The Catacombs of Saint Sebastian

starting from 14
  • Duration: 30 minutes
  • Priority access
  • Mobile Ticket
  • Photos and filming not allowed

What to expecct?

  • Visit the acient catacombs
  • Learn about the history of customs related to the burial of Romans and Christians
  • Skip the line and don't waste your time

A place of spiritual pilgrimage

The catacombs are a place of spiritual pilgrimage, a powerful experience and at the same time a romantic reverie on the passing of time. In fear of epidemics and according to custom the Romans buried their dead outside the city walls: along the Via Appia, stretch the tombs of Romans, Christians and Jews, and, for the less wealthy, the catacombs, whose multi-level galleries and niches (loculi) form a labyrinth carved into the tuff.
Christians and Jews buried bodies, while Romans cremated corpses and deposited ashes in urns. Embalmed or shrouded bodies of Christians were placed on rock shelves, placed under marble slabs in the floor or in family crypts.

The Catacombs of San Sebastiano were used as a burial pagan place, then at the end of the 2nd century, they were transformed as a Christian Necropolis dedicated to the Saints Peter and Paul. Only in the 4th century did the catacombs take the current name which derives from the name of the Saint placed here after his death (298). They are the only Roman catacombs to which access has remained permanently open over the centuries. They had four underground floors, the first of which was almost completely destroyed. There are three mausoleums in part of the catacombs from the 2nd century. They belonged to well-placed people.

The young Sebastian had preferred to suffer the tortures of the arrows rather than abjure the Christian faith, but not having died, he had challenged the Emperor Diocletian as soon as he had recovered his strength. He had him taken to the Palatine Hippodrome where he was killed with a stick and his body thrown into the Cloaca Maxima. He miraculously appeared in a dream to the matron Lucina, who mercifully collected his mortal remains and carried them to the catacombs that took his name. Originally the cemetery was called “ad catacumbas”, that is near the graves. Earlier there were pozzolana quarries existing on this area. The toponym “catacomb” was then extended to indicate directly the Christian underground cemeteries.

What is included?

  • The ticket includes a guided tour of the Catacombs with internal staff
  • Booking and management fees

Available options

  • Languages available for guided tours: English, Italian, French, Spanish, German

Price reductions

Reduced tickets

  • Minors aged between 7 and 16
  • Groups of students from primary and secondary schools and institutes (7 to 16-year-olds)
  • Archaeology, Architecture, Art History and Cultural Heritage students up to the age of 25 upon exhibiting the required certification
  • Men and women of the clergy, nuns, seminarists and novices upon exhibiting the required certification

Free tickets

  • Children up to the age of 6
  • Disabled visitors and chaperones
  • Students of the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology (upon exhibiting the card issued by the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology)
  • Priests and nuns of the Religious Community of Custodians of the Catacombs. Teachers, university tutors and catechists accompanying a group (one free entrance for every 15 paying visitors)
  • Groups of 35 or more visitors paying full price can benefit from two free entrances
  • Tourist guides with valid licence and researchers who provide documentary proof of their studies may apply for free entrance with the Pontifical Commission of Sacred Archaeology.

Meeting Point

To remember

  • Given the specific nature of the sites, there are specific limitations for disabled visitors
  • We recommend visitors to wear shoes appropriate for an ancient often uneven surface and, according to the time of year, clothes appropriate for underground temperatures
  • No photos or filming in the Catacombs
  • No smoking inside the monuments