Useful Information

Location: Rome, centre, near Forum Romanum.
Open: 19-OCT to NOV daily.
Only after reservation.
Fee: Adults EUR 8.
Classification: SubterraneaCasemates SubterraneaCellar SubterraneaWater Supply SubterraneaSewage System
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: V=18,000/day [2010]
Address: Colosseum, Tel: +39-06-39-967700.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


19-OCT-2010 underground passages of Colosseum opened to the public.


The Colosseum is the biggest amphitheater the Romans ever built: 189m long, 156 m wide, and with a 48 m high outer wall. The elliptical theater has an elliptical central arena 87 m long and 55 m wide, where gladiators fought for their life against other gladiators or dangerous animals, but it could also be flooded for ship battles. Sepearated from the arena by a 5 m high wall are tiers of seating which could accommodate 50,000 people. The Colosseaum was built by Roman emperor Vespasian. If you want to get an idea of the Colosseum, see the movie Gladiator. The real location is in the middle of Rome, right beneath the Forum Romanum, the ancient center of Rome.

The Colosseum is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Rome, but its a free-standing structure, not underground. To provide all kinds of infrastructure there was a vast subterranean world below the amphitheatre, unseen by the thousands of visitors. It included plumbing for the toilets, sewers, tunnels for the gladiators, dungeons, stables for the animals, and even a secret tunnel through which VIPs could enter and leave the Colosseaum secretly.

This underground levels were closed for the public while the Colosseum was in use, and they were closed until recently. Almost 20,000 people visited the Colosseum per day but they were only allowed to see the ground floor, about one hird of the building. Now the sub level, and an upper level (third tier) are also open to the public. The reason is simple: the managers wanted to reduce the pressure on the monument caused by the enormous amount of visitors, by opening additional parts. On the short view this is a futile attempt. There are many people eager to see the underground level, the number of visitors might rise, at least at first.

The underground level is entered through the Porta Libitina, the Gate of Death. It was named so, because here the bodies of the dead were carried away. The following vaults are in a rather good condition: the reason is simply the underground and thus protected situation. They have never been exposed to rain or tourists.