The Dark Side of Rome

Discover the Catacombs of Rome!

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Catacombs of Rome Guided Tour

Under the surface of Rome, there are mysterious and dark places to discover. They are unknown to most, Romans included. Your journey to discover these places starts from Civitavecchia.

We travel for 50 minutes to arrive at the oldest Christian cemetery in Rome: the catacomb of San Sebastiano (1st century AD). This cemetery was originally called ‘ad catacumbas’ which means ‘near the cavities,’ due to the tuff mines located in this area. Later the name was generally used to indicate all underground Christian cemeteries. A professional guide shows you and explains everything about the catacomb.

After the visit to San Sebastiano, the tour continues at the catacomb of San Callisto, the largest and most important in Rome. In the first century, the Christians of Rome did not have their own cemeteries. If they owned the land, they buried their relatives there; otherwise they resorted to common cemeteries, where even the pagans were buried. In the third century, the catacombs were declared as the official cemetery of the church of Rome.

San Sebastiano and San Callisto were considered the authentic sanctuaries of the martyrs. In fact, many of them were buried there with 16 Pontiffs. The catacombs seem to be a labyrinth of narrow tunnels dug into the volcanic tuff rock marked with symbols. The symbols were a visible reminder of their faith and recall an idea or a spiritual reality.

Different types of tombs can be found along the walls distributed on three different deep levels with about 12 kilometers of tunnels. The tombs of the early Christians were simple and cheap: the bodies were wrapped in linen shrouds, placed in the tombs, and sealed with terracotta tiles or marble slabs.

After the visit, you can relax in the beautiful outdoor garden and take some time off. Around 2:00 pm, we begin the return to the port of Civitavecchia.