Sunday, October 3, 2010

Incantato Tour Sight: Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome

The Catacombs of Rome are ancient catacombs, or underground burial places under or near the city, of which there are at least forty, some discovered only in recent decades. Though most famous for Christian burials, they include pagan and Jewish burials, either in separate catacombs or mixed together. They began in the 2nd century, as much as a response to overcrowding and shortage of land as they were to satisfy the need for persecuted Christians to bury their dead secretly. The soft volcanic tufo rock under Rome is highly suitable for tunnelling, as it is softer when first exposed to air, hardening afterwards. Many have kilometres of tunnels, in up to four stories (or layers).
The large and impressive Catacombs of Domitilla (named after Saint Domitilla) spread over 15 kilometers (9,3 miles) of underground caves. The Domitilla Catacombs are unique in that they are the oldest of Rome's underground burial networks, and the only ones to still contain bones. They are also the best preserved and one of the most extensive of all the catacombs. Included in their passages are a 2nd-century fresco of the Last Supper and other valuable artifacts. They are the only catacombs that have a subterranean basilica; entrance to the catacombs is achieved through this sunken 4th-century church, at via delle Sette Chiese 280. In the past, the basilica had become unsafe, and was abandoned in the 9th century. It was rediscovered in 1593, and much of it was reconstructed in 1870. In the beginning of 2009, at the request of the Vatican, the Divine Word Missionaries, a Roman Catholic Society of priests and Brothers, assumed responsibility as administrator of St. Domitilla Catacombs.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely post on Rome! You make my heart to go back to Italy ! You have a stunning blog ! I have always dreamed of visiting Italy!
    I would love to enjoy Catacombs Tours in Rome!! Thanx for sharing excellent informations.
    ................................................................................
    Rome Skip the line tours

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