i think i once commented that i had pretty much snapped the colloseum at every single possible angle and under every single light condition (yeah i’ve been there that many times). and i suppose it’s no surprise, since the gargantuan monument is pretty much 4 train stations away from my house with a direct line.
then i headed in for the first time.
now to be honest, i was never really interested in entering the colloseum. i mean, its just a pile of rocks and crumbling structures right? i’m the sort of geeky arts/history guy that would rather spend time gazing at bernini statues or catching that elusive caravaggio painting and hence I had always passed up the opportunity to get in.
thankfully, i was notified that parts of the colloseum that were closed for renovation works for a long time were recently re-opened – this included the underground level, the gladiator (ground) level as well as the uppermost deck of the colloseum. you can’t access these parts normally, but had to register for one of three tours, as mentioned in revealedrome.com. of course, me being the cheapskate, opted for the cheapest option (which was still darn expensive!) which was to buy tickets granting a colloseum-only one hour tour (covering those re-opened special levels), as well as entry to not only the colloseum, but the palatine hill and foro romano grounds (but to be honest, you do need a guide for the latter two as well, else you would be staring at a pile of rocks). this costs roughly 21euro per person and you need to call Rome’s cultural association, Pierecci at +39 06 39967700. i’ve tested it and it works – though they require you to pay via credit card through the phone, which was kind of annoying.
still, once you’ve chosen a timeslot and booked your tickets, things will be a breeze on the actual day as you saunter past the normal ticket queue and head direct to the “tours/bookings” counter and tell them you booking code. easy does it.
and the tour is really decent and imo, pretty worthwhile. the structure really does come to life under the masterful storytelling of the tour guide and its a thrill to somewhat re-enact scenes of the past, to envision how the gladiators fought and how the entire structure worked as a whole. (i’m not gonna spoil it for you guys). yup, they do answer questions like (i) why are there so many holes on the exterior of the colloseum? (ii) did they really flood the colloseum to engage in naval battles before? (iii) what happened to the one entire part of the exterior segment of the colloseum?
and really, i think what makes the tour worthwhile is also access to the top floor (third level) of the colloseum, where you get a commanding view of not only the entire colloseum, but also of the surrounding cityscape – a rare vantage point in a city so skyscraper-scarce where no buildings can exceed the height of the Vatican dome.
so yeah, go for it. i’ll recommend some restaurants/cafes nearby in the upcoming posts. =)