We decided to visit the catacombs of San Callisto. To get there you take the metro to Colli Albani, then outside the metro station there is a bus, the 660, which you need to catch as well. 1 ticket is good for both, as is the 4 euro day ticket (get your 1 Euro metro ticket in advance if you don't have a day ticket)- be simple- get a day ticket!
The 660 bus take you to the Via Appica Antica - Its pretty obvious because its a cobbled road, and the bus stops here and turns round back to the metro station.
After you have gotten off the bus, turn right (it is signposted) for the catacombes. If you are hungry and thirsty there is a little cafe here, which is pretty cheap- 1.50 Euro for a nice icecream, drinks are about the same price. Also you can hire bikes, 1 Euro an hour. The catacombes are about a kilometre walk.
Walk up the Appica Antica and you will come to the church/catacombes of San Sabastiano. A little further on you leave the road and walk up the long path to the San Callisto Catacombes.
It is 5 Euros to get in, and outr guide was a Catholic Father from America. The guided tour is nice, but the whole area was very busy when we went, and I think that it was at time a little rushed because of this. There is a nice shop and drinks place at the entrance, drinks are cheap enough- 1 Euro for a Coke.
WARNINGS- Be aware that this is a church, so the dresscode *might* apply. Basically, be conservative. The usual sign is up, but I am unsure if it is enfoced. Also THEY CLOSE FOR AT LEAST 2 HOURS AT MIDDAY! Be aware- don't do the trip only to find them closed.
Catacombs are complex networks of underground passages and rooms used for burial, and are found in many places around the Mediterranean, but the most famous and extensive are those of Rome. They lie outside the city walls, near main Roman road in places with suitable deposits of soft volcanic tufa, and date from the 1st to 5th centuries. The term catacomb, which derives from Greek meaning 'near the hollows', was first applied to the catacombs of St Sebastian around AD354, and was extended to the others in the 9th century.
We only had time to visit the catacombs of San Callisto on this trip, but they are a fine example, considered to be the most important and imposing of the approximately sixty catacombs of Rome. First investigated in 1849, over 20km have been explored so far, but still much more remains!! Built on five levels, and in use from the 1st to 4th centuries, this was the official burial place of the popes of Rome for most of the 3rd century.
You have to wait for a tour guide speaking your language, as you are not allowed to wander the catacombs on your own - as much for your safety as anything else as it would be very easy to get lost down there. The ticket costs €5.
We visited the Catacomb of Domitila, situated on Via delle Sette Chiesse is one of the oldest and biggest. Contains paints on the walls and the subway church of Nereo y Aquileo. You will find there the mausoleo delll Fosse Ardeatine. Visits is guiaded on your own languages and taking pictures is forbidden, i found the photo on internet.
Visitamos las Catacombas de Domitila, situadas en la Via delle Sette Chiesse, una de las mas antiguas y grandes. Contiene pinturas en las paredes y en la iglesia subterranea de Nereo y Aquileo. Tambien encontraras el mausoleo dell Fosse Ardeatie. La visita es guiada en tu propia lengua y esta prohibido hacer fotos, la foto la busque en internet.
The San Callisto and San Sebastiano catacombs are probably the most famous ones? Domitilla catacombs are located in the same area and are very worthy to be seen, too. You take metro line B, direction Laurentina, and get off at the Piramide stop (4th stop from Termini etc; http://www.metroroma.it/MetroRoma/HTML/EN). Then, you embark the bus line 118, direction Appia Antica to Via Appia Antica. Get off at the stop next to San Callisto. Enter the San Callisto gate and and go to the very end of the walkway, arriving at the San Callisto other entrance on a street almost parallel to Appia Antica. Turn right and follow the signs. Admision price is 5 euros to each catacomb site.
Rome is full of Catacombs. Rome was a pagan city as much as now it is catholic. Catholics were not allowed at the beginning and they had to hide to avoid death. There are dozens of Catacombs all around, but, once you've seen one, sincerely, there's no reason to see all others. You're in Rome, you gotta see a lot of stuff, don't loose too much time with them!
Where shall I start to tell.
First of all , the Catacombs were not originally
Christian. But there is a difference in perception
of death by the Christians and the Romans
who believed in Roman Gods.
Romans had a necropolis - city of the death ,
while christians got a cemetary.
That word comes from 'coemeteria' -
Second , those burrial places were not secret.
Imagen how much earth they have moved and
brought up to the surface secretly to dig
as much as 12 km of tunnels , 4 floors.
Why catacombs? Simple , when Rome
was at a high level of wealth if was tradition
that the aristocracy and high society got
burried in a luxurious grave. That had to be
outside the city walls since it was forbidden
to burry them inside the walls. Therefore
ground prices were rising. At one moment
the ground was much more expensive then
the marble stone or statue itself. Since
Christians didn't belong to the richest
cathegory of civilians , they had to go
These catacombs are named after Callixtus ,
a deacon who didn't gave the money but
managed the place. He later became pope.
(the other catacombs got the name of the owner.)
Nine popes have been burried here - 230-283.
But the word pope was first used on the grave
of deacon severus - 300 after christ.
A famous martyr burried here is Santa Cecilia -
a copy of the statue made of her is still in the
catacombs. Later her bones were moved to
a church in trastevere. We'll talk about her then.
If you got a good guide , it is nice to
get an impression of the first Christian
communities. You can get a taste of the
atmosphere down here when they used to
Imagine how it would look like ,
when they came down here they didn't bring
flowers , but oil for the hunderds of oil lambs.
It is so that they believed it was sacred ground
and that nobody would harrow them here.
Only ten procent of the graves haven't been
opened for relocation or a lot of them just
got opened by robbers.
I went to visit the Sebastian Catocomb, it's out of the usual city area, but it's worth a visit. It's very cold in there, but it is not air-conditioned. It's basically a tunnel pple build to bury dead pple and to hide pple. A good history u wud hear from the guided tours. The admission tickets are tied to the guided tours. No pictures to be taken in there though.
The Catacombs are an underground maze. In the olden days, the Christians used them to hide from the Romans who were persecuting them. There are also the tombs of martyrs, such as St. Cecilia. They're like a damp cave, and there are paintings on the walls of the maze.
You can't take pictures though, the flash damages the paint. Also, NEVER wander off, ALWAYS stay with the tour guide. It's very easy to get lost in the maze, and I've been told that it can be impossible to be found again because the maze is so complex.
Good web site to check out:
Catacombs of Rome
Of Rome's more than 60 early Christian catacombs, only five are open to visitors and pilgrims. The best-known and most-often visited are The Catacombs of St. Callixtus (via Appia Antica, 126; Tel: 39-06-513-0151). In all, the Roman catacombs encompass hundreds of miles of passageways and tens of thousands of tombs with paintings inscriptions and sculptures that document the rites and customs of the Church's first centuries. The four less familiar catacombs that are open to the public are: The Catacombs of St. Agnes (via Nomentana, 349; Tel: 39-06-861-0840). The Catacombs of Priscilla (via Salaria, 430; Tel: 39-06-8620-6272). The Catacombs of Domitilla (via delle Sette Chiese, 282/0; Tel: 39-06-511-0342). The Catacombs of St. Sebastian (via Appia Antica, 136; Tel: 39-06-788-7035).
All are open year round, except for major Church holidays; hours vary, so call before you go. Admission is about $5 and includes a 30-minute guided tour, available in several languages throughout the day.
I've never been in catacombs before, and thought it would be a unique side trip. Throughout the city, ancient graves lie, some open to the elements, carved in the rock underground.
Most now have buildings - churches - built above them - I imagine that was the plan - and although the ground wasn't "prepared" - no concrete poured, no coffins built, just slots carved into the walls of trenches dug deep down - there isn't quite as much damp unpleasantness as one might expect..
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