Go underground to see Rome’s ancient catacombs and crypts on a half-day tour. Visit the Domitilla Catacomb and Basilica of San Clemente with skip-the-line access, plus visit the Capuchin Crypt, where you’ll see a Caravaggio painting and marvel at a chapel made entirely out of human bones. Learn about past burial customs and secret Christian worship spots during this fascinating exploration into the history of Rome.
Over time, St. Sebastian, a martyr buried here, ended up imposing the name on the cemetery, which instead was originally called "ad catacumbas" that is, according to the most widespread explanation. they were pozzolana quarries, and this toponym was then assumed by extension to indicate Christian underground cemeteries. Another ancient name of the complex is that of "memoria Apostolorum", deriving from the cult that temporarily addressed the Apostles Peter and Paul there. Since the 1st century D.C., the site has been intensively exploited and built, with different intended uses. The depressions and the sandstone galleries, in fact, were used to place both pagan and Christian burial niches; several columbaria were built and at least two residential buildings, notable for their wall decorations. Around the middle of the century. An excavation took place in the area of the sandstone: three mausoleums (of Clodius Hermes, of the Innocentiores and of the Ax) were erected on the pitch that was determined, in which they were placed in the first half of the third century. members of the Christian faith. This area was buried again, and a portico bordered by a wall ("triclia") was built on it. Hundreds of graffiti with invocations to Peter and Paul have been deciphered on the wall, due to the fact that, around 250, the cult of the Apostles was transferred to this place, on which the emperor Constantine (306-337) had a grandiose basilica built circiform dedicated to the Apostles. Meanwhile, as early as the third century, the catacomb had developed underground, in which the martyrs Sebastian and Eutichio were buried, as is known from the sources.
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