Popularized by the movie Indiana Jones, the Roman Catacombs
are ancient underground burial places underneath Rome and its outskirts (there are at least forty, some of them discovered only in recent decades). Those kilometers of underground cemetery are some of the oldest burial tunnels in the world. Situated just outside the city of Rome, the catacombs were created in response to a shortage of land for deceased’s remains. Today the narrow tunnels are eerily quiet but full of Roman history, including some of the best-preserved early Christian frescoes and sculptures. Some of the catacombs are well known and open to visitors, while others are still scarcely explored.
The rather gruesome, yet extremely interesting Catacombs of Rome are a very popular spot to visit in the city. A former underground burial spot, the catacombs date back to the 2nd century and were used mostly by Christians and Jews at the time. The use of catacombs ended in the fifth century, but you can visit today and explore the underground chambers. Throughout the entire city, there are 60 catacombs in total, but only five of them are open to public viewing, these are the Catacombs of San Sebastiano, San Callisto, Priscilla, Domitilla, Sant Agnese. It is a fascinating way to see a different side of Rome. The various catacombs all have different opening and closing times, but during the main summer season, when Rome is at its busiest, most of the sites are open from 9 am until 12 pm, and then again at 2 pm until 5 pm or 6 pm.