Skull and bones at the Catacombs of Rome
Crypts & Catacombs Tour guide and group
Crypts & Catacombs Tour
Beautiful interior of the St. Clement Church in Rome
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The Original Crypts and Catacombs Tour

(4,177 Reviews)
3.5 h.

Explore the centuries-old Rome churches and burial sites of this ancient city. Our Crypts and Catacombs Tour brings you on a journey of some of the most iconic remains of that culture. See the underground catacombs where Christianity took root, the pagan cults that churches were built on and the shrines dedicated to the afterlife which give Rome the nickname- the Eternal City. You’ll visit three sites that explore Rome’s obsession with death.

  • Explore the Christian underground catacombs of Rome, the multiple layers of the Basilica of San Clemente and the macabre Capuchin ‘Bone Chapel’.
  • Discover how the monuments of death throw light on how people lived in Rome from your expert English-speaking archaeologist guide
  • Relax as a private climate-controlled bus coach takes you to each location
  • Small groups of 20 people or less

Tour Description

What's Included

  • Access to the underground tour of the Christian Catacombs
  • Access to the Capuchin Crypt and Museum
  • A visit to the church and below ground levels of Basilica of San Clemente
  • Expert, English-speaking archaeologist guide
  • Small groups of not more than 20 people
  • Transport in a climate-controlled bus
  • Gratuities

Sites Visited

  • Catacombs of Domitilla, San Callisto or Santa Priscilla
  • The Basilica of San Clemente
  • The Capuchin Crypt and Museum

Your Tour begins in Piazza Barberini where you will be greeted by your archaeologist guide at the fountain of Triton. Ironically, this was where they brought unidentified corpses to be identified until the 1800s.

Descend into the Catacombs of Rome

You’ll be seated in a private air-conditioned coach and driven to one of the many Christian Catacombs which are hidden around the city. Developed during the time when Christians were persecuted, the catacombs served as both a burial place due to the soft volcanic rock and a place of worship because it was not wise to broadcast your faith at the time. You’ll get to see the burial practices and iconography which developed over time until it became less a refuge and more the preferred resting place of popes.

Discover the Reused Churches of Rome

After you leave the Catacombs, your bus will take you to the Basilica of San Clemente beside the Colosseum. As Rome was a flashpoint for the growth of Christianity, this is one of the best-preserved specimens of church reuse that you will ever see outside the Holy Land. Underneath its floors are a preserved Roman street with a working aqueduct and a room which was clearly used for meetings of a pagan mystery cult. Above that is a fully functioning basilica from the 4th-century. On top of its arches is the present-day Byzantine church which dates from the 14th-century and is used by Irish Dominicans today.

Come Face to Face with the Bones of the Dead

The Church of Santa Maria della Concezioni dei Cappuccini is home to the museum of the Capuchins. They were a 16th-century offshoot of the Franciscans who promoted an ascetic way of life to contrast the extravagance of the popes at the time. The order grew and the museum offers a picture of the global impact of the order. It also contains interesting items such as instruments of flagellation and Caravaggio’s St. Francis painting. The building is also home to the famed Capuchin Crypts where the bodies of 4000 friars were rehoused in the 17th-century. Their bones were rearranged in an elaborate fashion to remind viewers that death cannot be escaped.

This tour offers you a different outlook on the Eternal City and is one of our most popular tours of Rome.

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A Dark Rome tour is the product of meticulous research, detailed planning, and a passion for providing customers with travel experiences they will cherish forever.

With Dark Rome it's not just facts, our passionate guides tell you the stories that bring the sights to life.

  • All of our guides are experts in their field
  • We only hire fluent English-speakers so nothing is ever lost in translation
  • We focus on the little details and anecdotes that make Dark Rome so special