This sacred space serves as the final resting place for the remains of Saint Sebastian, an early Christian martyr who was killed during the Roman Emperor Diocletian's reign in the 3rd century AD. While the remains were moved to the basilica above in the 13th century, you can still see his empty tomb in the crypt and pay your respects to his memory.
The catacombs contain an intricate network of narrow passageways that are lined with beautifully carved tombs and sarcophagi. These burial sites date back to the early Christian era and are a testament to the early Christians' faith and traditions. It's worth noting that the catacombs also contain some pagan tombs and inscriptions, as well as Jewish symbols, showcasing the diverse historical and religious significance of the site.
As you wander through the catacombs, you'll encounter ancient inscriptions and delicate frescoes that offer insights into the religious beliefs and practices of early Christians. These artistic representations tell stories of faith, including scenes from the Old and New Testaments such as Noah's Ark, Daniel in the Lion's Den, Jonah and the Whale, the Good Shepherd, and the Resurrection of Lazarus.
You will find a collection of ancient sarcophagi here. Dating back to the 3rd century AD, these intricately decorated sarcophagi feature scenes from the Bible and Christian symbols, providing a glimpse into the art and symbolism of the time.
Near the entrance of the catacombs, you'll find the Mausoleums of the Piazzola. These circular mausoleums, dating back to the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, belonged to wealthy Roman families.
A portico where pilgrims used to gather to venerate Saints Peter and Paul, the Tricilia is covered with hundreds of graffiti invocations to the apostles, some written in Greek and Latin, the Triclia offers a glimpse into the devotion and spiritual practices of early Christians.
The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian are an underground cemetery in Rome that date back to the early Christian era and were used as a burial place for early Christians during a time of persecution.
The crypt of Saint Sebastian is the burial site of the remains of Saint Sebastian, a Christian martyr who was killed during the Roman Emperor Diocletian's reign in the 3rd century AD. It is highly revered by Christians and a place of pilgrimage for the faithful.
The catacombs of Saint Sebastian are one of the oldest and most important Christian burial sites in Rome. They show how the early Christians lived, worshipped, and died for their faith. They also preserve the relics of many saints and martyrs who inspired generations of Christians. They are one of the seven pilgrimage churches of Rome and a testimony of the early Christian faith.
The catacombs of Saint Sebastian were originally called ad catacumbas, meaning "near the hollows", because of the nearby pozzolana quarries. This term later became synonymous with underground Christian burial chambers. The catacombs were renamed after Saint Sebastian, a Christian martyr who was buried there in 350 AD.
The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian are open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM, except on January 1, and the month of December.
Yes, there is an entry fee for the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian. The entry tickets cost €8 for adults 17 years and above. Kids aged seven to 16 years, students with valid ID cards, and priests get a €3 discount and pay only €5 to enter. Children under six years and caregivers for people with disabilities are free. The entry tickets include a guided tour in a chosen language with the catacombs staff.
The catacombs of Saint Sebastian consist of four levels of tunnels and chambers, containing thousands of tombs and sarcophagi, some decorated with frescoes and inscriptions. The catacombs also house some pagan and Jewish burials, as well as three circular mausoleums on the surface. The catacombs also have a portico called triclia, where pilgrims used to gather to venerate Saints Peter and Paul. The wall of the triclia is covered with graffiti invocations to the apostles.
The Basilica of Saint Sebastian, built over the catacombs in the 4th century AD by Emperor Constantine, contains several relics related to Saint Sebastian and other saints. Some of these relics are the arrow that pierced Saint Sebastian during his martyrdom, a set of marble footprints attributed to Jesus, a stone with an imprint of Jesus' face, a fragment of the column where Jesus was scourged, and a piece of wood from his cross.
Photography is allowed on the tour but without flash. However, commercial or drone photography is strictly prohibited.
Visitors are advised to dress modestly and wear comfortable shoes as the catacombs have uneven surfaces and stairs. Covering one's shoulders and knees is an absolute must.