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Typology: Catacombs


Address: Via Appia Antica, 136
Zone: Quartiere Appio Pignatelli (Roma sud)
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Telephone: +39 06 7850350
Fax: +39 06 7843745
Web site: www.catacombe.org

Opening times

Monday - Saturday
from 10:00 to 17.00
Last entrance at 16.30

closed: on Sunday, 25 December, 26 December, 1 January


Full: €8.00
Reduced: €5.00

Children from 6 to 15 years of age;
Students in school trip, with a letter of introduction;
Soldiers and security forces.

Free Entrance:
Children under 5 years of age;
People with handicap (>75%); 

Booking requested for group and school (min. 15 persons) at:
info@catacombe.org or fax number 067843745.

No reservation required for single visitors.

Guided tours are in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish.


» 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.

N. B.
Booking is required for the Mass in the Catacomb (max 30 people) or in the Church. In the booking form you must specify: number of people, language, date and arriving time, visit and Holy Mass or only visit.


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» Multilingual guided visits
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For more information

Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Archaeological heritage

See also

Culture and leisure › Cultural heritage › Archaeological heritage
Culture and leisure › Historic places of worship › Catholic Churches
Last checked: 2018-05-15 9:48