Sites and Museums with Catacomb-Related Material
Vatican Necropolis below Saint Peters Basilica
Visits to the "scavi" require an advance booking by fax or e-mail addressed to the Ufficio degli Scavi, Fabbrica di San Pietro specifying the dates possible for the visit, languages spoken by those interested in participating and a contact number in Rome in order to confirm the date and time of the visit. It is best to book well in advance for visits during peak tourist seasons and holidays. The price per person is L. 15.000: guidebooks are available for 10.000 at the ticket office at the entrance to the excavations. Visits last for roughly an hour and fifteen minutes: the tour ends in the confessio of St. Peters. The restoration of the necropolis for the Jubilee 2000 has recently been concluded.
Excavations below the central nave of Saint Peters in the years 1940-1949 revealed part of a Roman necropolis which had spread over the Vatican hillside during the Imperial period. Debate over the interpretation of graffitti scratched onto a red-painted plaster wall in the area of the apostles shrine cannot detract from the important archaeological discovery of a well-preserved street lined with brick mausolea and surface tombs. Some of these family tombs close to the monument marking Peters grave were early adopted for Christian burial. The site and visit are visible testimonies to the the devotion to Peter, the apostle of Rome, through the centuries.