Journey back in time to the fascinating world of Early Christian Rome on our virtual tour
Price 20 €
duration 1.5 hours
Join historian and expert Through Eternity guide Thomas on a journey back in time to the fascinating world of early-Christian Rome. Discover how a small and persecuted sect dramatically rose to become the de facto religion of empire, and learn what life was like for the earliest members of the Christian community in Rome. We’ll be learning about how they worshipped in secret meeting houses, their radical spiritual views on life and death, what went on in the eerie surroundings of the catacombs, and much more. As we trace Christianity’s rise with the conversion of Constantine, we’ll also be exploring the first Christian buildings of Rome - many of which survive today. This is a story of awakenings and resurrections, of heart-wrenching loss and irrepressible hope, all told in elemental earth, brick and stone, in inspiring art and breathtaking architecture. Book your place today and join this fascinating journey!
Hi, I’m Thomas. A native of Florida, I studied History in the United States and France, Art History in France and Italy, and Archaeology in Italy. I am one of four brothers, one of many Tolkien fans, and one of very few native English-speaking licensed tour guides in Rome, where I have lived and worked with Through Eternity Tours since 2006. My particular interests are medieval history, Baroque painting, pork products, tasty cakes, and full-figured red wines. I speak English, French, Italian, a smattering of Spanish, and a few German swear words.
The world of travel might be on hold right now, but just because we're all staying at home to help the world overcome a common enemy doesn't mean we have to put our wanderlust on the back burner. Frustrated with not being able to get our travel fix, we decided to transform our award-winning tours into immersive virtual experiences, meaning you can still explore Italy’s spectacular archaeological sites and jaw-dropping museums from the comfort of your own home.
* Please note that the booking times are in US Eastern Standard Time and Rome, Italy CET is 6 hours ahead *
Fun and informative, our virtual tours take the form of online real-time presentations led by our expert guides. Combining videos, high-definition photos and more, our guides will be sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience with you on these interactive walkthroughs of Italy’s most fascinating sites. The live format of our virtual tours means you’ll be able to ask your guide anything you wish, just like on a normal tour. We really believe it's the next best thing to being here!
If you cannot find a scheduled time for our virtual tours that work for you, please contact us directly and we would be delighted to set up a private virtual tour for you and your group!
As a sign of our gratitude to those who are on the front line fighting the Coronavirus, we would be more than happy to invite all first responders, health workers and NHS workers to join our Virtual Tours for free. Please message our office staff directly!
Please note that the proceeds from our online tours go directly to our guides, providing them with a valuable lifeline in these tough times for the world of travel. Thank you for your support!
To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. - Romans 1:7-8
With these words, the Apostle Paul greeted the faithful in the Eternal City. His letter was written about a decade before the Great Fire of 64 CE, the one during which Nero purportedly fiddled while Rome burned. The beleaguered emperor shifted blame for the flames onto the small but vocal group of believers who would eventually come to be called Christians. The next two and a half centuries were marked by on-again-off-again harassment of Christians, who followed what Roman law considered a superstitio illicita (illegal superstition), culminating in the Great Persecution led by the Emperor Diocletian in the late 3rd and early 4th centuries.
Everything changed with Constantine the Great’s victory at the Milvian Bridge in 312 CE and the edict he issued from Milan the following year, recognizing the faith as a religio licita (a legal religion). Before that, there were no distinct Christian structures and only limited examples of art and decoration remain to us. Almost overnight, it all came up from underground and Christian faith was suddenly on bold display. Nowhere was this more evident than in the imperial capital itself, with several churches and other structures built within the lifetimes of Constantine and his immediate successors.
What was life like for these early Christians in this sprawling city of well over a million, the largest city the world had yet known? Where did they meet while it was technically illegal and potentially lethal to do so? What were the first church buildings like and how were they decorated?
And what was death like? Even more interestingly, how was what they did with their dead different and what can this tell us about how they lived and how they believed?
Discover the answers to these questions on this exciting Virtual Visit with historian and raconteur, Thomas, as he accompanies you from the soaring heights of ancient basilicas into the very belly of the Earth. This is a story of awakenings, of resurrections, of heart-wrenching loss and irrepressible hope, told in elemental earth, in brick and stone, in inspiring art and breathtaking architecture.
5.0 (8 reviews)
I have a new understanding of the Roman catacombs and the rise of Christianity in ancient Rome after taking this tour. Thomas takes us through the catacombs, explaining how they were constructed, and their place in the beginnings of what was a new religion, while entertaining us with the history of the time. He makes the history personal, and uses some great recreations of the structures. One more reason to return to Rome, and visit with a new view and new knowledge because of this excellent tour.
Fascinating in-depth tour
I went on an underground Rome tour when I visited Rome in person, so I wasn't sure how similar this would be to that. To say it exceeded any expectations I might have had would be an understatement. Thomas gave an incredibly in-depth tour of the early Christian era in Rome, including some obscure but visitable sites that I had not previously known existed. A huge advantage of virtual tours is how many physically disparate sites you can visit in a single tour, and nowhere is this more apparent than in this tour. Lots of reconstructions, illustrations, and photographs make this visually wonderful and easy to understand. I even learned some new-to-me things about St. Stephen's, one of the sites that I had visited in person. I cannot highly enough recommend this tour for anyone interested in the history of Rome, of early Christianity, and/or of the Mediterranean region.