Catacomb of Callixtus

Rome, Italy

The Catacomb(s) of Callixtus is one of the Catacombs of Rome on the Appian Way, most notable for containing the Crypt of the Popes, which once contained the tombs of several popes from the 2nd to 4th centuries.

The Catacomb is believed to have been created by future Pope Callixtus I, then a deacon of Rome, under the direction of Pope Zephyrinus, enlarging pre-existing early Christian hypogea. Callixtus himself was entombed in the Catacomb of Calepodius on the Aurelian Way. The crypt fell into disuse and decay as the relics it contained were translated from the catacombs to the various churches of Rome; the final wave of translations from the crypt occurred under Pope Sergius II in the 9th century, primarily to San Silvestro in Capite, which unlike the Catacomb was within the Aurelian Walls. The Catacomb and Crypt were rediscovered in 1854.

The underground cemetery includes several areas. The area of the Popes is the most important and venerated crypt of the cemetery, called 'the little Vatican' as it was the official burial place of nine popes and, probably, of eight dignitaries of Rome's 3rd century Church. In the walls you can still see the original inscriptions, in Greek, of five popes. On four tombstones, near the name of the pope, there is the title of 'bishop', since the Pope was regarded as the head of the Church of Rome, and on two of them there is the Greek abbreviation of MPT for 'Martyr'.

Passing through imposing galleries full of loculi, we reach five small chambers, truly family tombs, commonly known as the cubicles of the Sacraments, and particularly important for their frescoes.

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Founded: 2nd century AD
Category: Cemeteries, mausoleums and burial places in Italy

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4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rares Flueras (2 years ago)
Amazing experience overall. Worth the trip and the money. The guide was very friendly and helpful. The presented history was interesting. The sorounding atmosphere was very relaxing. Definitely recommended to be checked out if you are in Rome.
phil jannotti (2 years ago)
Loved the history of this place. Once the tomb of several Popes and the crypt of St Cecilia. Our guide was such a wealth of knowledge and so friendly. Over 1/2 a million people buried here.
Robert Knecht (2 years ago)
Wonderful and interesting place to visit and take the guided tour. They offered it in 4 languages (English, Spanish, French, and German). Our guide was very good and provided some interesting information. The tour was about 45 minutes long and according to the guide it is a limitation due to the environment as there is active volcanic outgassing occurring. he demonstrated this to us by adding me rub my hands along the walls and then you can definitely smell sulfur residue. you are not allowed to take any photos or videos of the underground catacombs. Overall fascinating history. The catacombs were excellent and so were the grounds. They take pride in the gardens and were having new planting occurring. The restrooms were very clean and well maintained.
Rex D (2 years ago)
They are very adamant about not taking any photos while you are in the catacombs, so the only photo I got at the site is of the very large water closet sign, with a beautiful background that shows some of the beauty of the above ground portion of the site. The catacombs were interesting to see as a marvel of human engineering, and the history around them. But I'd sort of hoped for something a bit more macabre. I'm told that's at a different catacomb site. It's still a pleasant stop.
Elizabeth Halverson (2 years ago)
Intriguing sensory adventure. Too much religion injected into the tour guide presentation. Just the right length of time (45 minutes). Be a good tour member and keep up with your group! Fascinating to learn of the reasons catacombs were created and used for so long. Take a bike tour and stop at this site -- efficient, avoids multiple trips outside of Rome's ancient center
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