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.