Creep into the depths of Rome’s true underbelly during a Roman Catacombs tour! Forgotten for centuries and rediscovered in 1578, the Catacombs produced important insight into the lives and deaths of both Jews and early Christians. New Catacombs have been unearthed as recently as a few decades ago, revealing a veritable treasure trove of Christian art, architecture, and other finery. For these reasons, visitors flock to the Roman Catacombs for a closer look at some of the earliest Christian Frescos as well as early Christian burial practices. An unforgettable experience for all, the Catacombs represent a must-see attraction during any Rome tour!
Stay classy. Even though the Catacombs haven’t been actively used for centuries, these are still hallowed grounds. No shorts or short skirts, please.
Claustrophobic? These narrow tunnels were dug out by hand. Understandably, there isn’t always a lot of room to move around. You should mentally prepare yourself ahead of time.
Flexibility is key. Be prepared for a change of venue, without notice. The Catacombs are available seasonally and certain ones close suddenly due to further excavation or flooding.
Good to know
Best time to visit
Rome is one of the hottest travel destinations in Europe, literally and figuratively. If you’d like to avoid having your shoes melt into the asphalt, consider visiting the Catacombs in late spring or early fall. If you do find yourself in Rome during the height of summer, a Catacombs tour is a welcome respite from the intense heat. A winter visit to the Catacombs can be tricky because most of them are closed for at least a portion of the season. To avoid disappointment, do your research ahead of time to find out which Catacombs are available for tours during this time.
Although the Catacombs were excavated outside of ancient Rome, they are now part of the city. The best way to reach the Catacombs is by bus. Bus 118 takes a circular route past the Colosseum, down Appian Way, with stops in front of the Catacombs. You should have a backup transportation plan in the event the buses are late. Cycling is also an option, especially on Sundays when there is less traffic. We suggest walking to the Catacombs only in the rare case that you are staying nearby.
Money saving tips
Got a hole in your pocket? Don’t worry! You can often find a park or elsewhere to sit in the shade and hold a picnic. Just pack a lunch and eat on the cheap after your Catacombs tour. There aren’t many food options available on the outskirts of Rome, anyway.
Did you know?
Amaze your friends by rattling off these interesting Catacombs tid-bits.s
The Catacombs were rediscovered by Antonio Bosio in 1586, who published Subterranean Rome regarding his findings.
The English word “Catacombs” derives from the Latin “cata tumbas”, which means “among the graves”.
What you won’t see on your Catacombs tour is that the Catacombs stretch for miles. And, archaeologists believe there are some catacombs that will never be discovered.
Contrary to popular belief, Christians didn’t really hide in the Catacombs from Roman persecution. Roman authorities were well-aware of the Catacombs at the time; so, it wouldn’t have been a great place to hide.