The Catacombs of Saint Callixtus

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.

Price

€ 10,00

Duration

1 hour

Description

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.

Entry prices

Full tickets € 10.00

  • For each Catacomb, including guided tour in a chosen language with Catacombs staff (for available languages in each Catacomb see below)

Reduced tickets € 7.00

  • 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 of the three listed Catacombs: Italian, English, French, Spanish, German.

For more detailed information, please write to info@omniavaticanrome.org

How to get there using public transport

SAINT CALLIXTUS

Address: Via Appia Antica, 110

From Termini Station:

  • Metro A (direction Anagnina) to San Giovanni then bus 218 (direction Ardeatina) to the stop Fosse Ardeatine. You will find the entrance to the Catacombs in front of you.
  • Metro B (direction Laurentina) to Colosseo or Circo Massimo (bus stop: Terme Caracalla/Porta Capena), then bus 118 (direction Appia/Villa Dei Quintili) to the stop Catacombe di San Callisto (Via Appia, 110).

The value of the experience

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.

Points of interest

The Catacombs of St. Callixtus

The catacombs of St. Callixtus cover an area of almost 20 kilometres underneath the ancient Appian Way.

They began to be built towards the end of the 2nd century and soon became the official cemetery of the Roman Church.

Over 50 martyrs and 16 Popes were buried in its tunnels

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Nine Pontiffs and other representatives of the ecclesiastical hierarchy were buried in the crypt known as “The Crypt of the Popes”.

In the adjacent crypt we find the place of the first burial of Saint Cecilia, whose relics were later transferred to the church dedicated to her in Trastevere.

A little further on, a tunnel of the late 2nd century leads to the Cubicles of the Sacraments, which feature frescoes from the first half of the 3rd century alluding to Baptism, the Eucharist and the Resurrection of the Flesh.

A nearby cubicle houses one of the oldest frescoes in the Roman Catacombs (late 2nd – early 3rd century): on the roof a Good Shepherd with worshippers and on the far wall two fish with a basket of bread on their backs, the symbol of the Eucharist.

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