The catacombs of San Callisto, known for more than two centuries as the Church of Rome's cemetery, contain the tombs of ... More
Catacombe di San Callisto
The catacombs of San Callisto, known for more than two centuries as the Church of Rome's cemetery, contain the tombs of nine popes buried in the Crypt. They extend over approximately 20 kilometers on four floors. Strangely enough, the tomb of Callisto I, martyred in 200 while celebrating a mass in Trastevere, is not to be found here. The most visited sites are obviously the papal crypt and Santa Cecilia's sepulchre. These places were accidentally discovered by the scholar Giovanni Battista de Rossi, who entered a vineyard and noticed two unusual structures; one was converted into a farmhouse and the other was used as a wine shop and contained bottles of wine. Acquiring the land with the consent of Pope Pius IX and starting excavations, he found some relics, which led to the final discovery of the entire complex. Admission: EUR 5.
My classmates and I visited in March 2004, and this was one of the places I enjoyed most. Guided tours are offered almost every half hours by people who can answer your questions or refer you to the proper source. Inside the catacombs remain a few frescoes and a fountain form which fresh spring water flows. This is an excellent site, especially for those who can appreciate art and church history.
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