Soon to be re-opened to the public are the third level of the Colosseum as well as the underground section. Until last Fall of 2010 both of these parts were restricted to the general public, and only Archaeologists and a select few others were allowed to enter. They decided for the first time to allow access to everyone and it turned out to be extremely successful, so they will be re-offering this this year as well, starting from March 15th!
The Colosseum, or actually formally called the Flavian Amphitheater , was built from 72-80 AD. It’s construction started just after the death of the Emperor Nero, by his successor Vespasian (and finished by Vespasian’s successor Titus). At its completion the Colosseum could hold some 50,000 people, which was made up by a mix of the Noble, common romans, and slaves. Due to its incredibly smart design, it could be filled or emptied in a matter of minutes. Much of it’s exterior design was actually taken from another Roman Amphitheater built much earlier, called the Teatro di Marcello.
The 3rd level was once where the poorest citizens, slaves, and women would have sat to watch the events taking place. This area had few seating areas, and was mostly standing room only. The underground part, called the “hypogeum”, was an elaborate series of tunnels under the arena which was used for gladiators and animals to enter both the Colosseum as well as the arena area.
Visiting these areas requires making a reservation to see it with an Archaeologist in a group of max 25 people at a time. Until further notice, reservations can be made by calling the following number: +39 06 39967700. I recommend trying to make this reservation for the same day you will be touring the Colosseum & Ancient Rome sites (Roman Forum/Palatine Hill), so you can avoid having to pay admission more than once!