The Catacombs of Rome are ancient underground burial places mostly built by the Christian communities of the first four centuries AD.
They were usually dug in tuff outside the ancient walls of the city, as the dead could not be buried inside the city.
Today over 40 catacombs still exist underneath the territory of Rome covering approximately 150 kilometres on multiple levels.
The oldest nuclei of the Roman Catacombs date back to the end of the 2nd century. Before then Christians were buried together with pagans, but as the community’s numbers increased it became necessary to create collective cemeteries.
To solve the problem of space and thanks to the ease with which it was possible to dig into the soft tuff under the city, they were built underground with tunnels and on various levels. At first the Catacombs were used exclusively for funeral purposes and for the cult of the martyrs buried there.
In the 3rd century in Rome alone there were 25 cemeteries, some of which were property of the Church. In 313 Christianity became a legitimate religion and initially many Christians wanted to be buried near the martyrs. But by the 5th century burials in the Catacombs were almost abandoned, but these underground burial grounds continued to be a pilgrimage destination.
Full tickets € 10.00
Reduced tickets € 7.00
Languages available for guided tours of the Catacombs: Italian, English, French, Spanish, German.
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Visiting the Rome Catacombs plunges us into the world of the early Christians with an extremely strong emotional and sensorial impact. The darkness, the air we breathe and the confined spaces all strike our senses. Even more moving are the signs of a profound piety for the dead, glowing peacefully with the certainty of the Resurrection Christ promised all believers
The Catacombs of Saint Domitilla are among the largest in Rome. They include a semi-hypogean basilica, 17 kilometres of tunnels and corridors on four different levels and a total of 150.000 burials. They stretch along the ancient via Ardeatina on the site of the properties that belonged to the noblewoman Flavia Domitilla, who Domitian sentenced to death for religious reasons. The heart of the Catacomb houses the only semi-underground basilica in Rome, dedicated to the martyrs Nereo and Achilleo, two soldiers who were probably victims of persecutions by Diocletian (304 AD).
With the transformation into a sanctuary by Pope Damasus I, the cemetery became a place of pilgrimage and devotion until the 9th century when, due to the unhealthiness of the suburb and of the Roman countryside, Pope Leo III decided to have the relics transferred within the Aurelian walls, to the church of Saints Nereo and Achilleo in the Baths of Caracalla area.hide