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

EXTENDED TOUR DESCRIPTION

VISIT THE BEST, LEAST-VISITED ROME CATACOMBS.

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.

WITNESS ROME’S STRANGEST SIGHT – A CRYPT LINED WITH THE BONES OF 4,000 MONKS.

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.

STEP BACK IN TIME AT OUR ALTERNATE 'LASAGNE CHURCH'

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

Included

  • 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

Reviews

5-stars from over 1751 Customer Reviews

Amazing! Excellent guide.
The guide was particularly good, very knowledgeable, passionate and a good storyteller.
Marie was terrific. The remains of the faithful are a sensitive subject and she explained everything with respect, illumination and appropriate humor.

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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Amazing! Excellent guide.
The guide was particularly good, very knowledgeable, passionate and a good storyteller.
Really loved the tour and our guide was great! My only thing is that it was a little long. The last stop of the church was interesting, but seemed a bit much and not totally related to the rest of the tour. In terms of ease of booking, the website was wonderful. We will definitely use Walks of Italy again!
Marie was terrific. The remains of the faithful are a sensitive subject and she explained everything with respect, illumination and appropriate humor.
Fascinating tour with the best guide ever!
Absolutely loved this tour!! Our guide, Laura was so knowledgeable!! Thank you
Andrea was great! Funny and knowledgeable about history and the monks. Highly recommend this tour.
Andrea was great! Funny and knowledgeable about history and the monks. Highly recommend this tour.
Very well done!
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Excellent tour. Our tour guide was exceptional. Also, our tour of the Colosseum at night was excellent, and our tour guide was also exceptional. I would highly recommend your company/tours without hesitation.
We very much enjoyed Thea Julia! She was a funny, engaging, and really wonderful guide. I would wholeheartedly recommend her to our friends.
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Great guide!
Marta was very knowledgeable and passionate about Roman history. She really made the tour; not just her knowledge but her personality. We really enjoyed her company
Andrea was a fantastic tour guide, and perfectly suited for such a fascinating tour. Thank you!
Excellent tour guide, great attitude and was able to answer all my random questions (including food questions) I have already recommended this tour to friends
Julia was a terrific and knowledgeable guide. She did an excellent job of not only leading us through and explaining what we were seeing, but also setting it in the cultural and religious context of the times. We signed up for this tour at the last moment after hearing people on our previous Walks tours recommend it. We are glad we did and would recommend it to anyone else (who isn't creeped out by bones, that is!)
Great tour. The first stop was by far the best stop. We had to hustle at the last stop because of a church service. Andy was terrific and told great stories.
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We had a great time, and Shannon even gave us a fun lunch recommendation nearby for after the tour.
Barbara was a wonderful guide! She brought great enthusiasm and detailed knowledge to our experience. She painted vivid word pictures. It was a great tour -- one we've already talked about with several friends.
Really fascinating and excellent tour. Only us and one other couple. Guide very knowledgeable and helpful.
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This was one the most fascinating experiences! I have already been recommending this to people.
Marta was fabulous and so knowledgeable about what we were seeing and the events leading up to. She was very personable and answered all our questions and more! Great tour!
A most amazing tour and Leonardo our guide was a pleasure to listen to and made the experience even more memorable. Thank you walks of Italy and Leonardo.
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Great tour - The Catacombs and the Crypts were off the beaten track and very interesting. Our tour guide had a wonderful manner of presentation and was able to share her knowledge in a very concise and interesting way.My husband and I totally enjoyed this tour. Walks of Italy always provides an enjoyable and valuable experience.
My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this walk! He keeps saying it was the highlight of our trip to Rome, and I have to agree. Julia was extremely knowledgeable, very funny, and very engaging when teaching us about the various death-related things of the morning. As an aside, I have lots of anxiety in general, and being down in the catacombs was bringing me pretty close to a panic attack, but I have (and was using) my own methods of staving it off. What I most appreciated was Julia not bringing attention to it. I'm 10000% sure she saw me pacing and twiddling my thumbs and watching the exits and making sure I knew how to get out of there, but she just kept on keepin' on and let me do my thing while she kept giving great information. Even through my anxious state, I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and learned a lot, and like I said above, my husband LOVED the whole thing and thinks it was the best part of our trip to Rome. We're only sad we did the tour on the last day, or else we would have done more guided Walks of Italy!
This was our fifth tour with Walks and once again, you did not disappoint! Andy was so knowledgeable about what he was showing us. He kept us captivated and entertained, interacting with the different personalities and ages on the tour with humor and interesting information. Thank you for another great walk!
Everything perfect!
Giulia was outstanding ! At the same time accurate historically and very enterataining. It was a very educational and fun experience! I learned a lot and in an exciting and extremely interesting way.
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Roberta was an excellent guide, very professional and thorough in her descriptions. We enjoyed the entire tour.
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Great tour. We enjoyed it.
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Great tour, and even better tour guide.
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This was another excellent tour. Please send me information about your tours in Barcelona’s.
Thea Julia was absolutely brilliant. The amount of knowledge she possesses about Ancient Rome was staggering. She answered people questions with thorough complete answers again and again. Wonderful experience. I would definitely recommend your company to others and also tell people to ask for Thea Julia by name. What a bright and interesting experience she provided us with. Thank you! Everett York
AWESOME!!!
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