While there are dozens of catacombs throughout Rome, only five are available to the public. There is also a crypt full of the bones of friars from the church.
Out of the five catacombs open to the public, the Catacomb of San Callixtus is considered the biggest and the most toured. While it may not necessarily be the best, you get a lot of rich history and art throughout the 12 miles or so of tunnels.
Additionally, though not technically a catacomb, the Crypt of the Capuchin Friars is also very popular as it contains many bones and bodies of friars buried under the church. This may be the best and creepiest of all the underground tunnels to visit in Rome.
How Many Catacombs are There in Rome?
Rome has over 60 catacombs and underground tunnels. However, out of all of these catacombs, only five are open to the public.
The five open to the general public are:
- Catacombs of San Sebastiano. These catacombs are 7.5 miles long and are located in Via Appia Antica, 136.
- Catacomb of San Callixtus. These are about 12.5 miles in total and are located in Via Appia Antica, 110/126
- Catacombs of Priscilla. These are located in Via Salaria, 430.
- Catacombs of Domitilla. These are located in Via Delle Sette Chiese, 280, and have more than 9 miles of space.
- Catacombs of Saint Agnes. These are located in Via Nomentana, 349.
How Long Do Tours Last?
Most guided tours last for about three hours. They are usually open all year round, but only on certain days.
For the busier part of the year, which runs from April to October, the tours are available every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They are only on Wednesdays and Sundays for the rest of the year.
Some tour companies run every day and other hours. Even tour options are available at night if you want a spookier experience and don’t want to get with a large group.
Most of the time, the tours are available in English, though Spanish and French are also possible. Additionally, the tours generally start at 2:30 PM. You can expect to pay around $56 per person, though kids under two are free, and ages three to seven are about $51.
Which Catacombs in Rome have skulls?
While it isn’t technically considered a catacomb, the underground area in Rome with skulls and other bones is the Capuchin Crypt. It is technically considered a museum, specifically the Museum and Crypt of the Capuchin Friars.
It is located beneath the church Santa Maria Della Concezione dei Cappuccini. There are bones from over 4,000 different people in the crypt, specifically of friars that used to be a part of the church.
It is best to go when it isn’t as popular, such as around lunchtime, while other people are eating. Thankfully, the queues are not often very busy, though they are growing in popularity. You can also buy tickets online to reserve a day.
Which Catacombs are the Most Popular?
The Catacombs of St. Callixtus (also known as the Catacombe di San Callisto) are Rome’s largest and most visited catacombs. Guided tours are available in a few different languages and are very informative.
The catacombs are also located next to other historical Christian sites, such as the Quo Vadis Church and ancient Roman tombs. The Vatican manages the site to help spread history and awareness.
Not only are the catacombs full of history, but there are still burial nieces, frescos, statues, and more. To get a tour through these catacombs, you can expect it to take about 45 minutes.
When is the Best Time to Visit Catacombs?
Visiting the catacombs at night is one of the most fun and spooky times to visit the catacombs. This is usually less busy and consists of smaller groups.
Plus, there are usually more specialized tours at this time that goes into a little more depth and into areas you can’t always see very well during the day. So it feels not only spookier but a little more intimate and educational.
However, going in the morning or right around lunchtime is also a good option. This is because it is usually less crowded at those times as people are still waking up or are busy with food rather than going on tours.
Final Thoughts on Which Catacombs In Rome Is Best
While the catacombs in Paris are the most well-known, the ones in Rome are also well worth visiting. They are full of centuries of history, bones, and art.
While you can’t go without a tour, the tours are frequent, educational, and interesting. Not only will you learn how the catacombs are constructed, but you will learn about the history, art, and people left in the underground graveyards.
While tours are available throughout the year, some times and months are busier than others. Nighttime tours are more intimate and personal but may be harder to get booked. If you want the best time, early morning or lunchtime is usually a good option.