Catacombs of Rome

Travel tips you can trust


Why the
Catacombs of Rome
are special

These are sprawling underground labyrinth of corridors with tomb niches carved out of the rock walls. The passageways are long and multi-leveled and were created in the 2nd to early 5th centuries. Preserved decorations include religious frescoes, symbols and inscriptions.

Catacombs of Rome
tips and insights

Most popular

Of the over 60 known catacombs in the Rome area, St. Callixtus is the most popular for visitors.

Cinema myth

Some movies tell us that the persecuted Christians used the catacombs to hide from the Roman authorities. That's myth. Why hide there? Few hide-minded people did. The authorities were well aware of the catacomb locations and layouts.

Primary function
of the catacombs

Christians and Jews used catacombs because they were poor - and they  believed that the body should be intact for resurrection. (Cremation was the preferred funeral method among the pagan Romans).

Sites of
the catacombs

They were constructed just outside of the ancient Roman border because the city prohibited open-air cemeteries.

The Catacombs of Rome
are not unique

Catacombs were built elsewhere in Italy, as well as in distant lands.

After the
fall of Rome

In the Middle Ages, the catacombs were neglected and abandoned. People soon forgot they existed. They were not discovered until the 17th century.

Location in Italy

Read my other Italy pages

Wonders of Italy - Complete list
Italy wonder map
Basic Italian phrases
Italian cuisine
Best time to visit Rome




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