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Colosseum Underground

Is the Colosseum Underground Worth It?

Rome, with its timeless allure, stands as a testament to the grandeur of ancient civilizations, and at its heart is the Colosseum – an iconic symbol of Roman engineering and gladiatorial combat. While the upper levels of the Colosseum offer panoramic views of Rome and insights into spectator experiences, the underground holds secrets that many visitors often ask themselves: is it worth exploring? Let’s take a look.

What is the Colosseum Underground?

Historical Significance of the Subterranean Area

The Colosseum’s underground, or “hypogeum,” is a complex network of passages, chambers, and cells that once buzzed with activity. During the peak of the Roman Era, it was at the very heart of the Colosseum where the magic behind the grand spectacles was orchestrated; where gladiators prepared for their battles, wild animals were housed, and intricate machinery was operated to surprise and astonish the audience above. 


In short, the hypogeum represents the behind-the-scenes of what was arguably the most significant entertainment venue in ancient Rome, making it a must-see for history buffs or enthusiasts of Ancient Roman history.

Archaeological Discoveries and Artifacts

Excavations of the Colosseum’s underground have unearthed a wealth of information about the arena’s inner workings and the lives of those who populated its depths; from tools and equipment to traces of the original elevators that transported animals and gladiators to the arena floor, the artifacts offer a rare glimpse into the operational aspects of the grand shows. Plus, inscriptions, graffiti, and personal items found in the cells paint a vivid picture of the lives, hopes, and fears of the gladiators.

Benefits of Visiting the Colosseum Underground

Access to Restricted Areas

One of the primary advantages of a Colosseum underground tour is the exclusivity; these sections are off-limits to general ticket holders, ensuring a more intimate and less crowded experience. Walking these hallowed halls, you’ll tread where few get the chance to step, feeling the echoes of history beneath your feet.

Immersive and Exclusive Experience

Descending into the underground, you’re transported back in time; away from the crowds, you can almost hear the murmurs of gladiators and the roar of the lions that once waited underground before the grand spectacle! Guided tours, like those offer by us at What a Life Tours, will also often share stories and anecdotes from seasoned experts and historians, bringing the ancient world to life in a way the upper levels simply can’t match.

Learning about Gladiatorial History

While the Colosseum’s stands speak of the spectators, the underground tells the gladiators’ tales; you’ll get a chance to learn about their training, their lives, the politics and economics of hosting games, and the intricate mechanics that went into creating the arena’s spectacular shows.

Colosseum Underground Tour Highlights

Underground Passages and Service Areas

The interconnected tunnels and passages of the Colosseum’s underground served as the logistical backbone of the arena’s operations; these service areas ensured the seamless execution of the games, transporting everything from exotic animals to stage props. Today, walking these passageways, visitors on a private tour can appreciate the engineering prowess of ancient Romans and the sheer magnitude of efforts invested in the gladiatorial shows.

View of the Arena from Below

Another one of the highlights of the underground tour is the unique perspective it offers. Imagine standing below the colossal arena, looking up through the trapdoors and imagining the surge of adrenaline the gladiators must have felt just moments before emerging into the roaring amphitheater. This view, coupled with the stories of valiant fights and theatrical spectacles, truly encapsulates the essence of the Colosseum’s grandeur.

The Bottom Line

Is the Colosseum Underground worth it? In short, absolutely! While the majestic arches and the panoramic views of Rome from the Colosseum’s upper tiers are undoubtedly awe-inspiring, the underground experience offers a deeper, more intimate dive into the world of ancient Rome. It’s a journey through time, a visceral connection to the legends, the heroes, and the ordinary people who once stood at the very heart of the Roman Empire’s entertainment. For those seeking a comprehensive understanding of the Colosseum and its multifaceted history, the underground tour is an unmissable chapter!


How long does the Colosseum Underground tour take?

Typically, the underground tour lasts about an hour and a half. This is in addition to the time you might spend exploring the other parts of the Colosseum.

Is the underground tour suitable for children?

Yes, the tour is suitable for children. However, due to the historical and intricate details shared, it might be more appreciated by older kids and teenagers with an interest in history.

Is the underground accessible for those with mobility issues?

The Colosseum’s underground has uneven surfaces, steps, and narrow passages. Hence, it might not be fully accessible for those with mobility challenges.

Do I need a guided tour to access the underground?

The underground is only accessible via a guided tour; guides also provide in-depth historical context and insights that truly enrich the experience, so we highly recommend opting for one!

Aerial view on vatican gardens

The Vatican Gardens: A Hidden Gem of Vatican Tours

The Vatican Museums, the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel – these are no doubt just some of the things that spring to mind when you hear the phrase “trip to Rome.” But did you know that over half of Vatican City is actually consumed by the Vatican Gardens, a lush, green landscape full of history, landmarks, and the beauty of nature? If you come to Rome with a pre-booked Vatican tour, you’ll be able to access and explore the Vatican gardens at your leisure – but what are they, and what can you expect? Let’s take a look.


What are the Vatican Gardens?

The Vatican Gardens are an expansive oasis of lush greenery, striking architecture, and historical artifacts nestled within the heart of the Vatican City – and did you know that in spanning an impressive 57 acres, these gardens cover more than half of the entire Vatican City’s land?

Dating back to medieval times, the Vatican Gardens are a stunning testament to the artistry and skill of the many generations that have contributed to its development, and despite their historical significance, are often overshadowed by the city’s other attractions, such as the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

However, for those in search of a unique and serene experience, the Vatican Gardens offer a delightful escape and a fascinating insight into Vatican history and culture – so why should you take a tour? Let’s take a look.


What can you expect to see at the Vatican Gardens?

So, why opt for tours in Vatican City that include a walk around the secretive Vatican Gardens? Here are just a few spots that you can enjoy with your guide:


Marian gardens and Lourdes’ grotto

One of the most interesting areas of the Vatican Gardens is the collection of Marian gardens, which are dedicated to the Virgin Mary. These gardens are filled with vibrant flowers and tranquil spaces for contemplation, and you’ll also find the Lourdes’ grotto, a replica of the original grotto in France where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to Saint Bernadette. This sacred space is a popular destination for pilgrims and visitors seeking a moment of peace and reflection, but also simply another beautiful part of the Vatican to explore if you get the chance.


Torre di San Giovanni

The Torre di San Giovanni, or Tower of St. John, is a medieval tower that offers a fascinating look into the gardens’ early development. Once used as a papal residence, the tower is now surrounded by greenery and offers stunning views of the Vatican gardens, as well as the rest of the small country.


The Berlin Wall

A surprising element within the Vatican Gardens is a section of the Berlin Wall, a historical symbol of the division between East and West Germany during the Cold War. After the wall fell in 1989, a portion of it was gifted to Pope John Paul II in gratitude for his support of the reunification of Germany. Today, you can view this striking artifact within the gardens, serving as a powerful reminder of the global impact of the Vatican and its role in promoting peace and unity.


Heliport and train station

Within the Vatican Gardens, you can also find the Vatican Heliport and the Vatican City train station, which are actually essential parts of the Vatican’s transportation infrastructure. The heliport is used for papal travel and visiting dignitaries, while the train station connects the Vatican to Italy’s railway network. These modern facilities offer a unique contrast to the gardens’ historical and natural elements, serving as another example of the Vatican’s integration of contemporary technology with traditional, historically-preserved designs.


The Italian garden

The Italian garden is another beautiful space within the Vatican Gardens, where you can find a bit of calm and serenity amongst the pine trees, cypresses and overwhelming calm of the outdoor space. You can also spot the Italian Garden from the top of the Dome – keep on the lookout for its symmetrical designs!


Why take a private tour

As we already mentioned, you can only visit the Vatican Gardens with a pre-booked guided tour, but why opt for crowded group tours? Instead, indulge in a private guided and tour and enjoy the following benefits:


Fewer tourists

By opting for a private tour, you can avoid the large crowds that often accompany group excursions. With fewer tourists to navigate through, you’ll have more time to take in the breathtaking sights and sounds of the Vatican Gardens and other attractions.


More intimate experience

Another benefit of a private tour is that it offers a more intimate experience, allowing you to connect with your tour guide and receive a tailor-made experience catered to your interests. This personalized approach means you’ll have the opportunity to delve deeper into the areas that most captivate you and ask unlimited questions, whether they be about the beautiful Marian gardens, the fascinating history of the Torre di San Giovanni, or the tranquil Italian garden.


Skip-the-Line privileges

One of the most significant advantages of taking a private Vatican tour is the ability to skip the long queues that often form at popular attractions such as the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. With your private tour guide, you’ll enjoy faster access to these iconic sites, saving you valuable time and allowing you to make the most of your visit to the Vatican City.

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