Christian Catacombs in Rome: Location, Timings, Attractions
Quick Facts on Christian Catacombs in Rome
- Location: Scattered across Rome
- Date of origin: 2nd Century AD
- No. of Christian catacombs: Around 40 discovered to date
- No. of graves: Over a million Christians were buried
- Function: Burial sites for the early Christians
Why Visit the Christian Catacombs in Rome?
Plan Your Roman Christian Catacombs Visit
Timings: Christian catacombs in Rome have varying opening hours, but mostly, they remain open from 9 AM to 12 PM and from 2 PM to 5 PM. Some of the most popular catacombs’ timings are:
- Saint Sebastian Catacombs: 10 AM - 5 PM; Closed on 1 January, December
- Callixtus Catacombs: 9 AM- 12 PM; 2 PM - 5 PM; Closed on Wednesdays
- Sant’Agnese Catacombs: Thu-Fri 9 AM- 12 PM and 3 PM - 6 PM; Sat-Sun, 9 AM- 12 PM and 3 PM to 7 PM; Closed on 1 January, Easter, Christmas, the morning of religious holidays
- Domitilla Catacombs: 9 AM- 12 PM; 2 PM- 5 PM; Closed on Tuesdays
- PriscillaCatacombs: 9 AM- 12 PM; 2 PM - 5 PM; Closed on Mondays
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit the ancient Rome catacombs is from April to June (peak season) and between October and March (low season). Try to reach the catacombs during the early morning to avoid the rush and explore the burial sites at your own pace.
The Christian catacombs in Rome are scattered throughout the city of Rome and its surrounding areas. Here is a list of some of the most visited catacombs:
Saint Sebastian Catacombs: Via Appia Antica, 136, 00179 Roma RM [Find on Map]
Callixtus Catacombs: Via Appia Antica, 110/126, 00179 Roma RM [Find on Map]
Sant’Agnese Catacombs: Via Nomentana, 349, 00162 Roma RM [Find on Map]
Domitilla Catacombs: Via delle Sette Chiese, 282, 00147 Roma RM [Find on Map]
Priscilla Catacombs: Via Salaria, 430, 00199 Roma RM [Find on Map]
Which Christian Catacombs in Rome Should You Visit?
The Christian Catacombs of Rome are close to sixty, out of which the most prominent ones are mentioned below. Not all catacombs are open to the public. These are some of the most visited Roman catacombs of the early Christians.
San Sebastiano Catacombs
San Sebastiano Catacombs (Via Appia Antica, 136) was originally a pozzolan mine, then a pagan burial ground before being used by Christians. Visitors can see frescoes, stucco work, and epigraphs on the second level, three perfectly preserved mausoleums, and walls plastered with invocations to Peter and Paul. A visit to San Sebastiano Catacombs offers a unique insight into the history of Christianity and the ancient Roman civilization.
With 17 kilometers (Via delle Sette Chiese, 280) of underground caves on four levels, the Catacombs of Domitilla is the best-preserved section and offers a glimpse into the Christian community in Imperial Rome and Catholicism between the 2nd and 9th centuries. Visitors can see private tombs linked by an extensive network of galleries depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
Priscilla Catacombs (Via Salaria, 430) is one of the most important archaeological sites in Rome, dating back to the 2nd century AD. They are known for their early Christian frescoes and inscriptions, including the oldest-known image of the Virgin Mary. Located on the Via Salaria across from the Villa Ada, Priscilla Catacombs are now under the upkeep of Benedictine Nuns of Priscilla.
San Callixtus Catacombs
Catacombs Rome St. Callixtus are the largest and most visited catacombs, known for containing the tombs of popes, martyrs, and hundreds of thousands of early Christians. Visitors can explore the Crypt of the Nine Popes and the Crypt of St. Cecilia, which feature stunning mosaics and frescoes. A guided tour is recommended to fully appreciate the historical and religious significance of this ancient Christian burial site.
Visit the catacombs of Saint Agnes (Via Nomentana, 349) to get a glimpse into the persecutions of early Christians and the reverence they held for their martyrs, as well as an understanding of the history of the catacomb complex. The site also features the well-preserved ancient Christian Basilica of Sant'Agnese and the Mausoleum of Santa Costanza, which are important examples of late-ancient architecture and art.
The Praetextatus Catacombs houses artwork depicting stories from the Old and New Testaments, like the allegorical take of old men disguised as lambs and wolves. The catacombs also contain examples of early Christian art, including gold glass medallions and frescoes. The most notable is the rare fresco of Christ crowned with thorns and the painting of Susanna, from the 4th Century.
How to Get to the Christian Catacombs in Rome?
Reserve a tour: Booking a guided tour with round-trip transfers is the easiest way to visit the Rome Christian catacombs on the Via Appia.
Public Bus: Board buses from 218 and 716 to Domitilla, and 118 and 218 lines to San Sebastian & San Callixtus. From central Rome, take the 66 bus to Primoli followed by the 337 bus to reach Sant’Agnese Catacombs. Hop on the 92 bus from Cernaia in Rome to reach the Priscilla catacombs.
Book Rome Catacomb Tours
Frequently Asked Questions About the Christian Catacombs in Rome
Some of the well-known Christian catacombs in Rome are the Catacombs of Priscilla, the Catacombs of S. Agnese, the Catacombs of Domitilla, the Catacombs of S. Sebastiano, the Catacombs of Callixtus, and the Catacombs of Praetextatus.
The Christian catacombs are over 2000 years old, dating back to the 2nd Century.
The Christian catacombs were built primarily as underground burial sites and places of worship for the early Christian community. Later on, the catacombs played a significant role in preserving early Christian art and symbols. These artworks served as a visual representation of Christian beliefs and provided solace and inspiration to the underground Christian community.
You can find the buried remains of eminent personalities in the Rome Christian catacombs such as Pope Marcellinus, and Pope Marcellus I among others.
Currently, some of the most visited are the Catacombs of San Sebastiano, Domitilla, Priscilla, San Callixtus, Sant’Agnese, and Praetextatus.
Although the opening hours vary from one catacomb to the other, the usual timings are between 9 AM to 12 PM and 2 PM to 5 PM.
You can visit multiple Christian catacombs in a day if they are in the close vicinity. Keep in mind that exploring catacombs take time, hence, plan ahead of the travel times between the sites to get ample time to explore.
Yes, you can click pictures inside the catacombs. Keep in mind, not all sections of the catacombs are properly lit, so you fight face a struggle to capture clear images.
Visitors are recommended to dress modestly with shoulders and knees covered, considering the sacred nature of the catacombs. Some catacombs may have a particular dress code, so it is recommended to check before you visit.
Unfortunately, most catacombs have little to no access for people with disability due to the underground nature and rough terrain. However, if you plan to visit, check the accessibility information.