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Private Christian Rome – Catacombs Tour
09:00 AM & 02:00 PM
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat
Pick-up at your hotel, more details at booking
Your private guide and driver will meet you at your hotel to take you on your fascinating tour highlighting the history of early Christians during the times of the Romans. The tour will begin after getting picked up at your hotel by your guide and driver, and will take you beyond the imposing Aurelian Walls and along the ancient Appian Way to visit one of the catacombs.
The Catacombs of Callisto are one of the biggest and most famous in Rome, dating as far back as the 2nd century. Its galleries, spreading over an area over 20 km large, contain the remains of thousands of Christians, several martyrs and sixteen popes. The walls of this catacomb are decorated with early Christian symbols and beautiful examples of the first religious representations.
If the Catacombs of Callisto are closed, then you will be visiting The Catacombs of San Sebastian instead. These were discovered after the First World War and contain over 100 000 remains spanning a complex 12 km long and spread out through three different levels.
On your way back to Rome, you will stop at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, considered one of the five great basilicas of Rome. The Basilica was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine I and is, according to tradition, the burial place of Saint Paul the Apostle. After his execution and burial, Saint Paul’s followers erected a memorial called a “cella memoriae” over his grave. These types of memorials, built in the Byzantine style, were meant to celebrate the person to whom they were dedicated.
You will be returned to your hotel at the end of the tour.
– Private car and driver at disposal (4 hours)
– Expert local guide at disposal (4 hours)
– Entrance fees at Catacombs of Callisto or San Sebastian
– Aurelian Walls
– Appian Way
– Catacombs of Callisto or San Sebastian
– Basilica Saint Paul Outside the Walls
– Confirmation will be received at time of booking
– Voucher and detailed operator information, including local emergency numbers will be received three weeks before the date of your tour.
– Adult pricing applies to all travelers.
– The dress code for men and women is strictly enforced in Churches. No shorts, bare shoulders or miniskirts.
Pick-up at your accommodation
Drop-off at your accommodation
Basilica of St. Paul outside the walls
The Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls belongs to the papal basilicas in Rome. It is one of the four most important basilicas in Rome along with Saint Peter’s Basilica, the papal Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran and the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. The first Basilica was built in 314 by the emperor Constantine the Great. It was built on the same place where Saint Paul was buried, his grave now situated five meters under the altar. It was the biggest Christian monument in the world up until Saint Peter’s Basilica was built.
Things to see
During Theodosius the Great’s reign, pagans temples were banned so the emperor renovated the basilica by building five naves, getting his inspiration from another ancient basilica located on Trajan’s Forum.
In 1823, the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls was almost entirely destroyed by fire. The reconstruction of the basilica was ordered by Pope Leo XII and he gave this task to the architect Pasquale Belli. The interior was decorated by Poletti and the new basilica was rebuilt according to the original plans; only the façade was new.
Miraculously, the cloister from the 13th century survived the fire and it is still possible to admire its beautiful columns sculpted from different colored marbles. Some 36 frescoes represent the events of Saint Paul’s life, as well as pieces from the former basilica and a few sarcophagi, can all be found inside the basilica. In the middle of the courtyard, a marble statue of Saint Paul stands, created by the sculptor Giuseppe Obici in 1850. Pilgrimages to the Basilica have been organized since the first Holy Year of 1300.
The Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls is the property of the Holy See and it has been listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Appian Way offers visitors a glimpse into the past of the ancient republic of Rome. Also known as the “Regina Viarum” (“Queen of the Roads”), its construction began in 312 B.C. The Appian Way was initially built with a military purpose but later became a great road in order to expand trade between Rome and the other provinces. Only two years after the start of its construction, road connected Rome to Capua in the province of Caserta in Campania. When the Appian Way connected Rome to Brindisi in Apulia, it had reached about 600 kilometers in length and 4.15 meters in width. The post office noted an improvement to its services; it took only around 14 days to deliver mail from Rome to Brindisi. Thanks to the Appian Way, administration and tax collection also improved.
Things to see
The road is located in the south-eastern part of Rome and is lined with Roman monuments as well as Jewish and Christian graves that were built along the way. These funeral monuments were erected by important Roman families in order to grant them an eternal position in history. The Mausoleum of Caecilia Metella is one of the most famous monuments along this road. Caecilia Mettela belonged to a prominent Roman family, the daughter of the consul Quintus Metilus Creticus. She married Publius Licinius Crassus whose father was part of the First Triumvirate with Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great.
While walking along the ancient road, you can also discover the ruins of the Villa of Quintili. In 151 A.D. the Quintili brothers chose to build their villa on this great location because it offers a wonderful view of the Roman countryside. This villa served as a model for several painters across different time periods. The Appian Way is now a protected regional park spreading over 3500 hectares.