Description: Our tour of the Catacombs is a journey to the dawn of Christianity as well as a walk through small chapels and tunnels that wind deep in the belly of the earth. It's a journey designed to discover the symbols, rituals, and the liturgy of the Christian faith in the first centuries after the coming of Christ, centuries in which the religion faced great hostility and was frequently persecuted.
The Crypt of the Popes with its nine pontiffs from the third century, some of whom were martyred, is a place of intense spirituality that takes us back to solidarity with the first Christian communities and their celebrations, awaiting the resurrection of the dead. The Crypt of Santa Cecilia testifies to the faith of one of the many women who embraced the new religion in the pagan context of the Roman empire and opens a window for us into the ups and downs in life and the phases of martyrdom of so many martyred saints handed down to us through the centuries, buried in these catacombs. In the third-century Cubicles of the Sacraments, the theme of officiated sacraments dominates, symbolized in many frescoes together with other Bible stories, frequently including the story of Johan in the belly of the whale. Some of the central themes of our itinerary will be the construction and the frequentation of these burial places and crypts and the understanding of symbols (from the fish to the phoenix, the dove to the anchor). We'll also discover a series of touching inscriptions in memory of the deceased and learn about the religious celebrations in the various phases of Christianity until its emergence as the single religion in the empire, at the end of the fourth century.
For a more complete and rich experience of the places of Christianity and its origins in the heart of Rome, our itinerary pairs the Catacombs of San Callisto (or San Sebastiano when San Callisto are closed) with the Basilica of San Clemente, which has some of the most beautiful Christian frescos in Rome and its fascinating underground levels (the lowest of which was a place of prayer for Christians of the second century). We will also visit the Church of the Santi Quattro Coronati, an imposing medieval fortress and enchanting cloister just near the Colosseum.
The visit and the works in detail
Written by Rosario Gorgone, Artistic Director, Through Eternity Tours