What is under the soil of Rome? Discover the beauties and secrets of underground Rome
Lakes, hidden paths, catacombs, bunkers and ancient crypts: this and much more hide the underground of the Capital, the eternal city that never ceases to amaze. In underground Rome there is a path full of charm and history that very few know, but that winds for kilometers under the cobblestones set in the historic center.
From the Colosseum to the Trevi Fountain, guided tours of hidden Rome are a must-see for those who can't get enough of the most beautiful city in the world. Did you know that it is also possible to visit the underground of the Colosseum?
And that in the architectural complex of Villa Torlonia Mussolini built a fallout shelter in the depths of the subsoil?
Let's find out together what other secrets underground Rome hides, and how to visit these exclusive hidden places.
Visit to the basement of the Colosseum, a stop not to be missed.
We start the tour from the symbol of Rome and the Roman Empire, the Colosseum, the most famous historical monument in the world.
Many of us will have visited it, but not everyone knows that it also hides a vast underground area where gladiators prepared for shows. The technical name of these areas is hypogea, built during the reign of Domitian following the completion of the external construction of the Colosseum.
It was in fact a real backstage of the amphitheater, where the protagonists took refuge in search of a moment of tranquility while waiting. Animals were also placed in these underground areas, connected to the main arena through a long series of tunnels. Today these places have been preserved, but have suffered the effect of erosion by atmospheric agents and natural elements.
A visit to the basement of the Colosseum will take you back in time, making you relive the emotions of imperial Rome. In order not to miss this opportunity, I recommend you take part in an organized tour, which combines access to the arena with a visit to the basement and the Imperial Forums.
You can find more information about this guided tour here.
The underground Trastevere
In the picturesque Roman district of the Trastevere district the subsoil hides real underground gems, among crypts and frescoes this path will amaze you.
It is here that, guided by an expert archaeologist, you can admire the rest of the early Christian church of San Crisogono, which opens the doors of an even wider scenario dating back to fourth-century Rome, made up of Roman houses, frescoes and burial rooms dedicated to the martyr Cecilia, with its basilica.
Being underground it may seem a difficult itinerary, but in reality it is suitable for the whole family and in the path it is possible to walk without any difficulty.
If you want to visit the underground Trastevere you can take part in a guided tour, as you can imagine this area can only be visited with an organized visit and an expert guide.
The underground lakes of Monteverde
This sensational discovery dates back only to the early '30s, when some speleologists found themselves in front of a series of small underground lakes with clear and crystalline water, coming from a tuff quarry, near the San Camillo Forlanini complex, an important hospital institution in Rome.
It is thought that patients staying in the hospital took refuge there during the war.
But this is not the only underground conformation of this kind, which seems to be typical of some Roman areas, so much so that the same conformation has also been detected under the Caelian Hill. Incredible!
A group of experts then immersed themselves in the underground tunnels to discover these paths of the Roman subsoil, in 2013, bringing to light a surprising photographic reportage.
Unfortunately, this like other areas of underground Rome is not accessible to visitors, being impervious territories and still little traveled. Without a doubt, the path of Roman hidden secrets in the near future can also be made more accessible to citizens and tourists, with the necessary modifications.
The Catacombs of San Callisto
We already know that underground Rome offers many scenarios belonging to the ancient Roman era, among these stand out for the number the crypts and catacombs, of great importance for their symbolic and religious meaning. The Roman catacombs are configured as a long labyrinth of alleys, burial chambers at a depth of 16 meters where it is easy to get lost without the help of an expert guide.
The catacombs are ancient and represent an unparalleled cultural heritage, among the most famous you may have heard of the Catacombs of Domitilla, or those of San Callisto, or the Crypt of the Capuchin Friars, an underground ossuary near Via Veneto that houses the bones of about 3700 monks.
Do not miss the experience of visiting these ancient meanders of the city, you can choose the date and book online a guided tour in these thrilling places!
This organized tour in particular also includes a transfer to and from the center of Rome. It is very important to have water and comfortable shoes to better enjoy the experience. If you suffer from claustrophobia it may not be the right visit for you!
The underground of the Trevi Fountain
If you are wondering what lies under the most famous fountain in the world, we will reveal it to you: it is a wonderful archaeological area recently discovered, dating back to the time of Nero.
It is called Vicus Caprarius, or more romantically the City of Water, and is a vast area occupied by a luxurious stately home through which some pipes fed by the same water of the fountain pass. The domus dates back to the fourth century, and today it is possible to visit it: it is a unique experience, not to be missed for its extraordinary beauty.
If you are interested you can buy your entrance immediately, you will also be given headphones to better listen to the guide. The meeting for the visit is directly a few steps from the Trevi Fountain, and the maximum number of participants is eight people. During the visit you will learn all the secrets of this work that the whole world envies us.
Bunkers and fallout shelters
The Roman subsoil also hides among its secrets some important anti-atomic and anti-aircraft bunkers, built at different times during the wars as places of protection.
There are at least three: the first at the Mussolini residence of Villa Torlonia, never used because it was not completed; the second was built at the behest of the Savoy in the Casale delle Cavalle Madri, with a circular structure that could also accommodate the machines, while the third is located in Eur, the Roman district built by Mussolini, under the Palazzo degli Uffici, born with the aim of protecting the officials involved in the realization of the never concluded universal exhibition.
There would be a fourth bunker, also built by Mussolini, under one of the two towers of Piazza Venezia.
The fourth bunker, as well as the previous ones, can not be visited, but according to experts it would have a square plan and would extend for 72 square meters. It would be accessed through a brick staircase. Even this bunker would never have been used by Mussolini.
Basilica of St. John Lateran
The important Laterani family left Rome many architectural testimonies in the district of San Giovanni, one of the most beautiful in the city. The symbol of this is the splendid Basilica of St. John Lateran, icon of the city and guardian of other treasures 6 meters deep from the base floor. It is a vast complex of buildings dating back to the first century AD, the remains of an imperial era among the most impressive in world history.
This block of flats is made up of a series of rooms that follow one another in depth, along with a row of decorated pillars.
Also in the surroundings of the building is also visible what remains of a barracks of the body on horseback, the Equites Singulares, dating back to the second century AD during the regency of Septimius Severus.
You can visit St. John Lateran and its splendid underground by booking for a guided tour, including a visit to the cathedral of Rome, so nicknamed, and 4 other wonderful papal basilicas that together make up the path of Christian Rome.
The story that begins inside the naves continues under the churches, along meters of anecdotes that you can only discover through the guidance of an expert. This wonderful tour lasts 3 hours, you can book it conveniently online and remember that in the basilicas it is not allowed to wear short and skimpy clothes.
Guided tours of hidden Rome hold moments of surprising inspiration, where the history of the past is intertwined with the present in the dark corners of crypts and long tunnels.
When the treasures of Rome already seem to be unparalleled for the immense culture they show us, the city reveals to us every moment new tunnels full of information, anecdotes, something we did not know and certainly we will discover new ones.
Underground in the Colosseum that were once occupied by gladiators, stately domus hidden meters and meters deep, crypts that still hide the remains of important religious figures: the eternal city promises this and much more, as if the primacy of the most beautiful city in the world were not enough now it has decided to give an underground path full of charm and ancient history, something that only this city can give.