Celebrate your Saturday night a little differently: From August 21, take a guided evening tour of the Colosseum (until October 2) or Baths of Caracalla (until October 23).
The option is especially exciting for the Colosseum, since the tours will include the subterranean area underneath the arena — a section that has never been opened to the public before. Under the stars (and, okay, installed lighting system), explore where the gladiators and animals would have waited for their turn in the arena. Bummer! I realized on a second reading that the website was a little unclear in saying that the subterranean area would be included: Did this mean you'd actually go into the subterranean area or that it would just be talked about? I gave them a follow-up call and it turns out the area is (still!) not open, so it'll be discussed only.
But I stand by the fact that it'll be a different, and uncrowded, way to see the Colosseum.
Tours of both the Colosseum and Baths of Caracalla, led by archaeologists, will be offered in English and Italian from 9pm to midnight each Saturday. The Colosseum costs €15 (including entrance), or €12 reduced; the Baths cost €10, or €8 reduced. To book, call +39 0639967700. For more information (in Italian), click here.
Addendum: For more information on how exactly to book (and do do so in advance), see my response to Jessica's comment, below.
Update, 9/13: Tickets for Colosseum entrances at night are now completely full. However, some times for the Baths of Caracalla remain free. English guided tours are at 10pm only.
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I love your blog… I have a random question: Do you know if it’s required to book ahead? Sept 4th will be my first night in Rome (day 1 of a 2 week Italy trip) and I would love to see this… but I don’t know how to book ahead. 🙂 And I am guessing that the day-of will be too last minute to secure a spot for us??!!!
If you know, or have an inside scoop, could you let me know?
Great question – so, I went ahead and called to see. (Plus, I want to book for myself!)
First, it’s definitely recommended to book in advance, especially since tour groups will be filling up the slots the closer we get.
The only way to do this is do what I did: Call the number I listed above (you can do this easily internationally by downloading and using Skype, a simple and free voice-over-internet program). You’ll hear a lot of Italian. That’s okay. If you wait a moment, you’ll hear the same options in English.
If that’s not working, I’ll walk you through it: First, press “0,” which brings you to the reservation area. When you’re at that menu, press “3”, which is for individuals rather than groups or guides. You’ll then be connected to an operator (you might have to wait a little bit). The operators should speak some English; they’ll ask you what night you want to come, how many people you are, what time, and for your last name. They’ll then give you your reservation number that you’ll have to bring with you when you go. And you’re booked!
Hope that helps, Jessica. Enjoy your visit!
Thanks for the info! I was a little confused before this.
From what you stated, I’m guessing that we don’t have to pay in advance – we simply pay when we get there by referencing the reservation number?
would it be possible to buy a ticket for the Saturday night tour the day before? do you just go to the regular Colosseum ticket location? I’m going to be in Rome in mid September for 3 nights (fri/sat/sun)…going to the Vatican museums on Friday night! Seeing the Colosseum at night would be really interesting and different. Perhaps, I could have my hotel call for me if I decide to go.
that’s tough work checking out gelato all over Rome!!
Even if you can (and I’m not sure you can), I would not buy a ticket the day before. One, they might be sold out. And two, part of the joy of booking for a night tour is that you get to skip the loooooong line that you’ll have to stand in for the normal ticket window if you show up Saturday during the day. Just give them a call on Skype (download it at http://www.skype.com); I have more information on how to do that above.
After much googling around, Mandy, I was really happy to find your article on this event, which gave me the exact information I needed. I called in, followed your instructions, and was, unfortunately, too late. (Apparently, all tickets are sold out for the Saturday we’ll be in Rome.)
Even so, I really do appreciate the detailed information — and your site, in general. You’re doing a great job.
In one other place, I’ve read there is a 22:30 night tour that must be booked on the day of admission, and that it can be purchased only from the cashiers in person. Have you heard anything about this?
Wishing you well — and happy to provide you with everything you could ever want to know about Atlanta, should you ever visit here! 🙂
Glad to be of help!
Colosseum tours: I just called them back, and they say that now all of the tickets for the Colosseum are sold out — including for the 10:30 entrances. So it sounds to me like, unfortunately, the tour you heard about was a little bit of an urban legend.
I hope you have a wonderful stay in Rome regardless! (Tip: If you go to the Colosseum at the end of the day, just before it stops allowing in visitors — this is at 6:15pm through August and 6pm in September — you’ll find a virtually empty site).
What a nice tip. Maybe it’ll be stormy day, and our late afternoon trip to the Colosseum will be “after dark” anyway! 🙂
Thanks so much!
Glad to be of service! Please let us know when you return from your travels how it all went.