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Rome Catacomb Directions

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I have always advocated taking the 'Archeobus Tour' to these sites because it was so easy. But it seems that Archeobus has downsized it's fleet and cut back on it's trips plus it now leaves from Termini. Also I have read a few negative posts about them in the last couple of years.  When they left from the Piazza Venezia it was an easy location to get to plus they could exit the city fairly easy. Now from Termini they will have more traffic to get to the sites plus they have added stops within the city (Piazza Venezia, Mouth of Truth) before venturing out to the Via Appia Antica.
  Add to this a later starting time 0945 (in the past it was 0800 in peak season & 0900 in the off-peak) and the cost of 8e, it's just not worthwhile anymore.
  And one poster mentioned getting stranded due to a breakdown and when I was waiting for a bus at the same Termini bus island (Mar'05) as them one of their buses was broke down (I only saw 1 large bus and 1 small bus and they were closed). Also on that Saturday their last bus left at 1255, possibly due to a large Peace March taking place that afternoon.
 When just 15m below their Termini ticket office and bus stop there is the Metro (and then bus) to the Catacombs for a R/T of 2e. It seems to me to be a better do-it-yourself option and you would *really* have to try very hard to get lost following my directions:).  

Ok, I'm a slow walker so take that into consideration when I mention time-to-distance.
Also this is a *very easy* daytrip but I am very detailed (obsessively:) in my directions, so don't let that throw you off.   In a nutshell you can get there just by these directions: Take Metro Line A towards 'Anagnina': Exit at the 'Colli Albani' station: Just outside the station take the #660 Bus to the last stop 'Cecilia Metella' (it u-turns in a rural area) get off and follow signs to 'Catacombe'.

Ok, these are the *official* closing days of the 3 Catacombs which are posted on signs at the site. Note they might be different from what your guidebooks say also I'm not sure if the alternating month long winter closings of the Catacombs are still in effect, nothing was mentioned of it on these new signs.
CATACOMBS OF: St.Domitilla-Tuesday:
San Callisto-Wednesday: San Sebastiano-Sunday. OPENING TIMES: 0830-1200 & 1430-1700 So they close in the afternoon for 2.5hrs that is for certain but the opening times I've used are from a guidebook but I'm sure they are still basically accurate (S. Sebastiano might be open until 1730).

 For a timeline, I walked out of my Termini area hotel at 0830 and was at the closest Catacomb (S. Sebastiano) by 0930.

There are other buses from Rome that go out to the Catacombs also. But this Metro/bus connection is foolproof and easy to follow, if ya get lost I'll personally refund your 2e for the tickets :).

DIRECTIONS: Take 'Metro Line A' towards/direction 'ANAGNINA'.
Get off at the 'COLLI ALBANI' stop.
  Now if you take any of the station exits to the street it will put you a stone's throw from the bus stop but these directions will put you *right there*.
  In the station after you pass thru the exit barricades (next to the entrance ticket turnstiles), you have a choice of a right or left exit to the street.
  GO RIGHT and up the stairs: Now you have a choice of another left/right exit. GO LEFT the exit sign will say 'Via Ariccia'.   As soon as you hit the sidewalk LOOK LEFT and you will see a 'Bus Sign' 20m away. It is on the middle bus island which all have a small roofed waiting area with a sitting bench.   Walk over to the sign and it will list the 660 BUS. The nice thing is this is where this bus originates from and you want it's last stop (Cecilia Metella). So you're at 'Point A' and you are going to 'Point B' and on the return it's Point B to Point A. So it's almost impossible to miss your stop, the bus takes at break a Point A and U-turns at Point B.

Ok now board the 660 bus. You are in a city area (8 story apartment houses, shops, bus traffic), the bus will continue thru busy traffic areas (red lights, commercial bldgs, but more open).   The bus will then turn down a narrow street which is now a rural area (tree and bush-lined, fenced & walled) completely different from what you just left, you will notice it.
  At the end of this rural street the road T's. This is the last stop and he must stop there, the driver will either make a hard U-Turn and pick-up people waiting at the bus stop on the otherside of the street or if no one is waiting he might just stop and let people off and then U-turn and go back the way you just came.  There are Catacomb signs at this 'T' and it will be where any other tourists on the bus will get off. Either way this is the only U-turn this bus will make and that's where you get off :).

When you get off you'll see the 660 bus sign for your return and also the Catacomb signs with an arrow.
  So at the 'T' you'll walk down the street on the right which is signposted to the Catacombs.
  It's a straight shot to the San Sebastiano which will be on the left after a 12min walk.

[But 1st from this bus stop in ~250m you will pass the "Tomb of Cecilia Metella' an interesting site (ya can't miss it:) but not worth 6e IMO unless you have the 22e Rome 'Aeologia Card' which includes this site. It's open from 9-4 and has a w.c./toilet downstairs, it's *probably* closed on Monday.
  Then in ~200m you'll pass the 'Circus of Maxentius' on the right. Smaller than the Circus Maximus and somewhat intact. Open 9-1 and under 3e. The 'Tomb of Romulus' is still closed-off at this site but no big deal, in the past you could only walk around it anyway.
  I believe the scant ruins just past the entrance and alongside the road are of family tombs which lined the Via Appia in ancient times. Also remember this road from Rome to Capua was once lined with with 6000 crucified prisoners who surrendered after the Spartacus Slave Revolt.
  There is also a restaurant on the otherside of the street between the Cecila Tomb and the Circus and also one across the street from the S. Sebastiano Catacomb, also there is a small cafe at the bus stop.
  Just before you get to the S. Sebastiano Catacomb there is a bus stop on the left for the #118 Bus, I haven't taken it but I noticed it has 2 stops at Metro stations (which will get ya back to Rome proper) and 1 stop at the Baths of Caracalla (Terme di Caracalla).]
 
Ok, so after a 12min walk (remember I'm slow walker:) from the bus stop you arrive at the San Sebastiano Catacomb on the left (can't miss it). IMO of the 3 Catacombs this one is the best, of the other 2 IMO it's a toss-up for 2nd place. Do some research and decide which one you would like to visit if you must make a choice.   BTW all the Catacombs have w.c./toilets that you use with or without a ticket to the site. Which reminds me I believe it's 5e for each of the Catacombs and they all have gift shops:).

 Now continuing on: Right next to the S. Sebastiano is a street that does lead to the 'Catacombs of St. Domitilla'. But unless you have a deathwish don't take it, it's easier and safer to cut thru the park.   But anyway St. Domitilla is farther away and the next closest Catacomb is San Callisto.

 So at San Sebastiano continue in the same direction you were heading from the bus stop. As you cross that street I just mentioned you will see an archway with a large yellow sign for the 'San Callisto Catacombs 500mts'.
  This archway is only 30m from the S. Sebastiano Catacomb, so you can't miss it.
 Walk along the tree-lined road in the park until you come to a crossroad turn left and in 40m that's San Callisto Catacombs. Signposted and you'll see and probably hear it (PA system and the tourists:) even before you get to the crossroads. You wouldn't miss it, you'll see the tours buses just after the crossroad.
  It's an 8 minute walk from Sebastiano to the Callisto Catacomb.

 Now if you keep walking thru the Callisto Catacomb complex on that same crossroad/same direction you will exit the park. There will be a street below you, look 45deg to the right and across that street and you will see a sign pointing to the St. Domitilla Catacombs. And if you look right and far down that street in the distance you will see a large yellow sign which is the Catacomb entrance.   It was also an 8 minute walk from Callisto to the Domitilla Catacombs.

 So in total the walk from the bus stop and past the Sebastiano and Callisto Catacombs to the farthest Domitilla Catacomb is 28min walking slow.
 Bottomline just follow the signs and you will have no problems from the bus stop.

p.s. I do not advise walking or biking from the 'Porta San Sebastiano' (a gate in the ancient Rome city wall) to the Catacombs. It's a very narrow road with no sidewalks and fast moving traffic. But this road is closed to traffic on Sundays and is an excellent walk or bike route then.
  The Via Appia Antica from San Sebastiano Catacomb outwards and past the bus stop is fine for walking or biking anytime though.

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