When you think of Rome, you most likely think of one of three things: the food, the Colosseum and Vatican City. However, there are also tons of tucked away places in Rome off the beaten path that make for excellent things to do in Rome. One of which are the Catacombs of Rome, underground burial sites in and around the city. So, here’s our guide to the best Catacombs of Rome. Read this, and take note so you know which ones to visit when you visit Rome.
Watch our video about the Rome Catacombs:
How to get to the Catacombs of Rome
There are a few options you can use to get to the Domitilla Catacombs from Rome city center. By taxi, it will take about 15 minutes. Another option is to take the bus. From Roma Termini station, you’ll want to get the 714 bus and take it 12 stops to Navigatori, which should take about 15 or 20 minutes. Once you’re there, you’ll walk about 10 minutes down Via delle Sette Chiese and arrive at Domitilla Catacombs.
Getting around Rome by bus can be a little confusing if you don’t know the city well or can’t speak Italian. If you’re worried about using public transportation, we recommend taking a group tour led by an expert guide. This way, you can take private transportation directly to the Domitilla Catacombs and not have to worry about logistics.
Catacombs of Domitilla
Located about 15 minutes outside Rome are the hidden Catacombs of Domitilla. Early Romans created the Domitilla Catacombs because burial was not allowed inside of Rome, whereas the Paris Catacombs were created because there was no more room to bury anyone in the city.
Not a lover of death and bones? The Catacombs of Domitilla are also home to many incredible frescoes, dating back as early as 360 A.D. If you’re interested in touring this ancient burial site, The Roman Guy offers a guided tour with private, luxury transportation and Rome catacombs tickets.
Many of the frescoes portray the transportation of grain to Ostia, probably representing the profession of those buried there. There’s even a fresco dating back to the second century depicting The Last Supper. If you’re wondering how many bodies are buried in the Catacombs of Domitilla, the answer may surprise you. An estimated 150,000 bodies are buried in the catacombs.
Capuchin Crypt in Rome
If bones are what you’re after, head to the Capuchin Crypts in the historic center of Rome. Dating back to 1645, the Capuchin Crypt is not technically a catacomb. However, it fits hand-in-hand with the spooky atmosphere of the Roman catacombs. Why head here? Well, this place is the final resting place of around 4,000 monks, buried between 1500 to 1870. Adorned with the bones of these ancient monks, these rooms are more than a bit eerie.
For the most haunting Capuchin Crypts experience, we recommend visit the area at night on our VIP Rome Catacombs Night Tour with Capuchin Crypts.
The underground crypt is divided into five chapels: Crypt of the Resurrection, Crypt of the Skulls, Crypt of the Pelvises, Crypt of the Leg Bones and Thigh Bones, and the Crypt of the Three Skeletons.
While underground burial sites in Rome typically require a hike to the outskirts of the city, the Capuchin Crypt is easy to add to a day of sightseeing alongside the Pantheon, Colosseum, Vatican and Spanish Steps.
Via Appia Antica
Translating to “The Appian Way,” Via Appia Antica is one of the original seven roads leading into Rome. It’s lined by ancient Roman catacombs and is a great site to explore off the beaten path. During their functional period, the catacombs that line the Appian Way were common burial sites for both Christians and Pagans.
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