Christian Catacombs in Rome
Although there are over fifty catacombs around the city of Rome, only a handful are open to the public. Those that are open have their own websites, though they all adhere to Vatican regulations on group size, guest behavior, and tour prices. Scroll down this page for the official websites of the open catacomb sites.
A large number of catacombs in Rome and similar (though generally smaller) archaeological sites in other parts of Italy are under the direct supervision of the Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church, the independent sovereign entity which determines their public accessibility, restoration, and conservation. The current arrangement between Italy and the Holy See for guardianship of the Christian catacombs of Italy are specified in the "Accord between the Holy See and the Italian Republic Modifying the Lateran Treaty (of 1929)" article 12.2: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/secretariat_state/archivio/documents/rc_seg-st_19850603_santa-sede-italia_it.html.
In a de facto arrangement from the late 1800's, formally recognized in the first Lateran Concordat or Treaty of 1929, several Jewish burial grounds in the form of catacombs were also in Vatican custody until the mid-1980's. These sites, notably the Jewish catacombs of Vigna Randanini, Villa Torlonia, and Venosa, today are jointly maintained through a unique partnership between Italy and the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI).
The Superintendent of Christian Catacombs for the Vatican is Prof. Fabrizio Bisconti (firstname.lastname@example.org). Click here for a list of all officers, members, and inspectors of the Pontificia Commissione di Archeologia Sacra (PCAS). Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi jointly presides over the PCAS and Pontifical Council for Culture.
Vatican Index of Catacombs and Funerary Basilicas and access to catacombs closed to the public (including the Via Latina/via Dino Compagni Catacombs, Hypogeum of the Aurelii, etc.).
Vatican regulations on photographing and filming in the Christian catacombs.
Bibliography of the Catacombs (via ICS BiblioSelect).
Link to PCAS documentary (English version) on the Catacombs of Rome (2002).
Arranging a visit
To arrange a visit to a catacomb under Vatican jurisdiction that is ordinarily closed the public, contact:
Pontificia Commissione di Archeologia Sacra (Secretary Mons. Pasquale Iacobone)
Palazzo del Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia Cristiana
via Napoleone III, 1 - 00185 Rome
T. (+39) 06.44.65.610 ; +39 06.44.67.601 ; fax (+39) 06.44.67.625;
email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org; modules (to request special openings): http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_commissions/archeo/italiano/documents/rc_com_archeo_doc_20011010_catacroma_it.html
Regulations for visiting the catacombs closed to the public (click here for forms):
The Pontificia Commissione di Archeologia Sacra (when conditions permit) arranges for students, scholars, and non-profit associations to access the catacombs in Rome normally closed to the public.
Visits to these sites must be for study purposes only, and not for profit. For this reason, non-profit associations only are allowed two visits per year for their members.
The PCAS secretary is the only authority who can grant permission to visit closed sites.
To access the closed catacombs, consult these rules and regulations.
Forms for the scheduling and payment of tours can be downloaded from the site "Catacombe aperte su richiesta/Catacombs Open by Request"
"Anonymous" Catacombs under Municipal or Regional Jurisdiction
Private or "anonymous" catacombs documented and preserved, whenever possible, by the Italian State, include the Catacomb of via Rovigno, the Hypogeum of Trebius Justus on the via Latina, the catacomb galleries added to pre-existing funerary monuments like the Tomb of Cecilia Metella, Tomb of the Scipios, Mausoleum of Lucilio Peto, and other sites that also do not appear to contain venerated Christian tombs or shrines. Catacombs used by Jews fall into this category, but are maintained in exclusive partnership with the Union of Jewish Communities in Italy. These sites are usually closed to the public, but may be possible to visit upon request.
Soprintendenza Speciale Archeologia Belle Arti e Paesaggio di Roma
Piazza dei Cinquecento, 67 - 00186, Rome
T. (+39) 06 480201
Sovrintendenza Capitolina ai Beni Culturali (City Archaeological Commission)
Piazza Lovatelli, 35 - 00186 Rome
(T) 06 6710 3238/3887
Websites for individual catacombs
Pontifical Academy “Cultorum Martyrum”
Palace of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology
Via Napoleone III, 1 - 00185 Rome
T. (+39) 06.445.58.33/
E-mail: email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
The “Cultorum Martyrum” Academy organizes liturgical celebrations of ancient Christian saints and martyrs at the sites in Rome where they were buried or where their relics are now kept.
Catacombs of Priscilla
Via Salaria, 430 – 00199 Rome
T. (+39) 06-86206272
Museum of Sarcophagi at Priscilla: http://www.mupris.net/museo.html
Google Street View of the Catacombs of Priscilla
Kahn Academy Video by Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker
Catacombs of S. Agnese & Mausoleum of Costanza
Via Nomentana, 349 - 00162 Rome
T. (+39) 06.86.20.54.56
Web: http://www.santagnese.com/ (parish); http://www.santagnese.org/
Catacombs of Domitilla
Via delle Sette Chiese, 282 – 00147 Rome
T. (+39) 06.5110342 – F. 06.5110512
3-D Laser Scan Model of the Domitilla Catacomb
Catacombs of Saints Marcellino and Pietro and Mausoleum of S. Helena
via Casilina, 641 – 00177 Rome
T. (+39) 06.2419446 – 339.6528887
Catacombs of S. Sebastiano
Via Appia Antica, 136 - 00179 Rome
T. (+39) 06.78.50.350
F. (+39) 06.78.43.745
Catacombs of Callisto
Via Appia Antica, 110/126 – 00179 Rome
T. (+39) 065130151 or 0651301561 – 06.51301511 (for group reservations)
F. (+39) 0651301567
E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Museum of the "Torretta" at the Catacombs of Callisto
via Appia Antica, 78, 00179 Rome
T. (+39) 06 - 513.01.51
Open on the first Sunday of each month from 10-12 and 2-4 p.m., or by appointment.
Catacomb of via Dino Compagni (Via Latina)
Contact the Pontificia Commissione di Archeologia Sacra (see above)
Google Street View of the via Dino Compagni catacombs
ICS interactive Map of the Catacomb of via Dino Compagni
Committee for the Catacombe di Generosa (monthly visits)
Via Catacombe di Generosa, 43 - 00148 Rome
T. (+39) 349.7930661
Catacombs of San Pancrazio
Via di S. Pancrazio, 5 - 00152 Rome
T. (+39) 06 581 0458
Catacombs of Sant' Alessandro
Via Nomentana 1291 - 00137 Rome
T. (+39) 06 41400216; 389 0297888
E-mail: email@example.com; SantAlessandro@VicariatusUrbis.org