The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian

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@vaticanandrome.org

How to get there using public transport

SAINT SEBASTIAN

Address: Via Appia Antica, 136

From Colosseo or Circo Massimo metro station on Line B:

  • Bus 118

From San Giovanni metro station on Line A:

  • Bus 218

The value of the experience

Visitare le Catacombe di Roma permette  di immergersi nel mondo dei primi cristiani con un impatto estremamente forte sul piano emotivo e sensoriale.

L'oscurità, l'aria che si respira , la limitatezza degli spazi colpiscono i sensi.

Ma molto più commuovono i segni di un pietà profonda  per i defunti, serenamente illuminata dalla certezza della Resurrezione promessa da Cristo a tutti i credenti.

The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian

The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian, stretching along the ancient Appian Way, represent one of the very few Christian cemeteries that have always been accessible throughout the centuries.

The name of the pozzolan mines where they began to be built (ad Catacumbas) was later given to all underground burial grounds, which began to be known as Catacombs.

Initially it was a site for pagan burials, as the three beautiful mausoleums, still visible, bear witness to. Then the tunnels began to be dug for the burial of several martyrs, the best-known of whom was Saint Sebastian, a Roman soldier who died during the persecutions of Diocletian and whose martyrdom (tied to a pole and killed with arrows) has widely inspired painters and sculptors throughout the centuries.

Posizione Google Maps

read more

But in the 3rd century AD this site also saw the birth of a devotional centre dedicated to the Apostles Peter and Paul: at the time of the Emperor Valerian (253-260), during a ruthless persecution of the Christians, in fear of their burials being desecrated, the Christians of Rome secretly transferred the bodies of the Apostles Peter and Paul to this site, considering it more protected.

Thus from 258 AD and for around 70 years the cult of the Saints Peter and Paul began in this sacred site that was given the name Memoria Apostolorum. Beneath the floors of the current basilica, halls have been found (so-called triclia) where, according to an ancient Roman custom, ritual banquets, known as refrigeria for the dead, took place.

These banquets were certainly also dedicated to the two Apostles, as several graffiti invoking Peter and Paul, written in Latin, Greek and Aramaic, cover the walls of the triclia

hide
€ 10,00

Add more experiences