The Catacombs of Rome

Italy contains a mass of history, architecture and tradition all of which are important contributions in today’s culture.

The Christian Catacombs of Rome have important influences on the history of Italy and are fascinating underground cemeteries or burial tunnels that can be visited by holiday makers wishing to include the Catacombs as part of a sightseeing trip.

The tunnels emerged in Rome around the second and third centuries, and eventually stretched all the way to the coastal resort of Brindisi which is found in the Apulia region of Italy.

The tunnels were developed because the people who resided along the stretches of Rome, within the city walls, were forbidden to hold burials there. The Catacombs were not only places where Christian followers would bury the dead, but were also used at times to hold church services – especially at depressing times of persecution.

Just a few of the Catacombs are open to the public –many of the tunnels are closed to preserve the presence of the Christian art that is still evident. Visitors can, however discover plenty of miles worth of tunnels and experience the musty aromas, and dark burial niches – of which there are thousands.

The burial niches in the Catacombs were built to hold between two to three bodies.

Depending on where you choose to stay, there are clear signs close to the Catacombs to help you find them (follow the signs for San Domitilla), and its easy to pick up the Metro and bus 218 along Via Appia Antica to get to the square ‘Largo MF’ where it is a short walk to the Catacombs.

Close to the Catacombs is the Mausoleum (Tomb) of Cecilia Metella (or Mausleo di Ceacilia Metella) where you can wander, or take a guided tour, around the tomb which was built for the daughter of a Rome consul, Quintus Metellus Creticus, who conquered the Island of Crete. He was the son of Balearicus, a colleague of Caesar and Pompey.

The inscription that was placed when the tomb was erected is still in place, outlining the owner of the tomb. Cecilia was a noblewoman of the time, around 50BC.

Via Appia Antica fearures plenty of famous tombs, buildings and architecture that can fill your days and are well worth discovering on a sightseeing trip.

The area contains plenty of hotels, lots of bus routes and easy access to the Italian Metro should you wish to venture further.

Fraiser Edwards is Founder of holiday365.

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Comments (1)

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  1. Mark S says:

    When we were in Rome we didn’t get a chance to see the Catacombs we were only there for 6 days and I know that sounds like we had enough time to get there but anyone who has been to Rome knows just how much there is to do and see there. But is was on our list of things to see but it just kept getting pushed closer to the bottom of the list. We do plan on going back in the near future and will make it there next time but the article a big help with the kind of information I was looking for.

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