Catacombs and Early Christian Churches

From our meeting point we will jump in a taxi and head out of the city center to visit one of the most fascinating burial areas of early Christianity, San Domitlla. Before descending underground, we’ll have a stroll down the oldest paved road in the world, the Appian Way. Returning to Sana Domitila, our guide will personally lead you through the labyrinth of crypts and discuss the reality of early Christians and why they chose areas outside of the city walls for their burials. What is fact and what is fiction in our understanding of early Christians in Rome? Were they really fed to lions in the Coliseum? Did they secretly meet in the catacombs to practice their religion? We hope to create a clearer picture of what life was like for this once fringe cult that grew into one of the world’s greatest religions.

From the catacombs we will head back into the city to visit two very important early Christian sites that lie beneath the modern streets of Rome. Our first stop with be the multilayered San Clemente a former domus ecclesia or house church. Here we will go back in time and leave modern Rome above our heads as we start with 12th century basilica which is built upon a 4th century place of worship as well as ancient Roman houses and a 3rd century shrine dedicated to he cult of Mithra.
From S Clemente we will visit one of the most fascinating and often overlooked early Christian sites, in Rome, Santo Stefano Rotondo. It is the first church in Rome to have a circular form dating back to the 5th century. Santo Stefano in Rotundo is home to some important works of art and has some of the best preserved early medieval mosaics as well as art that spans the ages from the early middle ages to the Mannerist period. Highlights include the incredible architecture, the mannerist frescoes of the martyrs and amazingly intact cometesque floors.

This tour will leave you with a better understanding of the reality of life for early Christians in Rome from the 1st century until the fall of the Roman Empire. A great tour for anyone who wants a better understanding of the foundation of the religion that now shapes modern cultures today.

Sites Included:

  • Ancient Appian Way and a Catacomb site
  • Underground burial sites, underground labyrints, early Christian frescoes
  • Ancient tombstones and their symbology
  •  The fascinating multilayered  church of San Clemente

Topics covered:

  • Historical context of the archeological site
  • The lives of Martyrs and the Christian persecutions
  • Particular attention paid to the early Christianity and its rituals
  • Pagan and Christian burial sites in Rome
  • A promise to have a dynamic, humorous, friendly and knowledgeable tour guide

Touring options:

  • 5 hour Private Tour : € 235,00 (per group) + individual entrance fees (€9,00  Entrance Ticket) + transportation (Bus or taxi, your choice)

Running Dates:


You may also like: