About The Catacombs & Christianity Tour Of Rome:
This small group tour provides a brief yet intimate introduction to the story of Christianity in Rome. Starting outside the Basilica of San Clemente, you'll meet a professional historian guide who for the next 3 hours will reveal fascinating tales of faith, strife and dedication.
Basilica of San Clemente:
The Basilica of San Clemente as it stands today is a medieval building constructed during the 11th century. It's dedicated to Pope Clement I, a 1st century Christian saint and one of the earliest bishops of Rome. This was a time when Christians where still widely persecuted throughout the Roman Empire. For context, Christianity didn't achieve legitimacy until the mid-4th century with the deathbed conversion of Constantine I. Clement himself was said to have been imprisoned by Trajan and eventually drowned at sea.
Evidence of the dangers faced will come to light as you proceed with your guide into the underground sections of San Clemente. You'll find yourself amongst the remains of a 4th-century basilica, which itself sits atop two ancient villas, one from the 1st century and another from the Republican era. Archaeological evidence shows that part of the newer of the two homes served as a clandestine church for early worshippers.
Catacombs of Domitilla:
After leaving the basilica you'll take a walk down the Appian Way towards a minibus that will shuttle you to the lesser-visited Catacombs of Domitilla. This underground burial complex is the oldest of its kind in Rome. It contains thousands of tombs, over 17 kilometres of passageways, and incredible works of art that represent the transition from paganism to Christianity. Recent discoveries made in 2017 also depict slices of everyday life and scenes from the bible.
During your visit the guide point out and explain the significance behind the many frescoes, reliefs and inscriptions. Bare in mind that some passageways are quite dim and narrow, so all visitors should tread carefully throughout the tour. That said, many of the burial alcoves are now lit to give people an unrestricted view of their decorations.
Another highlight unique to Domitilla is its subterranean 4th-century basilica, which you'll explore before the end of the tour.
- April 4 - October 31, every Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri and Sat.
- Live English-speaking guide.
- Basilica of San Clemente.
- 3 hours.
- Food and drink.
- Hotel pick-up and drop-off.