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The Catacombs of San Domitilla

The Catacombs of San Domitilla: Our most recommended tours and activities

Rome: Guided Roman Catacombs Tour with Transfers

1. Rome: Guided Roman Catacombs Tour with Transfers

Uncover the secrets hidden the dark depths of the the Domitilla catacombs on this guided tour in Rome. Enjoy the convenience of a transfer from a centrally-located meeting point in the city. Learn about early Christian history and see the underground Basilica of Nereus. 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.

Rome: Catacombs of Domitilla Entry Ticket & Guided Tour

2. Rome: Catacombs of Domitilla Entry Ticket & Guided Tour

The Catacombs of Domitilla, located on via delle Sette Chiese, is one of the largest cemeteries in underground Rome and originates from some burial grounds set up on land belonging to Flavia Domitilla and donated by this to her freedmen. Flavia Domitilla was the grandson of Flavio Clemente, consul of 95 AD, and related to the imperial family. As a Christian, Flavia Domitilla was exiled by Domitian to the island of Ponza, where she died. The catacomb is divided on two main levels. In the so-called Hypogeum of the Flavians, Giovanni Battista de Rossi believed to identify the tombs of the Christian members of the family of Flavia Domitilla, while it is a pagan hypogeum referable between the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd century, which became Christian and was enlarged mid 3rd century. Towards the end of the third century, the bodies of the martyrs Nereus and Achilleus were placed in a crypt on the second floor which was transformed by Pope Damasus (366-384) into a small basilica, enlarged by Pope Siricius between 390 and 395 until reaching its current size.

Rome: Catacombs & St Clement's Underground Semi-Private Tour

3. Rome: Catacombs & St Clement's Underground Semi-Private Tour

Explore 2 contrasting underground sights with an expert guide. Discover a hidden gem 14m below St. Clement’s Basilica and descend into the twisty tunnels of the Roman Catacombs. Meet your guide in front of St. Clement's Basilica and venture deep underground below its foundations into a mystical world of ancient cults and legends. Journey through several layers of history and earth, down to 14 meters below ground. Live the excitement of gradually exploring the later structures built on top of it on your way up to the surface. Go back in time down to the deepest point and discover the best-preserved Mithraic temple of the city. Touch the waters of an underground stream before going higher into the remains of the 4th Century Basilica, built on top of the martyr’s house and below the actual one. Walking along its imposing walls, you will be fascinated by the ancient frescoes while learning about the scenes and lives of the martyrs they portray. Then you will journey outside the city walls to one of the largest and most ancient catacombs, the otherworldly crypts of Domitilla. Descend 16 meters below the surface and explore the accessible part of its vast labyrinth of underground burial chambers and galleries revealing the shift of faith from paganism to Christianity.

Rome: Catacombs of Rome and Main Basilicas Half-Day Tour

4. Rome: Catacombs of Rome and Main Basilicas Half-Day Tour

Begin your tour with visits to 2 important basilicas. Discover the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, the oldest of Rome’s 4 main basilicas and home to the Holy Stairs, a pilgrimage site. Then head to the Basilica of St. Mary Major to see the amazing collection of historic and religious artefacts. Admire the mosaics and the Crypt of the Nativity. Continue along the historic Appian Way, passing the Chapel of Domine Quo Vadis. Arrive at the ancient underground Catacombs of Rome. Explore these remarkable subterranean cemeteries, some dating back to the 2nd century. See historic artwork in the catacombs, and learn about how these underground passageways give insight into the early days of Christianity.

Ancient Rome in a Day: Catacombs and Colosseum Tour

5. Ancient Rome in a Day: Catacombs and Colosseum Tour

Accompany your guide to the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini Church and descend into the famous Capuchin Crypts. A hideout for the early Christians, the crypt houses the remains of 3,700 Capuchin monks whose bones line the walls in elaborate patterns built to represent Christian symbols. Then walk the same road the Roman armies took on their way to distant conquests millennia ago. One of the original seven roads into Rome, the Appian Way went from all the way to Brindisi in modern day Puglia. Make a quick stop to admire the Aurelian Walls from your air-conditioned vehicle before heading to the the oldest network of catacombs in Rome, the Catacombs of Domitilla. Located 50 feet below ground, this nearly 10-mile long maze of tunnels served as the burial grounds for early Christians who did not allow for the cremation of bodies. Head back into the city for a not-to-be-missed stop at the Colosseum with exclusive skip the line access. Enjoy the ultimate VIP experience by entering through the back entrance known as the Gate of Death. Step out on to the reconstructed Arena Floor, the area where battles between gladiators were fought (not accessible to the general public). The tour continues to the first and second tiers of the Colosseum where the richest of Romans sat. The "best seats in the house" are located in the same area as modern stadiums today. Your last stop will be the Roman Forum, the downtown heart of ancient Rome. Check out the ancient Senate building, temples to Roman gods, and multiple grand arches.

Exploring Underground of Rome

6. Exploring Underground of Rome

Discover the secrets and mysteries of ancient Rome on a two-hour walking tour through the city's hidden corners and underground tunnels. Explore the archeologically rich Church of St. Agnes, marvel at the iconic Fontana di Trevi, and journey back in time as you visit the remains of the Stadium of Domitian. Walk along the historic Vicus Caprarius, known as the Water City, and experience the meeting of past and present at La Rinascente on Via del Tritone. Immerse yourself in the rich history and cultural heritage of the Eternal City on this intriguing tour.

Rome: Private Underground Rome and Catacombs Tour

7. Rome: Private Underground Rome and Catacombs Tour

Discover what lies beneath the streets of Italy's capital city on this private tour. In the company of an expert guide, unearth the mysteries of Rome's subterranean spaces, from labyrinthine catacombs to hidden churches. You'll also have a private car and driver at your disposal so you can move between the sites in comfort. First, visit the spooky Catacombs of Santa Domitilla, one of the largest and oldest underground Christian cemeteries in the world. Walk through the twisting tunnels to discover hundreds of thousands of graves, as well as some of the world’s oldest Christian images and the haunting underground church of Santi Nereo ed Achilleo. In the basilica of San Clemente meanwhile, admire astonishing medieval mosaics and some of the most important paintings from the Early Renaissance.  Next, visit the Roman Houses of Saint John and Paul, which are located beneath a Christian church. Here, enjoy an incredible window into daily life in the ancient city. Discover marvelous decorations where pagan imagery and Christian frescoes coexist in harmony in this fascinating villa complex. On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, instead of the Roman Houses, visit the beautiful basilica of Santi Cosma and Damiano, built right into the Temple of Romulus in the ancient Roman.

Rome: History of Christianity Tour with Vatican & Catacombs

8. Rome: History of Christianity Tour with Vatican & Catacombs

Start the tour with a morning visit to the Capuchin Crypts located under the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini Church. See the macabre catacombs where 3,700 Capuchin monks are buried in elaborate bone structures. Hear about how many of these structures are built to represent Christian symbols, and as your guide will explain, it has caused some controversy. Then, head over to the oldest network of Catacombs in Rome, the Catacombs of Domitilla. Located 50 feet below ground, this nearly 10-mile long maze of tunnels acted as the burial grounds for early Christians. Next, walk on the same road that led Roman armies millennia ago. Find out how the Appian Way was 1 of the original 7 roads into Rome and went from all the way to Brindisi in modern-day Puglia. Admire the Aurelian Walls from the climate-controlled vehicle. After this, head over to the Vatican Museums and enter with your skip-the-line tickets. Stroll through the Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries, and the Gallery of the Maps. Explore the Raphael Rooms and Borgia Apartments which are full of paintings and frescoes by Raphael and his disciples and provide an amazing overview of Renaissance art. Then, step inside Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel - one of the most impressive and celebrated works of art in world history. Because silence is strictly enforced, your guide will describe what to look out for before entering. Make your last stop on the tour at St. Peter's Basilica. Enter through a special door directly from the Sistine Chapel. Visit Michelangelo's Pietà statue as well as Bernini's Baldacchino. The last stop on this Combo tour is St. Peter’s Basilica. This massive church is the size of two American football fields and is filled with works created by some of history’s most celebrated artists. You will enter through a special door, skipping the lines to visit the most opulent church in the world. Once inside, you’ll admire masterpieces such as the Baldacchino, La Pietà, the statue of St. Peter and more. Even if you’re not familiar with art history, the interior of this church will make you stand in awe.

From Civitavecchia Port: Full-Day Best of Christian Rome

9. From Civitavecchia Port: Full-Day Best of Christian Rome

Meet your private air-conditioned vehicle dockside under the gangway exit of your ship and transfer directly to Rome. The driver will wait for you at the pier just outside the ship with a sign with your name written on it. It isn’t impossible to concentrate 17 centuries of history in one tour and be guided to the most significant sites of the Catholic Church in Rome. Official licensed guides, if booked, are selected by the local tour operator. Sit down for lunch in a typical Roman restaurant. Consider that in high season from April to October, you must book the tour option with guide included a minimum 30 days in advance. During your private tour, you will enjoy landmarks such as Saint John Lateran, the Holy Stairs, Saint Mary Major, Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Christian Catacombs on the Ancient Appian Way and St. Peter’s Basilica (if and when open). Dedicated to John the Baptist and John the Evangelist, the Basilica of St. John Lateran is the first among the four major basilicas of Rome. It is also the cathedral of the bishop of Rome, the pope, and is thus known as Omnium urbis et orbis Ecclesiarum Mater et Caput: "Cathedral of Rome and of the World." The sanctuary gets its name from the 28 marble steps of the Holy Stairs. According to an ancient Christian tradition, Saint Helena (†335), the mother of Constantine, had the stairs transported from Pontius Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem to Rome. It is believed that Jesus climbed these stairs several times the day he was sentenced to death, thus, they are known as the “Scala Pilati” or “Scala Sancta” (the Holy Stairs or Pilate’s Stairs). The Patriarchal Basilica of St. Mary Major reigns as an authentic jewel in the crown of Roman churches. Its beautiful treasures are of inestimable value, and represent the church's role as the cradle of Christian artistic civilization in Rome. Saint Paul Outside the Walls is where Christians venerated the memory of Saint Paul the Apostle, beheaded under Nero around 65-67 AD. Above his grave, located along the Ostiense Way, Emperor Constantine built a basilica. The Christian catacombs originated in Rome between the end of the 2nd and the beginning of the 3rd centuries. The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican is the papal enclave within the city of Rome. Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. You can choose which catacombs you prefer to visit among the following: the Catacombs of St. Domitilla, Catacombs of St. Sebastian or the Catacombs of San Callixtus. The Catacombs of St. Domitilla are the oldest of Rome's underground burial networks, and the only ones to still contain bones. They are also the best-preserved and one of the most extensive of all the Catacombs. Included in their passages are a 2nd-century fresco of the Last Supper and other valuable artifacts. There are around 4,000,000 bodies buried in St. Domitilla. They are the only catacombs that have a subterranean basilica. The Catacombs of St. Sebastian, as one of the smallest Christian cemeteries, has always been some of the most accessible catacombs and are thus some of the least preserved (of the four original floors, the first is almost completely gone). On the left end of the right hand wall of the nave of the primitive basilica (rebuilt in 1933 on ancient remains), arches to end the middle of the nave of the actual 13th-century church are visible, along with the outside of the apse of the Chapel of the Relics; whole and fragmentary collected sarcophagi (mostly dating from the 4th-century) were found in excavations. The Catacombs of San Callixtus or the Crypt of the Popes was built after 150 AD. It takes its name from the deacon Saint Callixtus, proposed by Pope Zephyrinus in the administration of the same cemetery - on his accession as pope, he enlarged the complex, and soon it became the official one for the Roman church. The arcades, where more than fifty martyrs and sixteen pontiffs were buried, form part of a complex graveyard that occupies 15 hectares and is around 12 miles (20 kilometers) long. Once you get to the catacombs, your entrance tickets (8 EUR/person not included) will be purchased on the spot. Your driver will be able to help you complete the task. Then, you'll start your visit inside with a small group tour in your preferred language given by the catacombs staff. At the end of the tour, the driver will take you back to the port of Civitavecchia, leaving you outside your ship. The tour will be a total of 9-hours from pick-up to drop-off. Suggested pick-up is at 07:30.

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What people are saying about The Catacombs of San Domitilla

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 2,482 reviews

This was the best guided tour we have ever taken. Paul was our guide. He was so interesting and knowledgeable we could have listened to him all day. He made history come alive. This tour is definitely worth experiencing.

I truly enjoyed the tour led by Max and he led the tour in English. It was informative and very interesting. I would definitely recommend seeing the catacombs and learning about their history and preservation.

Guide was easy to understand and very informative but she was rushing us to keep to a schedule and the transport van stunk of smokes and he couldn’t find our entry tickets for 15 minutes after arriving

Very intresting visit at the catacombs. The guide was informative, for me, I would have enjoyed an even longer visit. Any question we had got immediately and competently answered. Highly recommended.

Our guide Mario was great! Mario was knowledgeable and friendly…phenomenal service!!