The Original Crypts and Catacombs Rome Tour starts by meeting your expert historian guide in Piazza Barberini, beside the fountain of Triton. Interestingly, this piazza was used as the location for displaying human corpses which needed public identification up until the 1800s.
Explore the Sacred Christian Catacombs
From here you’ll be driven in our private climate-controlled bus to the extensive Christian Catacombs which were dug out of the ground over 2000 years ago. Your expert historian guide will explain how this network of sacred tunnels is associated with the first Christians in ancient Rome. You’ll descend into the labyrinthian corridors carved into the soft volcanic rock and discover the frescoes, strange iconography and burial places which doubled as places of worship when the Christians were persecuted.
Uncover the Layers of Rome
When you exit the catacombs, your bus will take you back within the city walls to the Basilica of San Clemente in the shadow of the Colosseum. If ever there was an example of Roman reuse of its buildings this is it. This seemingly normal church contains glorious arabesque frescoes and inlaid marble floors but in Rome, that on its own is not unusual. As your guide will show you, the church is built on top of a casually forgotten 4th-century basilica containing frescoes that include one of the first examples of vernacular Italian in the world. If that was not enough, this sits above a mysterious 2nd-century Oriental shrine in a private room between paved Roman streets and an aqueduct which still flows today.
Reflect on the Mortal World in the Capuchin Crypts
Your coach will then transport you to the Capuchin Museum. Telling the story of the order based on the ascetic ideology of St. Francis, the museum contains Caravaggio’s painting of St. Francis and many artifacts from their history of creating altruistic projects around the world. At the rear of the museum are the unique Capuchin Crypts - the final resting place of 4000 Capuchin friars whose bones were used in the European tradition of Momento Mori – decorative features created to cultivate detachment from life in the viewer by reflecting on death and immortality.
This is just one of our popular tours of Rome which gives you a different perspective on the fascinating culture of the Eternal City.