Exploring the depths of the awe-inspiring Eternal City
Rome Catacombs Tours: A real journey back in time to discover truly unconventional places underneath a thriving city
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Rome Catacombs Tours
Ancient Rome was built with permanence in mind, so instead of destroying their creations, the Romans built on top of them. This has left, until now, the oldest parts of this ancient civilization underground, unfortunately largely inaccessible. So, if you are on holiday in Rome, let an expert guide walk you through this ancient underground labyrinth that is preserved underneath the surface of the city. Enjoy a Rome catacombs tour.
A real journey back in time to discover truly unconventional places underneath a thriving city
Have a catacombs tour into the underbelly of Rome to discover the hidden and mysterious history of the Eternal City. It will give you a different perspective on the fascinating culture of this marvellous and unique city in the world.
Fortunately, there’s something about the macabre purpose of the catacombs that holds a particular allure for children. Visit them with the family is always a hit.
Descend into the depths of one of the Appian Way catacombs
Take on a journey down the Via Appia Antica, the oldest and most legendary road leading to Rome, with its many ancient stones and ruins, perhaps the only place where time has stood still for over 2,000 years. Riding down it truly is an unforgettable experience.
This road has a rich legacy of ancient Roman history: because burials were forbidden within the city walls, the deceased were brought here to be laid to eternal rest. In effect, running alongside the road there are tombs, mausoleums, funerary inscriptions and several catacombs, among the most well-known in the world, each of which houses thousands of ancient remains.
The most atmospheric and worthwhile catacombs were early Christian cemeteries. Exploring their darkened corridors with an expert guide you will discover that the bodies are long gone, but the catacombs make for a fascinating visit, helping you understand the importance of Christianity in ancient Rome. Some are heavily decorated while others are plain, an indication of the hierarchy of the catacombs.
The Christian Catacombs
Among the Christian Catacombs there are three vast necropolises that sprawl outside Rome’s ancient walls:
- The Catacombs of San Sebastiano
- The Catacombs of San Callisto
- The Catacombs of Domitilla
Moreover, there are six Jewish Catacombs, although only one, “Vigna Randanini”, can be visited. With a special permit and extraordinary opening, accompanied by qualified guides and expert archaeologists, you will have the privilege of admiring one of the most fascinating and hidden sites in Rome.
The Jewish Catacombs
The Jewish Catacomb of Vigna Randanini, one of the best examples of the underground cemetery of the Jewish community of Rome, present in the city since the second century BC which became more and more dense especially in the imperial era.
These catacombs are in good condition, and are smaller and more intimate than others, perhaps due to the poverty suffered by the Jewish community and the Jewish tendency to shun ostentation.
Exploring these catacombs, you’ll find many traditional Jewish symbols. You’ll come across various Old Testament and Talmudic symbols, like the menorah, the shofar, the luvav, palm branches, and a circumcision knife as well as representations of birds, peacocks, eagles, flowers, fruits, sun, and stars. Your private guide will walk you through their meaning, bringing their stories to life as you undertake this unforgettable journey.
Furthermore, the history of these catacombs makes us understand the intertwining of relations between the papacy, a large part of the Roman aristocracy and the Jewish world.
The “Bone Chapel”, catacombs and the Basilica of San Clemente – The most intriguing mysteries of Ancient Rome
Another stop on this tour are the underground levels of the Basilica of San Clemente, also known as the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, the Catacomb of Priscilla, and the famous macabre mural decorations of the Bone Chapel.
The two underground floors of the Basilica of San Clemente allow to live a unique and exclusive experience. In order to visit it start by entering the building’s foundation, a noble mansion from the 1st Century AD, then pass from the medieval basilica to the early Christian one up to the Mithraeum and the Imperial Mint. The Basilica of San Clemente with its environments still perfectly intact houses beautiful mosaics, holy relics, and even one of Rome’s original aqueducts.
The Bone Chapel contains one of the most shocking tourist attractions in Rome – a unique and intriguing crypt with its walls entirely decorated with the skulls and the bones of 4000 skeletons of the Capuchin monks.
Walks Inside Rome – The guided tours of underground Rome
Walks Inside Rome is a family-run company of travel services and guided tours since 1999 formed of knowledgeable and kid-friendly licensed English-speaking guides, including art historians, archaeologists, storytellers, and food and wine lovers.
We can offer unforgettable experiences for first-time visitors and seasoned travelers. All our tours can be combined and customized to perfectly meet your needs and interests.
During your stay in Rome let our guides accompany you to discover the most fascinating undergrounds of Rome. Unique places, open exclusively, where you can discover the hidden beauty of the Eternal City.
Contact Walks Inside Rome
For any questions and any further information about our services, fill out the form on our website, send us an email, call us or chat with us on WhatsApp.
Discover our unconventional tours with our licensed tour guides and storytellers. Contact us to start tailoring a tour program for you. We look forward to meeting you soon so we can start exploring Italy
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