A Brief Guide To Rome’s Catacombs

Not only is Rome a city full of beauty and wonders. It also keeps secret underground: kilometers of burial places of  Ancient times. They are the famous catacombs, subterranean burial chambers that they were built outside the walls, along main roads as the Ancient Appian Way, the via Ostiense, the via Labicana, the via Tiburtina and the via Nomentana.

From the 2nd century AD catacombs were carved through tufa, creating a network of tunnels and galleries; bodies were placed in graves in stone sarcophagi, with a slab closing the chamber. There are different kinds of tombs, which depended on the means of the family. They are the most representative monument of the Early Christian church, where also martyrs were buried. When Christianity became a state religion, the faithful begun to bury the dead in cemeteries, the relics were trasfered and catacombs remained abandoned.

catacoms of Rome TreasureRome They were forgotten and then rediscovered from the end of the XVI century. Today it is possible to visit some of them, for an experience you won’t forget.

The Catacombs of Domitilla are the best preserved ones: over 17 kilometers of underground caves, some of which are now inaccessible. The visit begins with the Basilica of the martyrs Nereus and Achilleus, that were built above their tomb, and the continues with the catacombs where it can still be seen symbols, paintings and frescoes.

The Catacombs of San Sebastiano are on the Ancient Appian Way. The martyred remains of Saint Sebastian were buried here and a basilica was built over the grounds to pray the saint in the early 4th century. The stucco decorations on the celilings and the frescoes on the burial chambers are well preserved.

Another option on the Appian Way are the Catacombs of St. Callixtus, the greatest of Rome. Popes and martyrs were buried here; the underground cemetery has several areas, a gallery full of loculi, small chambers and family tombs.

The catacombs are the place in Rome that you can’t miss to fully understand the ancient history of the Eternal City.

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3 Types Of Weekends You Can Have In Rome

A weekend in Rome can have many different aspects. You can enjoy the Eternal city together with your partner, your family or your friends. Two days are not enough to visit all that it can offer, but it is a good starting point. Why don’t you plan a Rome city break for every season? There is always something new to discover.

The romantic weekend

The first day in Rome can officially start visiting its symbol:  the Colosseum. Then you can give yourself a walk hand in hand through history along via dei Fori Imperiali to Piazza Venezia, where you can admire the Altare della Patria. From this point, you only have to choose what to do: some shopping on via del Corso, a cultural visit to the Musei Capitolini or a stroll towards Largo di Torre Argentina up to the Pantheon.  Pubs, restaurants and bars will wait for you in one of the most typical place in Rome: Trastevere.

You can spent your second day visiting the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, walking up to Piazza del Popolo with a delicious ice cream in hand (from Giolitti, of course). And, at dusk, an Italian aperitivo is what you need: we suggest the  ‘Gusto one.

A weekend with friends

It’s never easy to come to an agreement when you travel with many people. But Rome is one of those city which can satisfy everyone’s tastes and different ideas of “holidays”. The first day you could visit the city all together: Largo di Torre Argentina, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Campo De’ Fiori. A good lunch (you are spoilt for choice in the center of Rome!) and then you can go and discover the beautiful Gianicolo. Why don’t you take a photo in front of the famous Fontanone? If you are looking for the roman movida, you must go to these two neighborhoods: San Lorenzo, where students usually hang out and where you can find pizzerias, pubs and discos; or Testaccio, which is perfect if you want to listen to live music.

The second day you can choose culture, especially if it is Sunday: the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, the Maxxi, or the Borghese Gallery. And if your previous night has been a bit too animated, you can choose a walk through Villa Borghese instead. Don’t forget to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to say bye to Rome, hoping you will be back soon.

A Weekend with the family

The smallest ones will love Rome, exactly like their parents. There are great things for children. You need to choose which desire you want to realize first: the Bioparco (the zoo of Rome), the Rainbow Magicland, the biggest amusement park of the city or a visit to a museum? Monti is the right neighborhood for your dinner: a roman atmosphere and restaurants for families.

The following day you can visit Castel Sant’Angelo and the Vatican; if it is Sunday, a local brunch is what you need. REC 23 could be the right place. You still have enough time to discover the most famous monuments of the Eternal City: your kids won’t believe their eyes. They will cherish these memories for the rest of their life.

 

Pincio (Photo credit: veronicag2 da Instagram)