With this tour, we get a taste of ancient Rome by looking down.
From the miles of tunnels in the catacombs of Santa Domitilla to the Church of San Clemente, built on top of a previous church, on top of consular home, on top of Imperial building, much of the ancient Rome is now metres below current road levels!
Catacombs of Santa Domitilla
The Catacombs are ancient underground burial places near Rome.
They were in most part used by the early Christians, starting in the 2nd century, who needed a secret place to bury those killed during the Christian persecutions. They contain most of the remaining examples of early Christian frescos and sculpture.
In this tour we travel to the southern outskirts of the ancient Roman city, along the famous Appian Way, to The Catacombs of Santa Domitilla.
This place is both eerie and fascinating. We go to a world so far removed from our current day perception of normal that it’s hard not to be changed by it. It’s a real “sticker” in your memory.
Church of San Clemente
This beautiful church sits up on the hill of Aventino, not far from the historic centre of Rome, overlooking the Tiber river. Aventino is a lovely place to visit in its own right.
The church started as the home of a Roman consul in the first century (built over the top of a Imperial Roman building now some 17 metres (57 feet) below the street level). He was one of the first of his status to convert to Christianity (forbidden at the time), and he allowed his home to be used secretly for worship.
In the fourth century, with Christianity now legal, the home was extended and converted into a basilica. In about 1100, the current (larger) basilica was built over the top of that.
From both an archeological and a religious history perspective this is a “must-see”. The art in this church is fantastic, the lower basilica containing one of the largest collection of Early Medieval wall paintings anywhere. I love this place.
This is a four hours tour which requires some driving between the places and moderate walking.
Available daily except on Tuesday
Entrance fees required