Many artifacts from the Roman catacombs are now housed in museums, churches, and private dwellings. These include:

Vatican City

Vatican Museums
Direzione Generale
Viale Vaticano, 100 - 00120 Città del Vaticano (Tickets online)
tel: +39/06/69884947
fax: +39/06/69881573

Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana
00120 Città del Vaticano
tel: +39/06/69879403
fax: +39/06/69884795
Library opening hours: 9-17 Monday-Friday

Vatican Museums Inventory Online:

There are several notable ancient Christian and Jewish collections of art and inscriptions in the Vatican Museums.

The Pio Cristiano collection (formerly the Lateran collection), established by Pius IX, contains Christian sarcophagi and epitaphs found during excavations in the catacombs and ancient churches in Rome; annexed to this collection is a small exhibit of Jewish epitaphs and funerary artifacts primarily from the Monteverde catacomb and the column capitols decorated with incised menorahs found at the site of the xenodochium at Portus (link).

The Museo Sacro of the Vatican Library displays artifacts from the catacombs in Rome and churches, including fragments of gold glass vessels and terracotta oil lamps with Christian and Jewish symbols. There are also other glass vials and bases, Christian medallions and pilgrims’ tokens, ancient and medieval reliquaries, small wax icons of the apostles Peter and Paul, and ancient textiles.

The Chiaramonti Collection organized by Antonio Canova for Pope Pius VI has a large number of Roman pagan funerary cippi and sarcophagi, many with interesting inscriptions from the 1st through 5th centuries CE.

The Vatican's Galleria Lapidaria (Lapidary) is not open regularly: it may be possible to visit the collection for study purposes by contacting the Curator of Epigraphic collections at:


Museo Nazionale Romano - Terme di Diocleziano
Via E. De Nicola, 78 - 00185 Rome
(T) 06/4882298
Open 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Closed Mondays)

The State collection of antiquities in Rome houses the Jewish "seasons sarcophagus", the Faustina sarcophagus, several other Jewish inscriptions as well as material from the Christian catacombs and other Roman-era tombs and cemeteries, including the chamber tombs from the Necropolis of via Portuense/via Quirino Majorana.
Special collections of the Museo Nazionale Romano:
Epigraphy Collection
Palazzo Massimo (Largo di Villa Peretti, 1)
Crypta Balbi (via delle Botteghe Oscure, 31):

Musei Capitolini
Piazza del Campidoglio 1 - 00186 Rome
(T) 060608

The Lapidary Collection in Rome's Capitoline Museums also has four epitaphs in Hebrew from a Trastevere Jewish cemetery of the Medieval-early Modern eras.  

Jewish Museum of Rome
via Catalana (Largo 16 ottobre 1943) - 00186 Rome
(T) 06 684 00 661; (F) 06 684 00 639
email: website:

The Jewish Museum provides multimedia exhibits in addition to its permanent displays, mainly of photographs, documents and liturgical objects in the possession of Europe’s oldest continuous Jewish community. The second room contains casts of many Jewish epigraphs from the catacombs of Rome and synagogue of Ostia Antica, plus an interesting 19th century forged inscription alluding to the story of the menorah in the Tiber. The gallery of ancient marbles in the outdoor atrium has mostly post-antique materials, but includes some cemetery stones and inscriptions from the ghetto's Cinque Scole.

Museo Archeologico della via Ostiense
Via Raffaele Persichetti, 3, 00166 Rome
T. +39 06 574 3193

Located within the Porta S. Paolo at the start of the via Ostiense, the small collection includes Christian artifacts and models of the archaeological sites of Ostia Antica and Portus by Italo Gismondi.


Museo Civico Archeologico di Velletri "Oreste Nardini"
Via Goffredo Mameli 4-6 - 00049 Velletri (RM)
T. 0696158268

Collection includes a marble panel from an early Christian tomb and the well-preserved "Sarcophagus of Velletri" with mythological scenes in monumental relief.


Museo Archeologico Lapidario
Piazza Duca Federico, 1, 61029 Urbino (PE)
T. 0722 2760

On display is the private epigraphic collection of Raffaele Fabretti (1619-1700), Custodian of the Holy Relics (and catacombs) of Rome in the late seventeenth century.


Museo Archeologico Nazionale at Naples
Piazza Museo Nazionale, 19, 80135 Naples
(T) 081.4422149
email:; (Archaeological Superintendency of Naples)

Ancient Jewish epitaphs from Rome and the Campania region.


Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Taranto (MARTA)
Via Cavour, 10 - 74100 Taranto
(T) 099 4 53 21 12
(F) 099 4 59 49 46

The State Archaeological Museum in Taranto houses artifacts from the Greek and Roman occupations of Puglia, as well as later Medieval/Byzantine material, including several Jewish inscriptions from tombs in and around Taranto.


Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Venosa
Piazza Castello - Castello Pirro del Balzo - 85029 Venosa (PZ)
(T) 0972.36095

Ancient and medieval Jewish artifacts, including epitaphs.


Museo Civico di Castello Ursino, Catania
Piazza Federico di Svevia - 95121 Catania
(T) 095 345830

The Town Museum for Catania, Sicily since 1934, the collection is particularly rich in Greek and Roman art, including Jewish inscriptions from tombs in the area of Catania/Eastern Sicily, and epitaphs and fragments of wall paintings removed in the 1700s from the catacombs of Rome.


Museo Archeologico Regionale "Paolo Orsi"
Viale Teocrito, 66 - 96100 - Siracusa
(T) 0931 489511
(F) 39 0931 489532
Google virtual tour:

Sector "D" contains artifacts from the Hellenistic and Roman periods.  Also on display is an inscription on gold leaf with Hebrew names of God and magic formula, discovered in Comiso.



Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder