The Catacombs of Saints Marcellino and Pietro

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 and in the pozzolana, 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 Casilina, 641

Price

€ 8,50

Duration

40 min

Description

The catacomb of Saints Marcellino and Pietro are located by the third mile of the ancient via Labicana, now via Casilina.

In ancient times, a toponym was called ad duas lauros ("at the two laurels") which indicated a vast property of the emperor in addition to the cemetery area. The laurels, in fact, were traditionally shrubs placed at the entrance imperial lands.

In this place, where the necropolis of the Equites Singulares Augusti, guard on horseback of the emperor had existed since the 2nd century, the Christian catacomb was installed in the second half of the 3rd century, which hosted the bodies of numerous martyrs of Diocletian's persecution: first of all those of the Saints Marcellino and Pietro, who give the name to the catacomb.

The catacomb preserves a vast patrimony of paintings, datable to the third and fourth centuries, partly recently restored with laser technology. In the Constantinian era, the monumental complex that stood above the ground of the catacomb was erected, consisting of a large basilica in the shape of a Roman circus (called "circiforme") connected to a mausoleum, probably built by Constantine for himself, but later destined to house the burial of his mother, Augusta Elena.

The remains of St. Helen were kept in a large red porphyry sarcophagus, which today can be visited in the Vatican Museums.

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

  • Due to 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

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

SS MARCELLINO E PIETRO E MAUSOLEO DI S.ELENA

Address:  Via Casilina, 641

  • TRAM: Berardi Stop lineTermini - Centocelle (2 minuts on foot)
  • BUS: Berardi Stop line 105  (2 minuts on foot)

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

A very mportant environment is the crypt of the SS. Marcellino and Pietro, built by Pope Damasus (366-384) and then, in the sixth century, transformed into a real underground Basilica, destination of numerous pilgrimages.

Not far from the crypt, there is a cubicle on whose vault you can see a fresco from the end of the 4th century in which the martyrs of the catacomb are represented in the presence of Christ enthroned between Saints Peter and Paul.

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Among the recently restored frescoes it is possible to visit a series of rooms with singular banquet scenes to refer to both real and symbolic funerary rituals. The visit is completed by the museum exhibition housed in the rooms of the Mausoleum of St. Elena, which collects and illustrates the funerary testimonies that have occurred over the centuries in this area.

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