Walks of Italy

Walks of Italy
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Crypts, Bones & Catacombs

Key Details

  • City: Rome
  • Duration: 3hrs
  • Start Time: 2PM & 9AM

Tour Highlights

  • Visit the quietest and most impressive of Rome's Catacombs in a small group - so you can hear your guide!

  • See it for yourself: The eerie 'Bone Chapel', covered in the bones of 4,000 friars.

  • Discover just how deep the history of Rome goes at a multi-layered (multi-purpose!) Ancient Roman temple/prison/Basilica.
Rome catacombs Rome Catacombs Tour Dig a little deeper - explore Rome underground Includes luxury transport - and an expert guide See a real coat of arms at the Capuchin Crypt The skeletons of Franciscan monks, Capuchin Crypt



There are miles of ancient Christian Catacombs under Rome but most companies visit the same one. We go the extra distance to visit the best and quietest of the Rome catacombs, the Catacomb of Santa Priscilla. One of Rome's first underground Christian cemeteries (dating back to 150 years before Christianity was legalized), this site has extraordinary ancient frescoes, eerie tunnels and the world's single oldest depiction of the Virgin Mary.

For such a unique and touching experience, we’re not going to hand you off to a guide you don’t know. Instead, our guides are chosen from the elite few who have permission to take you into the depths themselves, so you’ll keep your handpicked Walks of Italy tour guide and your small group of only 15 people or fewer, rather than merging with a group of 20 or 30. Anything bigger, and in the narrow tunnels, you can’t even hear your guide. Forget headsets, they don’t work underground.


The Roman catacombs are pretty cool but we visit another site that could be even better – the Capuchin bone crypt, a cemetery literally built from bones! The chambers are decorated with the remains of some 4,000 friars. For kids, it’s a fascinating lesson in anatomy and for adults, a moving reminder of what we’ll all become. The message at the end of crypt says it all: “What you are now, we once were. What we are now, you will be.” Strangely enough, the monks didn’t intend the site to be a morbid one – but you’ll learn all about that from your expert guide when you visit one of Rome’s most memorable sights.


This tour previously visited Basilica San Clemente but, as the crowds grew, the experience diminished. Today we've found a better 'lasagne church' (so-called for their many layers) with few, if any, tourists. Like Basilica San Clemente, our new spot, the Basilica of San Nicola in Carcere, is a voyage both below ground and back in time, but this basilica is so much more historically important. It was built in the 10th century on the site of three temples dating back to the first century BC, which themselves were at the heart of an Ancient Roman fruit and vegetable market dating to the 4th century BC. Much of the original temples, including their marble columns, were built into the structure of the existing basilica but left exposed, so when you visit today you can literally descend through the levels of time.

Basilica San Clemente may boast the opportunity to see a street from the 1st century AD, but in San Nicola in Carcere, your end point is the very center of 3rd century BC Rome in the midst of three separate temples. To get there, you'll descend through a crypt used in the 12th century for exorcisms, passing stacks of ancient human bone fragments. As you walk your guide will tell you stories from the basilica's own fascinating history, including its stint as a Medieval prison. And best of all, Walks of Italy groups will likely have the place to themselves.

With comfortable, air-conditioned transport throughout, you won’t have to worry about coordinating metros, buses and private transport from one site to the next. On rare occasions, two groups may share a bus but at all the sites, small group sizes of only 15 people or fewer mean you can ask all the questions you can think of (great when traveling with curious kids). Our guides are handpicked not just for their knowledge, but also their enthusiasm and engagement, so they’ll be happy to answer any questions you can throw at them.

Take a walk with us as we peel back the many layers of Rome, uncovering secret stories of Christian persecution, strange religious practices and the multi-layered history of Rome.

Sites visited

  • One of the least-visited Roman Catacombs
  • The Capuchin Crypt, aka ‘The Bone Chapel’
  • Basilica San Nicola in Carcere


  • Transport between sites in an air-conditioned minibus
  • Admission to all sites
  • Expert Walks of Italy tour guide
  • Small groups of 15 people or fewer


5-stars from over 1547 Customer Reviews

Shannon was very knowledgeable and an awesome tour guide. We were lucky to have her as our guide. The tour is excellent. A must see while in Rome.
We loved the catacombs tour. We’ve taken about 4-5 tours in Rome, Venice and the last one on Monday from Florence to Tuscany. We’ve had a great time and they’ve all been great! Rianne was awesome.
Loved it, very knowledgable and helpful guide

Important information

Before you travel, please read our important notes about possible disruptions & site entrance requirements

We advise our clients that San Nicola, which is the last site we visit, is subject to closure during special celebrations/festivities, including the Easter ceremonies. If this occurs during your visit, we will run an alternative itinerary including other sites. End point in this case may vary, however it will always be centrally located. We are unable to provide refunds or discounts.

Sites on this itinerary include holy places, and attire must be appropriate for the visit. Both men and women are asked to wear clothing that covers at least the shoulders and knees. Walks of Italy cannot be held responsible for denied entry due to improper dress. It is sufficient to bring extra coverings with you and put them on before our entrance to the holy areas.

Photography is not allowed in the sites visited on this tour, due to their religious nature.

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Leonardo was great!
Shannon was very knowledgeable and an awesome tour guide. We were lucky to have her as our guide. The tour is excellent. A must see while in Rome.
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We loved the catacombs tour. We’ve taken about 4-5 tours in Rome, Venice and the last one on Monday from Florence to Tuscany. We’ve had a great time and they’ve all been great! Rianne was awesome.
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Loved it, very knowledgable and helpful guide
Wonderful guide!!!!
This experience was not originally planned during our trip. So glad we added it -- amazing to view and the guide was extremely knowledgeable.
Wonderful tour guide. So much information and very sweet. would recommend to anyone.
Shannon has to be the best guide we have ever had! Wonderful! We have used Ealks before and every guide was excellent - but Shannon is the best of the best! Great tour!
Good tour , but felt it was a little rushed that's all .
Loved it all. Smart, funny, and enthusiastic guide.
I’ve done 5 tours with your company and have been 100% satisfied. Shannon was amazing. She was very informative and also provided us with information on how to find a good restaurant and the tricks behind tipping in Rome. I would definitely take a tour with her again. I’ve been impressed with how knowledgeable ALL your tour guides have been
Clear communicator, knowledgeable, excellent guide!
Shannon was great and very knowledgeable.
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Rhianne was fantastic and we cannot believe how interesting she was and enthusiastic as she must do this all the time. The tour was so good and if you go to Rome this is a must do.
Amazing and very knowledgeable guide
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My friends and I have enjoyed our time delving into the past and history of Rome. We couldn't have asked for more. The tour guide was most helpful and informative.
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Rebecca was fantastic with our kids.
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Marta was fantastic! It was such an interesting tour experience and she did a great job. I’d recommend her to anyone.
I emailed about the tour before booking and got a quick and helpful response. Martha our guide was brilliant you could tell she loved what she was talking about and made it so interesting. I plan to use this company again for tours when I go abroad to New York in the autumn.
Rhianne (?) was a fabulous guide. So knowledgeable and a lot of fun. We loved our tour and “Walks” is the best tour company we’ve ever been on. Well worth every penny! Thank you so much ch!
Barbara was an excellent guide and we enjoyed the tour! Educational and entertaining!
What a great tour. Rianne was awesome. We’ve taken 4-5 tours with walks of Italy and all have been great, but this was the best and most interesting. I have 2 teenage boys and this keep their interest throughout the entire tour. I would highly recommend this tour and Rianne.
Our guide was amazing. Very informative. Funny and easy to understand. We truly enjoyed our time with him !
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Great tour guide
She was a great guide - very enthusiastic and knowledgeable.
This was my favorite tour in Rome. Rebecca was an informative, enthusiastic and entertaining guide. The bus was clean and new! Will definitely use this company again on future tours.
Very interesting, not something you see everyday. Our guide was lots of fun, very knowledgeable! Really enjoyed being underground where it was much cooler during the hot hot hot weather!
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Great tour
Ahmed was a wonderful host and guide.
Melanie was great insightful and made the tour
Melanie was great insightful and made the tour
What a great tour! We took several tours in Rome and this was by far our best experience. Well organized, terrific guide with good English and very good information to share. Would definitely recommend!!
Very knowledgeable guide who was not presumptuous and did not make up answers to unclear questions (trust me, too many other guides have made things up instead of saying, "I'm not sure."). Fun tour!
Andrea was an excellent guide - very knowledgeable. The tour was very interesting - especially the first part seeing the bones of the Monks - and quite spooky too!
Easy to book, easy to meet guide, great tour with Andrea!
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