While many Romans built elaborate tombs by the roadside, the Christians buried their dead in labyrinthine catacombs. Before you head down the Appian Way, here’s some background reading on the catacombs: Rick Steves: Time Travel on Rome’s Ancient Appian Way, Atlas Obscura: The Catacombs of St Sebastian, Daily Mail: Domitilla frescoes revealed after renovation, The catacombs of the Appian Way are essentially the underground graveyards of the first Christians in Rome, who had to bury their dead outside of the city. It wasn’t until the 18th century that the catacombs became tourist attractions; visitors on the Grand Tour explored the catacombs by candlelight, captivated by their macabre atmosphere and the rumours of Christians hiding in the tunnels to escape persecution. They remain one of the most popular attractions for visitors interested in early Christian history, or for those looking for a more unusual tour. And most catacombs tours in Rome also include other fascinating historic sites, such as the Aqueducts Park or the St. John in Lateran Basilica. Items in your cart The frescoes in the catacombs of St Domitilla were recently restored to stunning effect. Covid-19 update: we are back! The Itinerary of Our Catacombs of Rome Tour. Best Catacombs Tours In Rome Rome: Crypts & Catacombs Tour with Bone Chapel Visit Rome: Catacombs … Here is how we have overcome recent events and improved our tours. To make the most of your visit, we suggest joining our tour of the catacombs in Rome, which includes an in-depth visit to St Domitilla. To get from one to an other, you can use the 3-days travel pass that allows you tu use free public transportation. This tour offers you a different outlook on the Eternal City and is one of our most popular tours of Rome. Explore the centuries-old Rome churches and burial sites of this ancient city. You'll pass the catacombs of St. Callixtus, St. Sebastian and Domitilla, and the ruins of the Caracalla Baths, with the opportunity to hop off … Many saints were buried in the catacombs, although some of the most famous saints were later moved, such as St Cecilia. You’ll notice lots of Christian symbols, such as a dove carrying an olive branch and an anchor – the latter represents salvation in God and the soul’s arrival in the harbour of eternal life. You can check our website for availability, or get in touch with our Customer Care Team directly. Even if you arrive by other means, consider having a taxi number saved on your phone. There are three catacombs along the Appian Way which can be visited on a Rome catacomb tour: The Catacombs of St Domitilla (Santa Domitilla) – the oldest and most extensive network of catacombs (though only a fraction is open to the public) and the only one with bones still on display, The Catacombs of St Callixtus (San Callisto)  – the largest catacombs, particularly popular with tour groups, with some evocative examples of early Christian art, The Catacombs of St Sebastian (San Sebastiano) – once the burial place of Saints Peter and Paul, containing well-preserved Ancient Roman and Christian tombs. Tickets cost €8 and can be bought at the ticket office; advance booking via phone or email is for groups only. If you’re planning to visit only one of the catacombs of Rome, the Callixtus catacomb is an excellent choice because they are among the most important and largest in the city. Start the tour by meeting your guide at the Basilica di San Clemente, where you'll visit a church dating back over 900 years. They were a 16th-century offshoot of the Franciscans who promoted an ascetic way of life to contrast the extravagance of the popes at the time. Walking to the catacombs is recommended for keen walkers only, or people starting from a point fairly close to the catacombs, such as Circus Maximus or the Baths of Caracalla. Explore the Christian underground catacombs of Rome, the multiple layers of the Basilica of San Clemente and the macabre Capuchin ‘Bone Chapel’. Our Rome Catacombs tours include visits to the Capuchin Crypts and the Catacombs of Domitilla, one of the best catacombs to visit in Rome. While the catacombs are walking distance – you’ll reach the catacombs of St Callixtus about 20 minutes after Porta San Sebastiano (the beginning of the Appian Way) – the first part of the road has no pavements, forcing you to walk right next to the cars. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, the tour may be sold out. The early Christians, of course, did not have the money to build such impressive tombs, so they were forced to bury their dead underground instead, beneath the land owned by Christians on the Appian Way. With Dark Rome it's not just facts, our passionate guides tell you the stories that bring the sights to life. If the bus doesn’t show up and you’re too tired to walk, you’ll be glad to have a taxi number on hand. Catacombs of Rome + Capuchin Crypt: Tour two infamous underground tombs, including the Bone Chapel located under the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. Once buried in St Callixtus, her body now lies in a cathedral in Trastevere. Although the remains of St Cecilia are no longer here, you can see the crypt where she was once buried. The highlight of a tour of the catacombs of St Sebastian is a chance to see some Ancient Roman tombs. Our tours are very popular amongst visitors to Italy, Paris and London, so we suggest booking your place on them at your earliest convenience. Venture deep underground to explore the incredible tunnels that were dug out by hand nearly 2,000 years ago and learn all about the very beginning of Christianity. Tickets cost €8 and can be bought online or at the ticket office. How far in advance should I book my tour? According to legend this 9, century church was built on the spot where St Peter had a vision of Christ. Read my reviews below to discover which Rome catacombs tour interests you the most. The catacombs of Rome offer a very special visit in which the funeral remains of those buried many centuries ago can be seen. St Domitilla contains some beautiful examples of pagan art too. The catacombs of the Appian Way are essentially the underground graveyards of the first Christians in Rome, who had to bury their dead outside of the city. Join your expert guide on this underground Rome tour and head 50ft into the earth, to the Catacombs of Domitilla. Our Catacombs & Caracalla Circuit (Purple Route) takes you south of the city to explore one of the world's most famous roads: the ancient Appian Way. See Rome's mysterious Catacombs on our Catacombs & Caracalla Circuit, exclusively available with our Deluxe Ticket. See the underground catacombs where Christianity took root, the pagan cults that churches were built on and the shrines dedicated to the afterlife which give Rome the nickname- the Eternal City. A visit to the underground Catacombs of Rome and similar sites | This tour is designed to discover Rome's underground treasures. St Domitilla is open every day except Tuesday. Burials were forbidden inside the walls of Rome as early as the fifth century BCE, so mazes of underground tunnels outside the city center were used to bury thousands of bodies back in the ancient and early Christian eras. The word “cemetery” comes from an Ancient Greek word which meant “place of rest”. Between the 1 st and 3 rd century AD, both pagans and Christians were buried here – which makes for a wonderfully strange clash of cultures, in one weird space. Above that is a fully functioning basilica from the 4th-century. After you leave the Catacombs, your bus will take you to the Basilica of San Clemente beside the Colosseum. The early Christians, of course, did not have the money to build such impressive tombs, so they were forced to bury their dead underground instead, beneath the land owned by Christians on the Appian Way. In total there are four floors, more than twenty meters (60 ft) deep, with a network of nearly twenty kilometers (12 miles) of underground corridors. The first location we will take you to is the church of the Immaculate Conception, as soon as you enter you will immediately discover a fascinating secret. Hundreds of thousands of Christians were buried in these catacombs, piled up on shelves with spaces for two or three bodies. See gallery Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, tours, attractions, and venues in this location may be temporarily closed. Discover how the monuments of death throw light on how people lived in Rome from your expert English-speaking archaeologist guide, Relax as a private climate-controlled bus coach takes you to each location, Access to the underground tour of the Christian Catacombs, A visit to the church and below ground levels of Basilica of San Clemente, Expert, English-speaking archaeologist guide, Catacombs of Domitilla, San Callisto or Santa Priscilla, All of our guides are experts in their field, We only hire fluent English-speakers so nothing is ever lost in translation, We focus on the little details and anecdotes that make Dark Rome so special. Today, some of them are open to the public for tours. There’s a statue of the saint as well one of the arrows that allegedly struck him, and part of the column which he was tied to during his martyrdom. Escape the noise and heat of Rome as you explore its cryptic past on the city’s longest running crypts and catacombs tour. Nevertheless, the bodies of other saints and martyrs still remain in the catacombs, which are important places of pilgrimage for many Christians. For security reasons, being made up of extensive and dispersive cubicles, the catacombs are not open without the assistance of a guide or escort provided by the superintendence of the archaeological site. The tunnels are extremely impressive – they stretch for miles and are up to 70 feet high in some parts. Opening hours: 9:00-12.00, 14.00-17.00. You’ll visit three sites that explore Rome’s … There are some evocative Christian frescoes containing traditional symbols such as the fish, the dove and the phoenix. Our Crypts and Catacombs Tour brings you on a journey of some of the most iconic remains of that culture. For this … It also contains interesting items such as instruments of flagellation and Caravaggio’s St. Francis painting. These underground tunnels are a must-visit site for tourist to experience Rome’s rich history altogether. By the Middle Ages the catacombs were no longer in use, and had virtually been forgotten. Discover ancient Rome with Big Bus Tours. Wander through an eerie network of tunnels below the city streets, once both a burial ground and worship site for Rome’s first Christians. Certified. These tombs were originally part of an overground pagan graveyard; the burial chamber contains some remarkably well-preserved stucco decoration. These are your options for getting to the catacombs: Take the 118 bus. Nine popes were buried here, and you can still see the original Greek inscriptions near the tombs. Learn more. 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