Piazza Navona Underground Ruins Tour with Palazzo Altemps

Admire the stunning Suicidal Gaul, Athlete at Rest, and more then see the ruins of Domitian' Stadium

Travel Flexibly · 3.00h · Rome, Italy

Looking for something new and exciting to do in Rome? Most tourists never see the incredible ruins hidden beneath Piazza Navona, but our private Rome guides are ready to reveal the secrets of Domitian’s ancient stadium and so much more! First, you’ll discover the grand courtyard and fascinating museum at Palazzo Altemps, filled with some of Rome’s finest art and sculpture. Then, descend to the 20,000-seat stadium and learn about the brutal events once staged in this hidden gem of Rome.

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  • Explore magnificent Palazzo Altemps
  • Discover iconic Roman collections
  • The Athlete at Rest
  • Original busts of famous Roman emperors
  • The Ludovico Sarcophogus
  • The Suicidal Gaul
  • The ancient Stadium of Domitian
  • Layers of history below Piazza Navona
  • Bernini's Four Rivers Statue

After meeting your friendly private tour guide outside Palazzo Altemps, you'll skip the line to enter the grand courtyard, home to antique statues such as Athlete at Rest and Statue of Demeter. Afterwards, enjoy a tour of the museum's famous art and antiquities collection, including the Suicidal Gaul.

Next, you'll head underground at Piazza Navona to the hidden ruins of Domitian's 20,000 seat stadium. See how this historic area would once have looked, and learn about the incredible sporting events that once entertained so many Roman citizens.

Palazzo Altemps & Domitian's Stadium Private Tour Description

Your 3-hour tour includes:

  • Skip-the-line entry to Palazzo Altemps

  • Private tour of the museum and courtyard

  • See Athlete at Rest, the Suicidal Gaul, and more!

  • Admission to the Piazza Navona Underground

  • Private tour of the ancient Stadium of Domitian

  • Your own personal, art historian guide

Palazzo Altemps Museum and Courtyard

Your private tour begins outside Palazzo Altemps in the heart of Rome, just a few blocks from the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and Mausoleum of Augustus. Throughout its nearly 3,000 year long history Rome has become a web of architecture, art, and culture. Today, you'll explore the great statues of ancient Rome and an oft overlooked underground stadium with your own passionate local guide.

As you enter the courtyard of Palazzo Altemps, imagine the centuries of glamour when the building functioned as a luxurious palace, and learn about the palace's history, its ties to famous popes, and so much more.

In the courtyard, enjoy an amazing collection of statues from antiquity. Take in the grandeur of the Athlete at Rest, Statue of Demeter, and impressive original busts of emperors such as the famous and notorious Nero.

The Ludovisi Collection

Your expert guide will lead you in from the courtyard to start exploring the fantastic collection held inside the museum.During the 15th century, near what is now Tiburtina train station, there was a massive archaeological discovery of statues, artifacts and more from Ancient Rome. The works found included long forgotten masterpieces of ancient sculpture as well as the remains and possessions of emperors from the 3rd century A.D.

Many of these statues ended up in the hands of the influential Roman family, the Ludovisi. During these centuries, the Italian aristocracy was obsessed with who patronized and collected the best art. From the Borghese family commissioning Caravaggio and Bernini, to the Barberini bees found across Roman buildings, art was the way to show power.

Learn how the Ludovisi became a power player with their newfound collection. Among many pieces, your guide will lead you to the two most famous in the museum, the Suicidal Gaul and Ludovico Sarcophagus.

The statue of the Suicidal Gaul is an important representation of the mindset of war to Romans. The statue portrays the story of a Gallic soldier who, in light of his family being forced into slavery, killed them all and then himself. It's an allegory that shines on many things, especially how even the Romans knew the strength of their brutality.

In addition, your guide will show you more from Rome's wartime past, including the Ludovico Sarcophagus. Likely the tomb of a general or even emperor, the burial piece depicts a battle between the Romans and Goths during the tumultuous "Crisis of the Third Century."

After passing through the great statues of antiquity who focus on war and the gods, the second portion of the tour involves the Romans other huge passion, games and racing.

Underground Ruins of the Stadium of Domitian

Below the modern, bustling square of Piazza Navona, discover how it looked in the first century A.D. Often thought of as Ancient Rome's third stadium behind the Colosseum and Circus Maximus, the Stadium of Domitian held track and field events surrounded by 20,000 cheering spectators, and some say that the origins of M.M.A. can be traced back to this very spot!

Domitian opened the stadium in 86 A.D. after years of both tragedy and triumph in Rome. As games in the Colosseum commenced in 79 A.D., fires raged in the Campo Marzio district of the city and the infamous volcano destroyed Pompeii. Beyond the destruction to Roman cities, Domitian also lost his brother, the Emperor Titus, in 81 A.D. Against the odds, Domitian continued the building tradition of his family and brought another great stadium to the legacy of the Flavian Dynasty.

Your guide will lead you through the stadium's ruins. See the expert architecture and incredible layers of stories built into Piazza Navona.

At the end of your tour, your guide will say goodbye in Piazza Navona.

What you get with this tour
Skip-the-line entry to Palazzo Altemps
Private tour of the museum and courtyard
See Athlete at Rest, the Suicidal Gaul, and more!
Admission to the Piazza Navona Underground
Private tour of the ancient Stadium of Domitian
Your own personal, art historian guide
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Couldn’t have been better.
10 March 2024
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Reviewed by
Mickey Davis

Our tour with Pia was terrific. She provided information in a very easy to understand manner and when she expressed her opinion she identified it as opinion as opposed to fact.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

Just some comfortable shoes and a passion for art and history!

What to bring?

Just some comfortable shoes and a passion for art and history!

Does the tour go inside without waiting in any lines?

Yes! Your guide will help you skip the line and start exploring straight away.

I have some doubts about my mobility. Is this tour right for me?

If you have any doubts about your mobility then a private tour is your best bet. Private Vatican tours are more easily customized to the needs of people with reduced mobility. Please be aware that these archaeological sites often have uneven floors and old stone stairways. Please get in touch if you are unsure.

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$276.39 / per person
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