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.
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.
Full tickets € 8.50
Reduced tickets € 5.50
Languages available for guided tours: Italian, English
For others entrance times, languages and available days please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
ANTI COVID SECURITY MEASURES:
SS MARCELLINO E PIETRO E MAUSOLEO DI S.ELENA
Address: Via Casilina, 641
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.
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.
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.hide
The Catacomb of Priscilla. The queen of the catacombs.
The Catacomb of Saint Agnes. The memory of the young Roman martyr.