The Catacombs of Priscilla

The catacombs are underground areas that were born between the end of the second and the beginning of the third century AD, used for the burial and funeral commemoration of the members of the Christian community.

These burial grounds were dug mainly in the tuff as well as in other types of soil characterized by ease of processing and great resistance, such as to guarantee the creation of complex systems of tunnels and cubicles structured on different floors. Some of these rooms are richly decorated, others have housed the tombs of the martyrs who during the Middle Ages attracted the devotion of numerous pilgrims.

Via Salaria, 430

Price

€ 8,50

Duration

45 min

Description

Located on Via Salaria, the catacomb is spread over two floors and probably takes its name from a Priscilla of the Acili senatorial family, whose name occurs in one of the inscriptions of the hypogeum of the Acili on the first floor.

Its origin is different from that of the other catacombs as initially the place was an arenarium, then abandoned.

Christians began to use the large and irregular galleries that make up the first floor of the catacomb towards the beginning of the third century, building around twenty niche tombs and digging hundreds of niches in the walls.

In an adjacent area there is the cryptoporticus with the Greek Chapel and a large underground environment, born as a noble family burial ground and then connected to the catacomb.

Among the martyrs buried in Priscilla we remember the brothers Felice and Filippo, who were martyred, probably under Diocletian, together with their mother St. Felicita and the other five brothers Alessandro, Marziale, Vitale, Silano and Gennaro.

Numerous popes were also buried in Priscilla: Marcellino (296-304), Marcello (308-309), Silvestro (314-335), Liberius (352-366), Siricius (384-399), Celestino (422-432) and Vigilius (537-555).

In the hypogeum of the Acili, originally a cistern of water, the inscriptions of the Acili have been found and exhibited. Inside Villa Ada there is the Basilica built by Pope St. Silvestro in correspondence with the tomb of Felice and Filippo. In an area near the basilica a Museum has been set up which collects hundreds of fragments of sarcophagi found during the excavations in the area of ​​the catacomb.

Entry prices (including operating costs)

Full tickets € 8.50

  • The ticket includes a guided tour of the Catacombs with internal staff (for available languages see below) 

Reduced tickets € 5.50

  • Minors aged between 7 and 16
  • Groups of students from primary and secondary schools and institutes (7 to 16-year-olds)
  • Archaeology, Architecture, Art History and Cultural Heritage students up to the age of 25 upon exhibiting the required certification
  • Men and women of the clergy, nuns, seminarists and novices upon exhibiting the required certification

Free tickets

  • Children up to the age of 6
  • Disabled visitors and chaperones
  • Students of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology (upon exhibiting the card issued by the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology)
  • Priests and nuns of the Religious Community of Custodians of the Catacombs. Teachers, university tutors and catechists accompanying a group (one free entrance for every 15 paying visitors)
  • Groups of 35 or more visitors paying full price can benefit from two free entrances
  • Tourist guides with valid licence and researchers who provide documentary proof of their studies may apply for free entrance with the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology.

Information and reception

  • ​Given the specific nature of the sites, there are specific limitations for disabled visitors.
  • We recommend visitors to wear shoes appropriate for an ancient often uneven surface and, according to the time of year, clothes appropriate for underground temperatures.
  • No photos or filming in the Catacombs.
  • No smoking inside the monuments.

Languages available for guided tours: Italian, English, Spanish, French, German

For others entrance times, languages and available days please write to info@omniavaticanrome.org

ANTI COVID SECURITY MEASURES:

  • Common areas are regularly sanitized
  • Access to the site is limited to avoid crowds
  • People with fever, cough, sore throat or other flu-like symptoms are not allowed to enter

Please:

  • Disinfect your hands upon arrival
  • Always use the face mask
  • Always keep a safety distance of at least 1 meter from other people
  • Avoid contact with people and things
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cough or sneeze into a disposable handkerchief or use the crook of the elbow

How to get there using public transport

PRISCILLA

Address: Via Salaria, 430

  • BUS FROM THE CITY CENTER: lines 63 and 83
  • BUS FROM TERMINI STATION: lines 92 and 310
  • Metro B: get off at Bologna and take line 310

For all lines, get off at the Piazza Crati stop

The value of the experience

The oldest name of these places dug underground was our and most common "cemetery", a word that derives from the Greek and means "place of rest". When Christians laid down the bodies of their deceased loved ones they were certain that they were only asleep for a long sleep, awaiting the awakening of the resurrection. For this reason the catacombs are not sad dark slums, but they are a secret world that opens to the pilgrim with all the beauty, faith and memory of those who believed in Christ and in his word of hope.

Card. Ravasi

Position GoogleMaps

Points of interest

In the vault of an Arenario gallery, next to a stucco Good Shepherd, the oldest representation (early 3rd century) of the Virgin and Child and the prophet Balaam pointing to the star appears. The Velata cubicle also opens in the central Arenario.

The three important moments in the life of the deceased are represented in the lunette on the back wall: marriage, motherhood and faith.

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Worthy of note is the so-called "Greek Chapel", datable to the advanced third century: the chapel consists of a rectangular room interrupted in the middle by an arch that divides it into two bays, the second of which has the walls opened by three large niches in one of which are traced inscriptions in Greek, which give the name to the environment. The decoration, datable to the second half of the third century, consists of ornamental frescoes and biblical subjects that cover the vault and the upper part of the walls.

The Basilica built by Pope Sylvester (314-335), in addition to hosting his tomb and that of his other successors, monumentalizes the burial of the martyrs Felice and Filippo.

In the building leaning against the basilica, you can visit a museum dedicated to the sculptures found during the excavations of the complex.

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