What is an Underground Rome tour?

Posted on Mar 10, 2023 in Arts and History
When we offer a tour of “underground Rome” it can mean many different locations, as Rome has always something “below the surface”. It is surely one of the most fascinating aspects of our city. Nevertheless, not all the underground sites are appropriate for such a tour:
  • some have very difficult (or expensive) access
  • some are not so “easy to get” if you are not an archeologist
  • some have little to see or are too far from the centre
  • some other became too popular and need a reservation too much in advance…
We have inspected most of them and our tours are based on a selection of the most suitable venues for an easy learning experience. For instance:
  1. Jewish catacombs (the only catacombs where we can guide you, Christian catacombs have internal group guided tours included in the tickets).
  2. Roman houses under Christian churches (S.Cecilia, S.Martino ai Monti, S.Maria in Via Lata, SS. Pietro e Paolo at Coelian Hill)
  3. Roman temples under Christian churches (S.Nicola in Carcere, S.Maria in Cosmedin)
  4. Buried Roman buildings (Domitian Stadium, Vicus Caprarius, Mamertine Prison, Caffarella caves, Crypta Balbi, Museo Barracco basement)
  5. Medieval churches buried under newer churches (S.Crisogono, S.Clemente)
  6. Ancient tombs (Pomponio Hylas’ colombarium, Scipio’s mausoleum, necropolis of the “Drugstore” Museum)
  7. Mithraic shrines (S.Clemente, Circus Maximus, Barberini Palace, Caracalla Baths)
  8. The newly open Museo Ninfeo, under a modern office (go with us or book an audioguide)
  9. The “archaeological box” or the Houses under Palazzo Valentini that you can book on own from their websites
  10. A buried aqueduct in Rinascente shopping mall!

All these sites can be a hidden gem to include in a customised tour, including some major sites. Or we can build a full itinerary combining two or three underground sites to compare different situations.

In any case  advance notice is required to make sure there is availability and we can reserve the admission: all these sites are small and access is generally limited. We love to include these sites in our programs, it really conveys the idea of the stratification of Rome and its long history. Scratch the surface with us!

PS Many visitors ask for the underground layers of the Colosseum, they are surely interesting too, but too popular and subject to “scalping”, therefore we gave up and explained our frustration here.