Catacombs of Rome?

Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 08:34 AM
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Catacombs of Rome?

What is the best way to see the Catacombs of Rome? Is it best done by signing up for a formal tour, or is it just as effectively done on your own? If any of you have done a tour, can you recommend a good tour company. If I should do it without a tour company, what buses or transpiration is recommended. If I take a bus, what line goes to the catacombs and where is the best location to catch the bus from? Also, about how far out of central Rome are they located and how much time should I allot during the day for a visit there? I was in Rome about 5 years ago and didn’t get a chance to see them, I hope to be able to do it during my visit this coming spring.

Thanks for all your help and suggestions, Kent
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 08:57 AM
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I've only been to the catacombs of San Calisto in Rome, and took a bus from in front of the church of San Giovanni in Laterano. We had not prearranged a formal tour, but I took the one-hour (approximately) tour of the catacombs offered by the staff themselves. The tour consisted of a group of about 20 and was well worth it. If, of course, you are hoping for a more in depth explanation, you might opt for a personal tour.

I also hear that the bus that runs to the catacombs (I'm not sure exactly which one) is noted for having pickpockets on board, so do be extra cautious.

Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 09:00 AM
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Both offer tours in small groups with native English-speaking guides, mostly young American students. Enjoy Rome has a catacombs walk listed on their website (go out by bus). I have not taken it, but I took their evening walk in Rome and enjoyed it.

Scale Reale is an excellent group, not really a tour guide but more of a cultural organization. Their guides are primarily US grad students doing work in art, architecture, etc. I thought the guides were superior to Enjoy Rome, but it sometimes a personal thing. The do not have a catacombs tour currently offered, but you can send them an e-mail and ask. I can heartily recommend their tour of the Vatican and the Forum/Coliseum.

Check this thread for other suggestions, try "Rome walking tours".

Hope this is helpful. Have a great trip.
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 09:31 AM
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We took the bus to the Catacombs and found the experience worthwhile. I believe we went to St Callixtus but cannot be sure. Check out the three most popular and the bus routes at:
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 10:56 AM
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The catacombs are located on the Via Appia Antica, starting about 3km from the Porta San Sebastiano in the Aurelian Wall. You can take the bus at San Giovanni Laterano, but they run infrequently, especially on weekends. I would take a taxi there and possibly a bus back. The guides at both the catacombs of San Callisto and San Sebastiano are very good. I prefer the catacombs of San Sebastiano as they are usually not as crowded as San Callisto, they have some of the finest examples of ancient roman tomb architecture and graffiti, and the church of San Sebastiano above the catacombs is one of the "seven churches" of Rome for pilgrims to visit. If you visit just one catacomb, you can complete the visit in about an hour. There are also the catacombs of St. Agnes on Via Nomentana and Priscilla on Via Salaria which are very interesting and not crowded.
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 03:35 PM
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Kent: Do a "Text Search" for Archeobus it's a hop-on/hop-off hourly tourbus. Besides the Catacombs it visits other Via Appia Antica sites.
You hotel will probably have pamphlets on it so if you decide to take it check them for more up to date info. Regards, Walter
Old Dec 3rd, 2002, 06:34 PM
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I second the Archeobus on/off tour.What a deal-it will take you all the way out to the aqueduct.There is a tour guide on the minibus but her English is entertaining! There is however a great detailed brochure.We picked it up at the train station but there are numerous stops to get on before the bus heads out to the catacombs.We even did lunch out there before returning to the center of town.There is a web site for Archeobus tours and the other on/off Rome bus tour.Neither one is very well advertised but the best deas in Rome!
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 12:44 PM
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Thanks for all your responses. I checked out information on the web about the Archeobus and it sounds like that's the way to go.

Regards, Kent
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