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 1643 Customer Reviews

Loved the history and the small group.
This was certainly worth it....amazing!
Andrea was great! He was very knowledgeable. Hard to believe so much history exists under the streets of Rome!

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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This was my second tour with Walks of Italy. Thea Julia was an extraordinary guide! Her knowledge of the subject was superb. She had a playful style of disseminating the facts and details around the places visited. I would welcome another tour with her. She made it interesting, fun and was always open to answering any and all questions. A great tour - I highly recommend Thea Julia and Walks of Italy!
Andreea was FANTASTIC! Very knowledgeable, friendly and entertaining. The tours were fascinating and his commentary added so much great historical context and interesting stories. He had great energy and did a great job of keeping a "dark" tour exciting and light. He also gave us a great recommendation for gelato following the tour and we returned to the place twice - best we had in Rome! We really appreciated how he made sure that all the guests saw everything and heard everything. He spent extra walking time engaging with our 12 year old and helping her relate to the history and engage with the tour. Amazing tour, amazing guide. Thank you!
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Loved the history and the small group.
This was certainly worth it....amazing!
(No comment)
Andrea was great! He was very knowledgeable. Hard to believe so much history exists under the streets of Rome!
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Absolutely wonderful tour. Best guide. We had on our tours. Will recommend!
Our tour guide was fantastic and so knowledgeable. Our driver was also great!
Kylie was extremely knowledgeable and approachable. Made the material understandable but still exciting. Well done!
Rhianne is a very good guide and It was a good walk in the catacombs of Rome. Thank you.
Julia made the subject very interesting! She was great.
Excellent tour. Interesting and guide was extremely knowledgeable
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This was an amazing experience. I would highly recommend it to anyone. Barbara was very knowledgeable and passionate about the subject, she did a terrific job
The trip was well organised and very informative, as well as good fun.
Really good and enthiastic guide!
She was very nice and funny. A 5 star rating
Valerio was an excellent guide for this tour.
This tour was worth every cent! Interesting & just the right length - our guide was very well informed and engaging.
(No comment)
Our tour guide is extremely knowledgeable and gave a very great presentation
Well planned tour with an engaging and knowledgeable guide! I would definitely recommend to others and, if my stay were longer, would book again with this agency. Grazie!
We really enjoyed our tour / the tour guide was excellent!
Our guide was great - knowledgeable, engaging and entertaining. Super interesting tour!
Our guide was very knowledgeable and pleasant, and we enjoyed the tour very much! We will recommend this tour to friends and acquaintances traveling to Rome.
Barbara was an excellent guide. We had a great tour. Thank you.
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Rianne (not sure of the spelling) was an exceptional guide, and made this tour come alive for us. She clearly showed deep understanding and passion for the history and subject matter, and we are glad to have taken this tour. Thanks! Joel
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Marta? Was incredible. A wealth of knowledge. Just great.
Excellent tour and guide. Would have liked to explore in the catacombs a bit longer :)
Enjoyable tour. Guide engaged our 10 year old grandson who thought the entire tour was cool not creepy! The fellow who initially greeted us at the meeting place was also very helpful.
Shannon, our guide, was very knowledgeable and the tour was truly interesting.
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Marta was a knowledgeable and friendly guide during this tour. She provided extra background information that was so appreciated by my group. Learning the strange histories of the many Catacombs was so interesting.....her enthusiasm and love of Rome and her history showed. Our only negative was the fact that we were left at the last stop quite a distance away from the starting point.
Melanie was absolutely amazing. Her love for histroy was infectious, and we ended up wishing the tour was longer because of it.
Rebecca was a most informative guide, she had a wealth of knowledge on Ancient Rome archeology and made everything very easy to understand, her ability to keep the group involved by asking questions meant that the group was always engaged.
Great tour, guide was fantastic. Great knowledge and humour as well.
Great tour for the history and the guide was great at overall acclimation to Italy. Shannon gave a great recommendation for dinners and places. Wish we would have talked to her earlier in our trip.
3 tours was pretty exciting, as these are things we have never seen before. Or heard of before. When she went around the corner underground, there was a lot of static. Not sure if there is anything you can do about that, but it was annoying to listen to and we missed out on a lot of info. We enjoyed her however and she was very knowledgeable. Shannon I think her name was? We would recommend this tour to do once in your lifetime.
Superb tour. He brought it to life!
Very well organised tour with a marvellous guide. Marta was a very engaging, knowledgeable and charming guide. Her presentational skills are perfect for the situation; her spoken English is faultless and her voice is very comfortable to listen to.
Melanie was outstanding. I left a longer review on trip advisor.
Melanie was a delight to have as a tour guide. Not only was she knowledgeable about the subject matter, she was passionate about what she was talking about. We have been on many tours and this time we traveled with our young adult children, ages 23 & 21, and they both said, "hands down", the BEST tour ever! Thank you Walks of Italy for having such a great team. It makes such a big difference in our experience, and mostly in our desire to use your company again in our future travels. The Velazquez Family