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Typology: Catacombs


Address: Via Appia Antica, 136
Zone: Quartiere Appio Pignatelli (Roma sud)


Opening times

Daily from 10.00 to 17.00
Last admission 16.30
Closed 25 December, 1 January
Annual closing period: December


Full: €10.00
Reduced: €7.00

- Minors between 7 and 16 years of age included.
- Groups of students from primary and secondary schools with the student list.
- Students of archaeology, architecture, art history and cultural patrimony until 25 years of age included, upon presentation of sufficient certification.
- Priests, religious, seminarians and novices, upon presentation of sufficient certification.

Free entrance: children under 6 Years Old and Carers for people with disabilities

Booking in advance for the Catacombs are only taken for school groups or groups of a minimum of 15 persons.
Requests for bookings can be sent either by e-mail info@catacombe.org or by tel. 06 7850350 or 06 7843745.
Individual visitors to the Catacombs do not need to book in advance. The staff at the ticket office organise indiviudal visitors into language groups upon purchase of tickets for the guided tour.

The Catacombs of St. Sebastian offer guided tours in English, German, Italian, French and Spanish.

Celebration of Mass:
Pilgrim groups who wish to celebrate Mass in the Catacombs (Max. 20 People) must request this in advance at the Booking Office: Tel. 06 7850350, info@catacombe.org
Larger groups can also be accomodated in the Basilica.

No reservation required for single visitors.


» Recommended for Groups


Inside the Catacombs of San Sebastiano, four levels have been excavated. Near the catacombs, the Appian Way passes through a valley. On its slopes houses and columbarii were built. In the valley bottom (called "ad catacumbas" now synonymous with underground cemetery) were erected three mausoleums which probably marked the beginning of the cemetery. When the Church became the owner of the site in the 3rd century the mausoleums were covered by a platform arranged as a covered courtyard called a triclia. In the 4th century a basilica with a nave and two aisles was built above the earlier structures and surrounded by mausoleums. It was here, near where the Apostles Peter and Paul were venerated, that St Sebastian was buried. He was a soldier martyred during the persecution in Diocletian’s reign (284-305). When he was finally discovered to be a Christian, in 286, he was handed over to the Mauretanian archers, who pierced him with arrows;  he was finally killed by the blows of a club and his body was thrown into the Cloaca Maxima. He miraculously appeared to the matron Irene who collected his body and carried to the catacombs that bear his name. His cult became so popular that in the 5th century a crypt was excavated around his tomb. The basilica was altered in the 13th century then rebuilt in the 17th century for Cardinal Scipio Borghese. The new church was built above the nave of the previous building.
The tour of this catacomb, which has second-century pagan tombs along with Christian chapels, will take you down a staircase studded with pieces of sarcophagi with imperial seals. Underneath the church, you’ll see an area with three decorated pagan tombs with some very attractive frescoes and a floor mosaic. It is believed that both Christian and pagan funerals were held in the elaborate central chapel, the vault of which has acanthus and lotus-leaf stucco decorations. The Chapel of Symbols has early Christian symbols carved in it. Up another staircase is a dining room for funeral banquets. The graffiti date back to the second century.


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See also

Culture and leisure › Historic places of worship › Catholic Churches
Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Archaeological heritage
Last checked: 2023-03-08 13:05