We’ll combine with you the sites depending on your preferences and needs, considering the opening hours of each place.
Basilica of Saint Clement and its undergrounds
Our tour will start with the Basilica of San Clement, the most important underground site of Rome. Nicknamed by locals the “Lasagna church” because of its many layers of history, allow us to go on a real journey back in time visualize the evolution of the city from the pagan past to the Christian present. Will go down …. Feet below the ground to explore a pagan temple dedicated to the mister cult of mitra, where only male initiates would have met in secret to do their rituals. Then we’ll see the remains of a Roman House and even what probably was the mint of imperial rome.
Learn about the trouble transition of the city from pagan to christian, that led to the burial of this structures to build a Christian church dedicated to Saint Clement, the third pope, who’s remains were brought back to Rome from the Black Sea where he had been martyrized. Going trough the remains of the older church you’ll see some of the oldest wall paintings and inscriptions visible in the city. Hear the story of how the old church was destroyed by the Normans during the sack of Rome and a new one was laid on the remains of it, in the 12th century. Be amazed by the most beautiful and well preserved mosaic of Rome, featuring Christ on the cross surrounded by the tree of life, so shiny that it looks like painted with light.
Catacombs of Priscilla
The next stop of the tour will be the Catacombs of Priscilla: the most important early Cristian burial site of rome due to the quantity on artwork still visible and the presence of the tombs of three popes. We’ll go trough a maze of underground tunnels dug in the volcanic soil of the city almost 2000 years ago to bury the remains of the first courageous Cristians of the city, learn about their life, funeral rituals and about the persecutions they had to suffer before their religion was fully recognized. Enjoy wall paintings depicting biblical stories and Cristian symbols dating from II and III century, like the very first depictions of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus and the Annunciation.
The Roman houses underneath San Giovanni e San Paolo
A real jewel of the city, incredibly unknown by most visitors.
Under the medieval church of San Giovanni e Paolo was uncovered an incredible archeological complex including two ancien roman houses whose many rooms (including a garden with pool!) are decorated with frescoes and mosaics.
Legend has it that in one of these rooms Giovanni and Paolo, commanders of the roman army were martyrized for their christian faith: their remains were buried under the house that later became a pilgrimage site for the growing Cristian community.
Crypt of the Capuchins
Known as one of the “spookiest” site in Rome: underneath the Capuchin friary (a reformed branch of the Franciscan order) of Rome lies a Crypt where the remains of about 3000 friars who died between the 17th and the 19th century were assembled in an “artistic” way to create a very bizarre decoration for the several burial chambers: their bones were arranged to form different objects and decorative patterns throughout six chapels named after the tipe of bone most used in it. We’ll go so trough the Crypt of the Skulls, the Crypt of the Leg Bones, The Crypt of the Pelvises, etc. and thank to the expert guidance of your guide you’ll hear the backstories and insight to get the real message of the thing, summarized in the plaque that welcome’s you that goes “What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be.”