The Catacombs of San Domitilla

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The Catacombs of San Domitilla: Our most recommended tours and activities

Rome: Roman Catacombs Semi-Private Tour

1. Rome: Roman Catacombs Semi-Private Tour

Meet your guide in the city center and head towards the Appian Way in a comfortable minivan. Reach one of the largest and oldest catacombs of Rome and venture 52 feet (16 meters) below the surface into the otherworldly crypts of Domitilla. Explore its endless maze of underground burial chambers, spread across 4 levels. Be captivated by ancient wall paintings of mythological and biblical figures and discover the religious symbolism of the frescoes. Learn about the shift from paganism to Christianity and hear about early martyrs and persecutions. Live the excitement of gradually exploring different layers of history. Complete your underworld experience in the 4th-century subterranean Basilica of Nereus and Achilleus. Then jump back in the minivan return to the city center.

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Rome: Catacombs of Domitilla Guided Tour

2. Rome: Catacombs of Domitilla Guided Tour

Peer into the distant past and creep through the crypts and passages of the Catacombs of Domitilla. Follow your guide to learn of the chilling past of the ancient burial ground, which dates back to the first century. Discover the hidden treasures in each room which are prized by Roman historians. See exquisite frescoes by both Christian and pagan worshippers which are being carefully restored to this day. Appreciate the craftsmanship of the original builders and the dedication of present-day custodians, who tell the story of Rome’s conversion to Christianity. In the “Hypogeum of the Flavians”, pay respects at the tombs of the Christian members of the Domitilla family, and learn about their troubled past. On the second level, visit the only underground basilica in Rome, where the bodies of the Holy Martyrs Nereus and Achilleus lie. Learn about the ongoing efforts to recover the full expanse of these unique Catacombs, and the priceless artworks and artifacts that are stowed within.

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Rome: Catacombs & St Clement's Underground Semi-Private Tour

3. Rome: Catacombs & St Clement's Underground Semi-Private Tour

Explore 2 contrasting underground sights with an expert guide. Discover a hidden gem 14m below St. Clement’s Basilica and descend into the twisty tunnels of the Roman Catacombs. Meet your guide in front of St. Clement's Basilica and venture deep underground below its foundations into a mystical world of ancient cults and legends. Journey through several layers of history and earth, down to 14 meters below ground. Live the excitement of gradually exploring the later structures built on top of it on your way up to the surface. Go back in time down to the deepest point and discover the best-preserved Mithraic temple of the city. Touch the waters of an underground stream before going higher into the remains of the 4th Century Basilica, built on top of the martyr’s house and below the actual one. Walking along its imposing walls, you will be fascinated by the ancient frescoes while learning about the scenes and lives of the martyrs they portray. Then you will journey outside the city walls to one of the largest and most ancient catacombs, the otherworldly crypts of Domitilla. Descend 16 meters below the surface and explore the accessible part of its vast labyrinth of underground burial chambers and galleries revealing the shift of faith from paganism to Christianity.

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Rome: Catacombs of Rome and Main Basilicas Half-Day Tour

4. Rome: Catacombs of Rome and Main Basilicas Half-Day Tour

Begin your tour with visits to 2 important basilicas. Discover the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the oldest of Rome’s 4 main basilicas and home to the Holy Stairs, a pilgrimage site. Then head to the Basilica of St. Mary Major to see the amazing collection of historic and religious artefacts. Admire the mosaics and the Crypt of the Nativity. Continue along the historic Appian Way, passing the Chapel of Domine Quo Vadis. Arrive at the ancient underground Catacombs of Rome. Explore these remarkable subterranean cemeteries, some dating back to the 2nd century. See historic artwork in the catacombs, and learn about how these underground passageways give insight into the early days of Christianity.

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From Rome: Full-Day Best of Christian Rome Tour with Lunch

5. From Rome: Full-Day Best of Christian Rome Tour with Lunch

This tour will start with a pick-up from your accommodation in Rome. A professional English-speaking driver with a private minivan will be with you for the entire day. It isn’t impossible to concentrate 17 centuries of history in one tour. Be guided to visit the most significant sites of the Catholic Church in Rome. Official licensed guides, if booked, will be selected by the local tour operator. Feast on a lunch in a typical Roman restaurant. Consider that in high season from April to October, you must book the tour option with guide included a minimum of 30 days in advance. During your private tour, you will enjoy landmarks such as Saint John Lateran, the Holy Stairs, Saint Mary Major, Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Christian Catacombs on the Ancient Appian Way and St. Peter’s Basilica (if and when open). Dedicated to John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, the Basilica of St. John Lateran is the first among the four major basilicas of Rome. It is also the cathedral of the bishop of Rome, the pope, and is thus known as Omnium urbis et orbis Ecclesiarum Mater et Caput: "Cathedral of Rome and of the World." The sanctuary gets its name from the 28 marble steps of the Holy Stairs. According to an ancient Christian tradition, Saint Helena (†335), the mother of Constantine, had the stairs transported from Pontius Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem to Rome. It is believed that Jesus climbed these stairs several times the day he was sentenced to death, thus, they are known as the “Scala Pilati” or “Scala Sancta” (the Holy Stairs or Pilate’s Stairs). The Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major reigns as an authentic jewel in the crown of Roman churches. Its beautiful treasures are of inestimable value, and represent the church's role as the cradle of Christian artistic civilization in Rome. Saint Paul Outside the Walls is where Christians venerated the memory of Saint Paul the Apostle, beheaded under Nero around 65-67 AD. Above his grave, located along the Ostiense Way, Emperor Constantine built a basilica. The Christian catacombs originated in Rome between the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd centuries. The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican is the papal enclave within the city of Rome. Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. You can choose which catacombs you prefer to visit among the following: the Catacombs of St. Domitilla, Catacombs of St. Sebastian or the Catacombs of San Callixtus. The Catacombs of St. Domitilla are the oldest of Rome's underground burial networks, and the only ones to still contain bones. They are also the best preserved and one of the most extensive of all the Catacombs. Included in their passages are a 2nd-century fresco of the Last Supper and other valuable artifacts. There are around 4,000,000 bodies buried in St. Domitilla. They are the only catacombs that have a subterranean basilica. The Catacombs of St. Sebastian, as one of the smallest Christian cemeteries, has always been some of the most accessible catacombs and are thus some of the least preserved (of the four original floors, the first is almost completely gone). On the left end of the right hand wall of the nave of the primitive basilica (rebuilt in 1933 on ancient remains), arches to end the middle of the nave of the actual 13th-century church are visible, along with the outside of the apse of the Chapel of the Relics; whole and fragmentary collected sarcophagi (mostly dating from the 4th-century) were found in excavations. The Catacombs of San Callixtus or the Crypt of the Popes was built after 150 AD. It takes its name from the deacon Saint Callixtus, proposed by Pope Zephyrinus in the administration of the same cemetery - on his accession as pope, he enlarged the complex, and soon it became the official one for the Roman church. The arcades, where more than fifty martyrs and sixteen pontiffs were buried, form part of a complex graveyard that occupies 15 hectares and is around 12 miles (20 kilometers) long. Once you get to the catacombs, your entrance tickets (8 EUR/ person not included) will be purchased on the spot. Your driver will be able to help you complete the task. Then, you'll start your visit inside with a small group tour in your preferred language given by the catacombs staff. At the end of the tour, the driver will take you back to your accommodation in Rome. The tour will be a total of 8-hours from pick-up to drop-off. Suggested pick-up is at 09:00.

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Rome: Catacombs and Christian Roots Half-Day Tour

6. Rome: Catacombs and Christian Roots Half-Day Tour

Travel back in time on a half-day tour that explores the origins of Christianity in Rome. Following a pick-up from your hotel, your English-speaking driver will take you to Esquiline Hill, one of Rome’s legendary 7 hills. Go inside the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore to discover some of its sacred treasures. Continue to the Holy Staircase and Lateran Palace, before looking inside the spectacular Basilica of San Giovanni. Next, travel along the ancient Appian Way, passing the Chapel of Domine Quo Vadis en route to the Catacombs. Tour the Catacombs of S.Callisto, Santa Domitilla, or San Sebastiano depending on seasonal conditions. Explore the underground cemeteries and hiding places of the early Christians, before ending with a spectacular view of the Baths of Caracalla.

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Rome: Underground Tour

7. Rome: Underground Tour

Embark on a journey deep below the streets of Rome on a walking tour of ancient temples and dark caves. Admire the temples of various religions while walking in caves lit only by electric light. Feel the timelessness of ancient Rome as you discover interesting examples of its architecture. Wander through an underground labyrinth of corridors and the catacombs, which were used as cemeteries. Discover an unseen part of Rome lurking 20 meters below street level.

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Rome: Private Underground Rome and Catacombs Tour

8. Rome: Private Underground Rome and Catacombs Tour

Discover what lies beneath the streets of Italy's capital city on this private tour. In the company of an expert guide, unearth the mysteries of Rome's subterranean spaces, from labyrinthine catacombs to hidden churches. You'll also have a private car and driver at your disposal so you can move between the sites in comfort. First, visit the spooky Catacombs of Santa Domitilla, one of the largest and oldest underground Christian cemeteries in the world. Walk through the twisting tunnels to discover hundreds of thousands of graves, as well as some of the world’s oldest Christian images and the haunting underground church of Santi Nereo ed Achilleo. In the basilica of San Clemente meanwhile, admire astonishing medieval mosaics and some of the most important paintings from the Early Renaissance.  Next, visit the Roman Houses of Saint John and Paul, which are located beneath a Christian church. Here, enjoy an incredible window into daily life in the ancient city. Discover marvelous decorations where pagan imagery and Christian frescoes coexist in harmony in this fascinating villa complex. On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, instead of the Roman Houses, visit the beautiful basilica of Santi Cosma and Damiano, built right into the Temple of Romulus in the ancient Roman.

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What people are saying about The Catacombs of San Domitilla

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 641 reviews

The impressive catacombs; the guide a 10, he made it very enjoyable. I recommend the experience. Of course, do not go very long in advance (especially if the weather is bad) because there is nothing there but a coffee and sandwich machine and a small shop.

The guide was well informed and passionate about his subject. The catacombs are impressive and one sees enough to realize how hopelessly lost one would be without a guide - we were also happy to be out of the rain1

Because we were late, we send an email and contacted the team of the Catacombs and they were able to wait for us. Very kind and interesting for me this visit. Very well received Thank you

short, sweet, and very interesting. don't buy a more expensive tour! this one is great

Very interesting experience, suitable for all ages. Our guide was very knowledgeable.