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12 October, 2013

Colosseum Underground and Ancient Rome Tour

View on the Colosseum Rome
Colosseum
The Colosseum - also known as the Flavian Amphitheater - is one of Rome's most recognizable landmarks. No Rome itinerary is complete without visiting this ancient stadium. I took the Semi-Private Colosseum Underground and Ancient Rome Tour with Dark Rome Tours & Walks. This tour includes the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Forum Romanum. What makes this tour so unique is that you are allowed to visit places in the Colosseum which are not open to regular visitors like the underground, the third level and the arena. It is the first time in history that tourists on a special guided tour can visit the underground of the Colosseum! It was truly a once in a lifetime experience, can you imagine yourself walking through the underground tunnels where once the wild animals were held and where the gladiators prepared themselves for battle?


Flavian Amphitheater entrance
Flavian Amphitheater - Colosseum
At 8:15 am sharp, I arrived full of anticipation at the agreed meeting point, the small square above Metro B Blue Line stop Colosseo. From that little square you have a great view on the Colosseum and part of the Forum Romanum. We were introduced to our guide, Dario and received head phones and a little radio. Before we entered the Colosseum with our skip the line tickets, Dario provided us detailed information on the Colosseum's fascinating history. Although we were only a small group, I really liked the headphones and radio provided, cause even when I was taking photos the entire time I could hear Dario very loud and clear through my headphones.


View on the interior of the Colosseum
Colosseum interior
The construction of the Flavius Amphitheater - which started in 72 A.D. was ordered by emperor Vespasian Flavius. Emperor Titus inaugurated the Colosseum after its completion in 80 A.D, the inauguration games and festivities went on for 100 days. Today only about 30 pct of the original Colosseum remains and out of those 30 pct only about 30 pct is still original. The Colosseum had on the outside three rows of 80 arches and had 76 numbered entries, above entrance XXIII the numbers are still visible. With a seating capacity of 50.000 the Colosseum can easily compete with the modern stadiums and their system was incredible efficient as all spectators could enter/leave within 25 minutes through the different entrances/exits. The emperor had a separate lodge with a private entrance. There were also separate sections for the magistrates, the senators and so on … the higher your social position was, the closer you would sit to the arena.


Standing on the arena in the Colosseum
Colosseum Arena
When we entered the Colosseum we walked straight through till the end where a lady opened the gate for us, this way we reached the arena where only tourists on a special tour like this one are allowed to come. It was such an amazing experience standing on this arena imagining the past … the dramatic plays, the wild game hunts, the viciously bloody gladiator battles, the famous battles in Roman history which were played out by the gladiators on this stage ...

There were no carriage runs in the Colosseum, those were held in the Circo Massimo. Some people believe that the Colosseum could even be filled with water so they could held sea battles complete with warships and all in the Colosseum. Dario explained that this was impossible cause the Colosseum - although the world's largest amphitheater - is way to small for warships and in addition the arena floor was made out of wood and under the floor were the cages where the animals were kept … This legend is probably based upon the fact that they build the Colosseum on top of Nero's artificial lake trying to erase the memory of this hated emperor but no sea battles were every held in the Colosseum.

   
Underground tunnels in the Colosseum
Colosseum Underground
We continued our visit by going to the underground where the animals were kept in cages, you can still see the form of the cages as well as the holes on the ground where the animals were chained. They brought the animals up to the arena using platforms. 



Holiday Nomad in Colosseum Third Tier Level
Colosseum third tier level
After this impressive visit to the underground, we explored the areas in the Colosseum which are open to all visitors after which we entered again a part of the Colosseum only accessible when you are on special tour: the 'third tier' level of the Colosseum from where you have an amazing view over the Amphitheater and Ancient Rome. 


View on the Forum Romanum
Forum
After our visit to the Colosseum, we went to the nearby Forum Romanum the centre of Ancient Rome. Some of the most dramatic scenes in Roman history took place here, it was also the place were Mark Anthony delivered his famous oration at Julius Caesar's funeral. 



Forum Romanum
Forum Romanum
While exploring the Forum Romanum and its impressive temples, Dario kept sharing his excellent Ancient Rome knowledge with us. We ended this amazing tour with Dark Rome Tours & Walks with a climb to the top of Palatine Hill from where you can enjoy fabulous panoramic views. I truly enjoyed this incredible unique tour.


Freya - Holiday Nomad, a Travel and Photo Blog


40 comments:

  1. Awesome post, Freya! What I loved about this post is that so many people look at the Colosseum and say, "oh wow, cool." But, my Dad taught history for 30 years and there are a lifetime(s) of stories behind it. Like you said, the 50,000 people in the seats. The gladiators and animals getting ready for battle. I read this and (love to do this) escaped like I was back in the day hundreds of years ago. I was watching the battle about to begin. Great post! :)

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    1. Hi Mike thanks. I think historical places like that are great, I love to try imagine as well how those places were like hundreds of years ago.

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  2. Wow! I didn't even know you could do the private tour of the inaccessible places. If I ever make it to Rome, I will definitely keep this in mind. Thanks again Freya.

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    1. Hope you'll make it to Rome on day, it's such a beautiful city.

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  3. So cool! Beautiful pictures too. I've been hearing a lot about the Walks of Italy tours from several bloggers so it's nice to learn about another company :) I'm planning a trip to Italy next spring so all of this is very helpful! Thanks for sharing.

    Happy travels :)

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    1. Hi Lauren, thanks for stopping by. Have a great trip next spring.

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  4. You post reminded me a lot of my first trip to Rome 2 years ago. I didn't go for a tour like you because I decided to explore it with my best friend. We are carrying a huge book about the history of the Colosseum and walked from the entrance to its exit. It was such a sunny day and we had great time there. Lovely pictures my dear! :)

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    1. Hi Agness, thanks. Yes it's a great city and when the sun shines it looks even better, for as far that's possible :)

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  5. I re-visit a history lesson to a beautiful place.
    Thank you.

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  6. Great tour Freya and thanks for sharing it here. Gives me chills to read of the history, can only imagine what it felt like for you to stand there.

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    1. Hi Maria thanks, I really enjoyed this tour.

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  7. Great post, Freya! Useful to know about the semi-private tours

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  8. I had never heard of the sea battles myth, shame that's all it was.

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    1. haha I agree that would have been really cool :-)

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  9. We visited the Colosseum with the Roma Pass, so we got to bypass the lines, but I would love to take the underground tour!

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    1. Hi Katherine, the tour was really good and it's quite unique to be able to go to the underground and to stand on the arena

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  10. You're right, no trip to Rome is complete without seeing Colosseum. This is a lot of history. Interesting read as always!

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  11. I am soooo looking forward to visiting Rome next year and the Colosseum is at the top of my list of course! We'll only have 2 nights in Rome so we'll have to make the most of our time. I've been researching different tour companies so I'll have to check this one out since I trust your recommendation. Great review!

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    1. HI Dana, it was a really good tour. You will have a few busy days then next year cause there's so much to see in Rome. Enjoy.

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  12. Great Heritage tour!
    Thanks for sharing the history and photos of this heritage building..

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  13. Killer first photo! Thanks for sharing!

    EWM
    http://www.travelingmcintyres.tumblr.com

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  14. Aww, this makes me want to go back. I loved the Colosseum and I just loved Rome full stop. I think it must be one of my favourite cities!

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    1. It is indeed a great city, I definitely want to go back one day.

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  15. We went to the Colosseo last year together but just with a standard entry; looks like we made a mistake! The tour looks really good and should we head back to Roma again any time soon I think we might have to go in for a detailed tour like this one.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It was for sure really interesting

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  16. Yes, I had been to a similar tour while in Rome! They are beautiful isn't it? Simply brought back a whole lot of memories for me!

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    1. It is indeed very interesting and such a beautiful city.

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  17. This looks like a wonderful tour and what a great experience. We were in Rome a few years ago and visited the Colosseum but didn't do a tour. I regret that decision now. When we go back, I'd like to do this type of tour especially since you get to be away from all the tourists. Beautiful pictures, Freya.

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    1. Thanks Mary, I love tours that give you the opportunity to experience something a bit more unique away from the crowds.

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  18. One of the beautiful placs in Rome - my husband saw it, I didnt' have the chance (yet ;) ). Loved the photos - beautiful light in them, lovely angles!

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    1. You really should try to visit one day Lori, it's such a beautiful city.

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  19. Hey. . Your post is like a great photo tour of Colosseum. I have been to Rome in 2010 and visited Colosseum. It was really a royal experience.
    Recently I read that renovation of Colosseum is going on. I hope after renovation it would be mightier.

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    1. There are indeed some renovations going on currently but it is still amazing

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  20. You took me inside this remarkable structure. To think, after all this time even 30% still remains is absolutely mind boggling. Your images really captured the essence of this place. I hope to travel to Rome one day, although it is not high on my list; I think this blog has made it a case to reevaluate my top priority travel destinations.

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    1. Thanks for the really nice comment Michael. I'm sure you will enjoy Rome.

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Freya - Holiday Nomad