The Colosseum’s Underground… Has Re-Opened!

Colosseum hypogeum, open to the public
Good news: The hypogeum, arena and 3rd level of the Colosseum are open as of today, March 12.

Update, October 2011: The Colosseum underground and third level will be open through Dec. 31.

Update, September 2011: The Colosseum hypogeum and 3rd tier will be open through October 2011.

Update, June 2011: Here's updated info on the Colosseum underground, including how it will be open through July and what tour options you have for seeing the underground.

The woman at Pierreci said that they aren't accepting reservations for today or tomorrow, so if you're looking to check the newly-restored areas — closed again since Nov. 30 — out over the weekend, go directly there.

But from Monday, you can make reservations for the tour that takes you into the hypogeum — the underground, "backstage" area where gladiators and animals would have waited for their turns to fight — and up to the third level, as well as onto the arena.

As in the fall, you can't see these areas without a guided tour. Unlike in the fall, Pierreci says that when you book, you also have to pay by credit card in advance. Pierreci told me that  the cost is €9 for the guided tour, plus the €12 entrance ticket, and they said there is no reservation fee. 

English tours are offered daily at 9:40am, 12:20pm, 1pm, 3pm, and 4:20pm. To book, call +39 0639967700. (They should speak English).

As anyone who's been to Italy knows, things are always changing here — or one department might say one thing, but another might say something else. So if anyone has a different experience with this, please let us know in the comments.

Here are more photos and the story of what it's actually like if you're curious what all the hypogeum hubbub is about. And while some of the particulars of how to book have changed, this Q&A on how to see the Colosseum's underground should still be helpful.

Happy booking!

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21 comments

  1. Question-
    I have booked a colosseum/forum tour with a tour company and I will be paying the ticket fee when we arrive. Is this ticket good for the day if I would like to re-enter and do this tour?

  2. Charlie – I don’t know, but I highly doubt it. I’d try them a bit closer to when you come!

    Sue – You won’t be able to use the same ticket to get into the Colosseum twice. If you’re lucky, maybe your tour finishes inside the Colosseum (I’d ask) AND you can book a hypogeum tour that takes place shortly thereafter.

    Hope that helps!

  3. hi – thanks for your updated information. Just got off the phone- made a successful reservation for March 27- the process was very easy, the operators were very helpful! – we are looking forward to our first visit to rome.

  4. FYI: Just phoned this morning – they would not take a reservation for end of May yet (even though their Website says reservations available through June). They told me to call back on Mar 21.

  5. Michele, Stuart and Christine, thanks so much for keeping us updated! Please let us know how the tours go when you get there.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I just tried calling again today (21 March) which is what I was told to do last week when I called and then the lady told me they aren’t yet taking April bookings and to call back tomorrow. Hope I don’t keep getting the run-around 🙁

  7. Hi Christine,

    It’s a good introduction to how Italy works! Just be patient. I don’t think enough people are booking this yet for you to not be able to make a reservation just a few days in advance. Good luck!

  8. I tried calling yesterday and today for a reservation for April 5 or April 6 and they told me that I can’t book a reservation for those dates yet and to try again tomorrow. This is ridiculous, I’m calling from MA and these calls are racking up $ for me to get nowhere 🙁

  9. Hi Joe, Erin, and Kristin –

    Just be patient. As Nathalie’s comment shows, these tours aren’t filling up so fast you can’t book it only a week in advance. Wait a bit longer, then try again. I wouldn’t try to book May until at least mid-April.

    And please, please don’t waste money on international calls! There’s absolutely no reason to. Download Skype, and you can call international phones for a very low rate.

    Good luck!

    And Nathalie, I’m glad it went smoothly for you. Let us know how the tour goes!

  10. Can somebody tell me what’s the price – here it’s written 9€, but on the official site it says 8€. Do I have to pay with credit card or I can only book a ticket and then pay on site? And finally – is it possible to buy a ticket when in Rome?

    They are really confusing us with lack of official information 🙂

  11. Anyone have any ideas about reservation process during Settimana della cCultura? If the Colosseum is free that week, do I pay only for the tour ticket to see the hypogeum?

  12. At last! Our wonderful hotel concierge at Hotel Sonya was able to secure our tickets for 17 April. It only took him about 3-4 tries. Thank goodness for his persistence!

  13. I heard on another site that they were finally taking reservation for April & May.

    I called very early Saturday morning and made reservations for May 26th. They were only offering a 9:40am, 1:00pm, and 4:20pm on that day in English. I couldn’t get the operator to tell me if the 3:00 pm (the time we really wanted) was full or just not offered. We went ahead and reserved the 4:20pm. They charged us 12E for the Colosseum fee and 9.5E for the tour. They charged our credit card and gave us a confirmation number.

    We are only in Rome for one day and I’m hoping everything will work out as planned.

    Kristin

  14. I called yesterday and booked 2 tickets for the end of April. Reading all the other comments, I think I should be glad that I succeeded so quickly! I hope it will be worthwhile, looking forward to our 4 day stay in Rome.

  15. I just reserved tickets for the Colosseum underground tour and two intersting things occurred: 1) the operator told me that I could purchase those tickets at http://www.pierreci.it. I had tried that prior to calling, but didn’t see anywhere to do that. 2) I had to pay for the tickets at the time I booked. This is different from what had been previously reported.

    Can’t wait – soo excited to see the underground and third level.

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