Travel tips you can trust
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.
Of the over 60 known catacombs in the Rome area, St. Callixtus is the most popular for visitors.
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.
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).
They were constructed just outside of the ancient Roman border because the city prohibited open-air cemeteries.
Catacombs of Rome
are not unique
Catacombs were built elsewhere in Italy, as well as in distant lands.
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