Rome catacombs facts


Rome catacombs:facts and history about the catacombs. Among the places that should not be missed during a visit to Rome there are definitely the catacombs.


Among the places that should not be missed during a visit to Rome there are definitely the catacombs, a web of tunnels and underground environments rich in history and charm. Let’s have a look…

It had long been customary to place the ashes of the dead in columbaria, literally “dove cotes”. These were sometimes private possessions, as in the well-known “Tomb of Virgil” at Naples. But the greater number were public. The early Christians, however, repudiated the funeral urn, and sought a quiet spot where to lay their dead, “in sure and certain hope of the resurrection.” That they were occasionally taken advantage of prior to those days for the purposes of burial, is evident from the pagan inscriptions found here and there in them but probably the Roman world knew little of their existence, and less as to their extent.

Rome catacombs:the entrances

The outlaws of society – vagabonds and thieves – hid in them, and kept the secret of their labyrinthine windings. The entrances were principally in gardens, where the thin crust of earth having fallen through, trees and rank underwood growing up had so far concealed the opening with a wild luxuriance, that few knew of its existence, and fewer still cared to descend and penetrate into the gloom. The Catacombs spread in almost every direction outside the walls of Rome.

The passages or galleries in them crowd together in some places like the alleys and streets of a city, intersecting one another in a network of endless entanglement and confusion, so that attempting to explore without a clue, you are soon effectually lost. Perhaps the most interesting are those known as the Catacombs of St. Calixtus.


Rome catacombs: facts and history