Colosseum

Colosseum Underground Tour

Colosseum Underground Tour

The underground of the Colosseum & the 3rd tier holds outstanding stories & sights of the Ancient world. In ancient Rome, thousands of people watched the battle of slaves, convicted criminals, and wild animals in a large amphitheater known as the Colosseum.

Under the wooden Colosseum floor, which was the scene of many gladiator events and wild animal hunting, was a completely different world. To make these eerie displays possible, Roman architects designed a series of intricate and interconnected tunnels beneath the floor of the Colosseum arena: Underground of Colosseum. You can find everything you are looking for in our article about the underground tunnels of the Colosseum which you can visit with a guide today.

Join Colosseum Underground Tours & Tickets:

There are hundreds of Colosseum and Rome tours that we compare on our website. Some of these tours are underground tours. The tours we have compiled for you are as follows**. Prices of tours vary according to group size (eg private group, group of 10 or group of 30 people), date and time. When compiling the tours, we took into account the number of positive reviews and the review score. For example, we do not find it appropriate to share a tour with 3 stars out of 5 with you.

**Tour prices are checked and updated everyday. You can click on the reservation link for short-term opportunities and more details. You can send us an e-mail for your tour suggestions, we will be happy to publish them.

We recommend
Colosseum Underground and Ancient Rome Guided Tour
Cavour 301

from €99.90 EUR (Approx.)
Available: July and September
Duration: 3 Hours
541 Reviews
 Organized by: Show Me Italy

Begin the tour with special access to the arena floor where you will receive an introduction. As you stand on the arena floor, walk in the footsteps of gladiators and imagine the roaring cr […]
Ancient Rome Tour with Colosseum Underground
58 Piazza del Colosseo

from €109 EUR (Approx.)
Available: Today, July and August
Duration: 3 Hours
3357 Reviews
 Organized by: Crown Tours

Get exclusive access to limited locations and examine the workings of the Colosseum beneath the arena floor! Avoid the lines to the main monuments of Ancient Rome on a small group guided tr […]
Colosseum Underground by Night Guided Tour
58 Piazza del Colosseo

from €79.00 EUR
Available: July, August and September
Duration: 2 hours
361 Reviews
 Organized by: City Wonders Ltd.

Once you enter without the need for waiting in the line, you will have a chance to stand on the exact same spots that gladiators used to stand before the century. You will also walk through […]
Ancient Rome Tour: Colosseum Underground, Arena Floor & Roman Forum
Piazza del Arco di Costantino

from €89.00 EUR
Available: Between July 4-8, and August
Duration: 75 Minutes – 3 Hours
2491 Reviews
 Organized by: Touriks

With your professional guide, discover the most well-known amphitheater in the world and inside the Colosseum, feel like you are living in the Roman Empire era. As an exclusive guest, enjoy […]
Colosseum, Underground and Roman Forum Small-Group Tour
58 Piazza del Colosseo

from €115  EUR (Approx.)
Available: July, August and September
Duration: 3 Hours
300 Reviews
 Organized by: Tours of Rome SRLS

Start your tour by meeting the guide outside the Colosseum at the preset departure time. Explore the site that has become the symbol of the city for centuries. Learn about the Colosseum's r […]
Colosseum with Underground Tour (VIP Small-Group)
Via Sacra

from €129.00 EUR
Available: Between July 15-31 and August
Duration: 3 Hours
200 Reviews
 Organized by: Tiqets

Subterranean tunnels and chambers will welcome you and after, you will head towards the Palatine Hill and Roman Forum, with your professional guide. Incline your ears to your guide while he […]
Colosseum Restricted Areas Tour: Arena and Underground
Piazza del Arco di Costantino

from €89.00 EUR
Available: July 7 and September 2022
Duration: 75 Minutes
99 Reviews
 Organized by: Touriks

This amazing building, which is also classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, is the biggest and the most well-preserved amphitheaters from ancient Rome. Do you know that the building […]

If you think that the underground tour option exceeds your budget, you can choose tickets with the Arena-Entry option or standart skip-the-line entry.

Skip the Line Colosseum with Arena Floor + Professional Guided Tour
1 Piazza del Colosseo

from €50.00 EUR (Approx.)
Available: Today, July and August
Duration: 1-4 Hours
6030 Reviews
 Organized by: Enjoy Rome

Visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill on a guided tour of all three attractions. Learn all about everyday Roman life, the Colosseum’s gory history, and the city’s rumored found […]
Skip the Line: Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill Package
1 Piazza del Colosseo

from €21.50 EUR
 Organized by: Getyourguide

Skip the lengthy queue for the entry-ticket line and go straight to the fast lane entry for safety and security checks. After going into the Roman Colosseum at your assigned time, experienc […]
Popular
Colosseum Priority Entrance + Arena Floor, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
1 Piazza del Colosseo

from €29.00 EUR 
Duration: 3-4 Hours
 Seller: Tiqets

Built in the middle of the broad valley between the Palatine, the Esquiline and the Caelian hills, the largest of the monuments of ancient Rome became quickly and inevitably the "Colossus" […]

History and Facts

The Roman Colosseum was constructed between 72 AD and 80 AD under the Roman Emperor Vespasian. When it was first built it was initially called the Flavian Amphitheatre (latin: Amphitheatrum Flavium), after the Flavian dynasty of Emperors including Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. The labyrinth of originally vaulted rooms beneath the arena was built over a number of years after the inaugruration of the amphitheatre by Emperor Domitian. Later elevators on pulley systems added. They lifted gladiators, wild animals, and scenery to the arena floor. Huge, hinged platforms allowed animals to walk up to the arena of the Colosseum.

colosseum underground illustration

Illustration from a brochure.

Some antique sources state that prior to the construction of the hypogea using blocks of tufa and brick, the central area used to be flooded to stage naval battles (naumachiae). This underground area was divided into 15 corridors set to the side of a central gallery along the longest axis of the building (east-west), and were used for the various complex operations of the amphitheatre and hydraulic infrastructure. The stage machinery, armouries games, arms and cages for the animals were all stored here. Hoists operated by capstans served to make figures and sets appear at the centre of the arena through trap doors and ramps, while the animals would enter close to the sides of the arena.

The central gallery continued beneath the eastern entrance towards the Ludus Magnus, the most important training ground for gladiators, the remains of which can still be seen just outside the Colosseum between via Labicana and via di San Giovanni in Laterano. By following this secret passage, the gladiators could reach the arena directly without being seen in the street. The emperors also used a subterranean corridor — called the Passage of Commodus — enabling them to avoid putting themselves at risk by crossing the crowded square in front of the amphitheatre.

Colosseum Underground Tour

Colosseum Underground Tour

Colosseum Underground Tour

Colosseum Underground Tour – Winter Time

Colosseum Underground Tour

Colosseum Underground Tour

Running a great building like the Roman Colosseum needed a large staff and tireless managers to organize them. Some Colosseum staff could be seen by the spectators as they swept and cleaned, guarded the entrances, and lugged heavy safety fences into place. But most people working at the Colosseum were less visible because they worked underground. While the gladiators fought and the lions roared overhead in the arena, dozens of workmen and slaves were busy in the maze of corridors, elevators, stairs, and store-rooms that lay hidden beneath the Roman Colosseum, far from public view.

Colosseum Underground Tour

Colosseum Underground Tour

Colosseum Underground Tour

Colosseum Underground Tour

hypogeum of colosseum

Stream of water under the Colosseum and  tunnels.

The Roman engineers designed tunnels to bring the Gladiators into the arena hidden. The animals were confined in cages and raised in elevators 30 feet up. They were trained to assault their enemy at very first sight. Trap doors would launch the animals and men at the same time into the arena. The 4th tier of the arena had the most remarkable technological technology for its times – A retractable roofing made from the canvas was utilized to offer shelter to the audience from the scorching sun.

Colosseum Underground Tour

Colosseum Underground Tour

While the audience in the Colosseum focused on the bloody events in the arena, the hypogeum below it was a scene of furious activity. Laborers performed their backbreaking jobs in humid summer and chilly, damp winter. The chambers reeked from years of accumulated smells of human sweat and wild animals.

It was also dark, lit only by smoky oil lanterns. And it was deafeningly loud, with an overwhelming din of creaking machinery, people shouting, animals growling, and loud signals made by horns or drums to coordinate the complex series of tasks being carried out. Then, when it was all over, there was an eerie calm—but the work was not finished.

Colosseum Underground Tour

The remains of the underground passages and rooms of the Colosseum. This is where animals and prisoners spent their last hours before being brought into the arena.

Historian Fik Meijer writes, After the spectators have left the Colosseum, a powerful atmosphere of death and decay lingers in the underground passageways. Carcasses of wild animals lie everywhere, along with the corpses of executed criminals, horribly mutilated by the claws and teeth of predators. Everything is drenched in blood and there remains a penetrating odour of rotting esh. But since there may well be another show within a few days, perhaps even the next day, everything has to look clean again. For the large permanent sta of the Colosseum and the extra manpower hired for the occasion, a dispiriting task now begins: clearing out all the corpses and carcasses.

Underground of the Colosseum, the oval amphitheater used for gladiatorial contests and battles

Underground of the Colosseum, the oval amphitheater used for gladiatorial contests and battles.

Underground Tour: Worth It?

If you are looking for a detailed Colosseum visit and planning to take a tour, we highly recommend you to take a tour that includes visiting the underground of the Colosseum. Of course, the first thing you will witness when you visit the Colosseum will be pure stone creations. However standing in the narrow aisles of the Colosseum where gladiators stand before the fights, feeling the atmosphere of the venue, where gladiators were once worried and sweat, is a unique feeling that you must experience. Also as you can learn more about by clicking this link, the ancient elevator is recreated by archaeologists.

The underground tours of Colosseum usually include the arena section, other parts of the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. You can learn more about how the Colosseum used to be and the lives of gladiators by participating in one of the tours with thousands of positive feedbacks we recommend.

See the stream of water under the Colosseum, see underground sites and the upper area of the arena. Get special access to limited locations and check out the arena flooring of the Colosseum while countless other visitors take a look at you with envy. Discover more about the underground staging location where animals were caged and the gladiators honed their swords in preparation. Check out the just recently opened dungeons and examine the working systems below the arena and on the arena flooring itself.

Visiting the Underground by Night

If you don’t want to visit the Colosseum in the heat of the day and you want to visit it away from the busy crowds, you can visit the Colosseum at night. Visiting the Colosseum at night doesn’t mean you’ll see it in total darkness. You will not miss the details thanks to the special lightings and the explanations of your tour guide. Also, a night visit will give you a different perspective and atmosphere. However, underground night tours do not have the option to visit the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill can only be visited at night for special events.

2021 Update – Good News

The underground structure of the Colosseum can be visited on a tour since 2010. However, these visits covered only a small part of the underground structure of the Colosseum.

As a result of the arrangements and work done by the Italian authorities during the global coronavirus pandemic, tourists will now be able to explore the underground tunnels and rooms almost completely. With the restoration project financed by the Italian fashion company Tod’s and involving 81 archaeologists and experts, 15 corridors were opened to visitors. Visitors will now be able to tour the backstage of the Colosseum, which is spread over half a hectare with a 160-meter walking path, much easier.

Restoring the Colosseum underground is actually part of a much larger restoration project. The project, which is expected to be completed by 2023, is aimed to cover the underground and to be buried in darkness as in ancient times. After the restorations carried out in the arena and underground are completed, visitors to the Colosseum will be able to perceive the functioning of the building much better.

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For the reasons explained in our article, we recommend the Colosseum Underground Tour.

User Rating: 4.97 ( 26 votes)
  • Our tour guide told everything we would like to know about the Colosseum, Palantine Hill, and the Roman Forum. The best part of the tour was, our guide let us enough free time to take photos while she was still informing us about the area. We attended the tour as a family and it was a great experience for all of us.

  • I had a great day on our tour in Colesseum, Forum, and Palatine Hill. I found the Forum and Hill tour quite interesting. Our guide was a professor at a university that had unmatched knowledge about the history and mythology of Rome.

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