Archaeology

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Our most recommended Appian Way Archaeology

Rome: Roman Catacombs Semi-Private Tour

1. Rome: Roman Catacombs Semi-Private Tour

Meet your guide in the city center and head towards the Appian Way in a comfortable minivan. Reach one of the largest and oldest catacombs of Rome and venture 52 feet (16 meters) below the surface into the otherworldly crypts of Domitilla. Explore its endless maze of underground burial chambers, spread across 4 levels. Be captivated by ancient wall paintings of mythological and biblical figures and discover the religious symbolism of the frescoes. Learn about the shift from paganism to Christianity and hear about early martyrs and persecutions. Live the excitement of gradually exploring different layers of history. Complete your underworld experience in the 4th-century subterranean Basilica of Nereus and Achilleus. Then jump back in the minivan return to the city center.

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Ancient Appian Way: Electric Bike Tour

2. Ancient Appian Way: Electric Bike Tour

Explore the Roman countryside and its remarkable scenery on this half-day cycling tour. Cycle along 2,300-year-old cobblestone roads to ancient ruins. After a short urban ride, you will reach the beginning of the Ancient Appian Way. This was one of the first roads in Rome, also known as the “Queen of the Streets”. Continue to cycle past ancient tombs and the ruins of an imperial palace. As you ride, your guide will share interesting historical facts that will open your eyes to the Rome beyond the monuments. Leaving the Ancient Appian Way, you will follow the ancient aqueducts through the Roman countryside. After a pleasant ride back, your tour ends with a return to central Rome.

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Rome: Catacombs Underground Tour, Ticket, and Transfer

3. Rome: Catacombs Underground Tour, Ticket, and Transfer

Embark on an in-depth experience, during which you'll discover the legacy of a prominent and fascinating past. Beginning from the meeting point near the Colosseum, relax on a transfer in an air-conditioned vehicle to one of the most interesting places in Rome, the Catacombs. Accompanied by an expert guide, head off on an exclusive tour and appreciate the real story and mystery of this fascinating place.  On the tour, travel through time to discover a hidden and parallel world in which, for centuries, Jews and Christians have looked after and venerated the dead. Pass by the majestic Aurelian Walls to come to the archaeological area of the Ancient Appian Way. Deep in the green Roman countryside, descend into the ancient world of the Catacombs, a complex network of underground tunnels among the longest in the world, occupying an area of about fifteen hectares and consisting of about 37 miles of tunnels on several levels. The specific catacomb visited, San Calisto, San Sebastiano, or Santa Domitilla, will depend on the day. In any of the catacombs, you will have the opportunity to see ancient frescoes, crypts with inscriptions carved in the walls, niches with the remains of skeletons, small mausoleums, sarcophagi, tombs, and small chapels, which still today, after about 2,000 years, are used to celebrate religious rites. After the tour, back in the sunlight, your driver will take you back to the original starting point in Via Della Polveriera.

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Catacombs of Rome: Bus Tour with Capuchin Crypt

4. Catacombs of Rome: Bus Tour with Capuchin Crypt

Beneath the sun-baked streets of Rome lie cool, shadowed spaces that hide layer upon layer of history. Beat the heat with air-conditioned travel and access directly down into three different, but equally fascinating archaeological finds. Admire the hallowed catacombs where, beneath their persecutors’ feet, early Christians practiced their forbidden faith. Almost 2,000 years ago, this network of secret tunnels doubled as a place of worship and burial ground. As you explore tombs carved out of the solid rock, your guide – a local, expert English-speaker – will relate the fascinating history of this sacred spot. Visit the Capuchin Crypt. Capuchin monks used the bones of nearly 4,000 of their brothers to decorate this somber space in intricate floor-to-ceiling designs, lending it the macabre nickname of "the Bone Chapel". Your guide will tell you the theories, but it’s up to you to draw your own conclusions about the meaning of the crypt’s robed skeletons and vertebrae chandeliers. Open your eyes to the city’s hidden side – and you’ll never see Rome the same way again.

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Rome: Appia Antica Walking Tour

5. Rome: Appia Antica Walking Tour

Take a guided walking tour of the Appia Antica and learn more about its historical importance for the Roman Empire. Stroll along part of the road which connected Rome to the port of Brindisi in the south, an important trading outpost. Your guide will reveal interesting historical anecdotes on the ancient ruins of the tombs and the imperial palace that you will meet on the way. See important sites such as the Sepolcro dei Festoni e del Frontespizio, Mausoleo Circolare, Tomb dei Rabiri, Tomb Figli Sesto Pompeo, Torre di Capo di Bove, and the Tomb of Cecilia Metella. Be captivated by the view of the magnificent ancient aqueducts and the Aurelian walls. Immerse yourself in nature in one of the most fascinating and evocative parks in the city.

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Catacomb of St. Callixtus and Appian Way: Guided Tour

6. Catacomb of St. Callixtus and Appian Way: Guided Tour

Traveling by bus and on foot, this 3-hour guided tour takes you beyond the city walls of Rome, through the ancient tunnels of the city’s catacombs. You will travel along the rustic Appian Way, and under the arches of the aqueducts of antiquity. Constructed nearly 2,000 years ago as the burial chambers for early Christians, the catacombs reveal burial niches, mosaics, and sarcophagi, as well as ancient religious drawings While in San Callisto, explore the Crypt of the Popes, and view some of the very earliest Christian art. As Christianity became more popular in Rome, it became necessary to find a system for the burial of large of numbers of people, the majority of whom lacked money to pay for elaborate tombs and mausoleums. The solution was found in the friable tufa rock around the city. From the 2nd through to the 5th-Centuries, 60 catacomb complexes were dug, each occupying several layers, and 2 of which were designated for Jews. Out of the total number of catacombs, 5 of the Christian complexes regularly open to the public, giving you a unique perspective on Ancient Rome, in an environment that you will never see in the city center.

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Rome: Christian Basilicas & Secret Catacombs

7. Rome: Christian Basilicas & Secret Catacombs

The tour will start with a visit to the splendid Basilica of St. Mary Major, one of the four papal basilicas of Rome and the most important church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Continuing through the Via Appia Antica up to the Catacombs of San Callixto or Santa Domitilla, you will go down for a visit of about 30 minutes to learn about early Christian cemeteries and shelters. Returning downtown to the city, admire the beautiful Basilica of St. John Lateran, the "Mater et Kaput" of all the churches of Rome and the world, surrounded by a complex including the Pontifical Lateran Palace, the Palace of the Canons, the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary and the Pontifical Lateran University. Both territories are on the Italian land. Where the basilicas arise, enjoy the privileges of extraterritoriality recognized by the Holy See that holds the full and exclusive jurisdiction. Your last stop will be at the Holy Stairs. According to tradition, the 28 steps of the stairs are exactly the same ones that Jesus went up in Pontius Pilate's palace in Jerusalem. Brought to Rome by St. Helena in the 4th-century, they are considered so sacred that the faithfuls climb them on their knees praying. The tour will finish near the Termini area or Piazza Barberini.

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Rome: Colosseum and Appian Way Catacombs Tour

8. Rome: Colosseum and Appian Way Catacombs Tour

Go back in time with this combination Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Ancient Appian Way Catacombs guided tour. You'll bypass any queues to better enjoy your experience and take advantage of a professional guide trained in art and archaeology. Visit Rome's most symbolic monument, learning about the amphitheater's history and exploring the Colosseum's first and second tiers for great views. You will then walk through the ruins of the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, visiting one of the most important archaeological areas in the world which features some of the Ancient Rome's most evocative ruins. Along your path you'll also explore the site of an older settlement from the 9th century B.C., learning about the legend of Romulus and Remus, the abandoned brothers raised by a wolf who fought each other for power and control. Following your Colosseum tour you'll take a small break, before returning to the tour office for an in-depth experience in one of the most exciting and visited places in Rome, the Catacombs on the Ancient Appian Way. You'll descend into a complex network of underground tunnels, among the longest in the world, where you can admire ancient frescoes, inscription-rich crypts, small mausoleums, sarcophagi, and tombs. You'll also discover the burial sites of famous people such as popes, martyrs, and according to legends, even some apostles.

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Rome: Full-Day Tour of the Eternal City

9. Rome: Full-Day Tour of the Eternal City

See the best of Rome and the Vatican City on a full-day tour, tailored to your preferences. Traveling by comfortable Mercedes-Benz minivan, your driver/guide will take you to the highlights of the Roman Republic, such as the vast arena of the Colosseum, where tickets will have been reserved in advance. Go to the triumphal Arch of Constantine, and imagine the great chariot races of ancient times at the Circus Maximus. Enjoy panoramic views from Palatine Hill, one of the legendary 7 hills of Rome, and explore the historic Catacombs of Rome. Travel along the historic Appian Way, and admire Trajan’s Column on Piazza Venezia. Enjoy a typical Roman lunch at a popular trattoria (own expense). Then, head to the Vatican City to discover one of the world’s greatest art collections at the Vatican Museums. Marvel at Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica, and get imposing views of the wide expanse of St. Peter’s Square.

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Rome Off-the-Beaten Path 3.5-hour Walking Tour

10. Rome Off-the-Beaten Path 3.5-hour Walking Tour

Your 3.5-hour tour begins in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto, one of the most important, but greatly ignored neighborhoods in the city. With roots dating back to the mid-16th century, the area was integral to the development of Roman culture and cuisine, and home to important landmarks such as the Teatro Marcello, which is also known as the Jewish Colosseum. Next, you’ll make quick stops at the famous Mouth of Truth (stick your hand in and tell a lie if you dare). Then you’ll leave the city proper in search of the Appian Way, the most frequented thoroughfare of ancient Rome. Walk along the original paving stones as your expert guide tells you stories about the thriving Empire. From the veneration of Emperor Augustus to the crucifixion of Spartacus, this road played a central role in many of Rome’s greatest events. Your trip outside the walls will take you past the Park of the Aqueducts. Marvel at the giant structures that once provided Rome with fresh running water on demand. Afterwards, head off the beaten path to to Tiber Island, the boat-shaped island which has connected both sides of the Tiber River since antiquity. Onwards, experience some of the lesser-known spots in bohemian Trastevere, starting with a visit and tasting at a historical bakery. Pop into the church of Santa Cecilia, a magnificent complex built upon a 5th-century Basilica, before heading to Testaccio Market, where you'll try a typical roman pasta with a soft drink included.

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What people are saying about Appian Way

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 652 reviews

The catacombs are absolutely worth seeing. The guide on site is provided and was very monotonous. The text just seemed memorized. The transport was great, the driver was able to give a lot of information about Rome and, within the time available, had shown another sight that we did not know yet (Basilica San Paolo).

The guide Giovanni, very prepared and available to answer any question. You can see that he works with passion. Recommended

Fascinating. Laura was a wonderful guide telling the story of the catacombs.

It was great, but would have liked to have taken pictures.

An incredible day of adventure. Can’t recommend it enough.