of their time; learn about the series of trapdoors and incredibly complex system of underground tunnels below the arena that made the Colosseum's spectacles possible. These were amongst the ingenious inventions which helped ensure the incredible popularity of the games that we will see on our walking tour. Alongside our expert guides, learn how the gladiator games unfolded as we walk onto the arena floor and how their rituals of violence were conceived as Imperial propaganda capable of unifying the incredibly diverse populations, languages and cultures of the Roman Empire.
Learn about the stages of the games, the processions and the salutes of the participants, and the battles between ferocious beasts and gladiators made all the more spectacular by the surprise entrance of animals into the arena through secret trap-doors. The majority of guides who lead this tour for us are themselves archaeologists: you’ll be amazed by their stories of gladiators fighting to the death roared on by the cheers of a delirious crowd, and of the capricious decisions of the audience or of the emperor to save or condemn a defeated gladiator according to their whim. Gaze down from the viewpoint inside the Colosseum of the gladiators as they breathed their last breath.
Our tour of Ancient Rome will take you through the daily lives of the gladiators, showcasing the manner of their combats, their weapons, and the origins of these men who often came from the remote provinces of the empire - the success of the games was ensured by the multi-ethnic society of the time. On our Colosseum Tour you will also learn about their daily training, which took place in the barracks where the gladiators lived. The barracks were equipped with their own small arena, as you will see at the Ludus Magnus, one of their living quarters near the Colosseum.
As we explore the seating areas that were once reserved for the creme-de-la-creme of Roman society, we can fully appreciate the imposing magnitude of this remarkable edifice. From the arena, the structure's arcades and marbles are laid out before us, its dramatic spaces revealing a colossal feat of engineering. The Colosseum (originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater) was built over ten years on a site which was previously part of Nero's Golden House, the Domus Aurea - which you can now also explore on our special Domus Aurea tour. From the Colosseum's 2nd tier you can enjoy fantastic 360 degree views of its spectacular architecture.
This great valley was the political heart of ancient Rome. Here we will retrace the daily life and politics of the ancient Romans, beginning at the Senate, where the most memorable debates of the Roman Republic took place. You will enter the rooms and the stunningly beautiful garden of the House of the Vestal Virgins. On our group tour of the Roman Forum you will discover who the Vestal Virgins were, gaze upon their marble portraits that still survive today, and learn of the cruel destiny that sometimes awaited them. In the Basilicas Julia and Maxentius, seats of the courthouses, our guide will bring you into the spaces of the great public trials during the time of Cicero and Caesar.
At the temples of Saturn, Castor and Pollux and Antoninus and Faustina, we will meet the Roman gods and unravel the enigma of a Christian church built into the structure of a pagan temple. The innovations of Roman engineers will amaze you on the Via Sacra, still marked today with the wheel-ruts of carriages that passed over it for centuries. Meanwhile, the film-strips of antiquity carved into the marble of the Arch of Titus and Arch of Septimius Severus tell of the great conquests of Imperial Rome. We will re-live timeless events such as the funeral of Julius Caesar near the Temple of Caesar in the very spaces where they happened. Finally, we will explain the political rise of Augustus, who ended the Roman Republic and founded an empire.
The Palatine Hill is still for the most part excluded from the itineraries of other tour companies. Wonderfully preserved even today, it's a shame to neglect this beautiful part of the ancient city, a place that for centuries hosted the exclusive residences of the Roman aristocracy until the emperors appropriated it to construct their colossal palace. Why was it such a desirable spot? Simple. The views from here down into the Forum, the Colosseum, the Circus Maximus, and indeed the entire city are unmatched.
Our group tour will start with the origins of Rome, near the Huts of Romulus from the 8th century BC: centuries later, Augustus chose to have his house built right next to them to present himself symbolically as the new Romulus. We will take you to see the majestic architecture of the Imperial residences, with their gigantic colonnades. Visit the Flavian Palace, the Severian baths and the Stadium of Domitian, retracing the lives of the most famous and extravagant emperors who ruled here along the way.
Our guided visit includes also the Aviaries and the Farnese Gardens (Orti Farnesiani), reopened in March 2018. The main Farnese Palace, a hidden gem in itself, was constructed on top of the ancient imperial palaces in one of the most spectacular corners of the Palatine Hill, with a series of stepped terraces descending towards the Roman Forum.
For a complete overview of Rome's magnificent cultural heritage, why not also join our in-depth Sistine Chapel Tour and our magical Rome at Twilight tour, which delves into the characteristic streets of the city's historic centre?
meeting pointYou will meet your guide at at a designated point. Details, a map, and photos provided upon booking.
5.0 (294 reviews)
Awesome tour of Colosseum and Forum area
Gracelyn was an excellent guide who provided a continuous spellbinding narrative throughout the entire tour that made almost 4 hours fly by in a snap. Given the scale and history of the forum area, inclusive of the Colosseum, Palatine and Capitolline hills and other nearby sites, it probably is one of the places in Rome where a good guide really makes a difference, and leaves you planning your re-visit almost immediately, which was the case here. Gracelyn also offered good general tips on Italian culture and dining, and most importantly good recommendations for restaurants. I would definitely consider using Through Eternity's services again the next time I am in Italy.
We (2 couples) had a wonderful tour. Our guide, Gracelyn was excellent, answering all of our questions and providing us with so much interesting information. She was extremely knowledgeable and very passionate about her work and sharing her knowledge with the group. It was so informative and interesting and we learned so much. Going to the underground of the Colosseum is amazing! Thank you so much Gracelyn for such a wonderful day!