Domitilla's Catacombs in Rome, Rome Catacombs, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome Catacombs Tour, Tour of Rome Catacombs, Underground Rome Tour

Visit Rome’s Catacombs for Free(!) on October 12th

October 12th, 2019 marks Rome’s second annual Catacombs Day. This year’s Catacombs Day is the second ever – and what a treat it is for any visitor to Rome! Nearly all of Rome’s Catacombs will be free to enter.

Not only that, but some areas of the Catacombs which are normally closed will be open for one day only, like the Basilica of St. Tecla and the Museum of the Tower, with statuary from the San Callisto Catacomb.

So, grab a comfortable pair of closed-toe shoes and a sweater (trust us, it gets cold down there!) because we’re going to tell you about all the Catacombs which are open, on Rome’s second annual Catacombs Day.

Rome's Catacombs, Rome Catacombs Tour, Tours of the Catacombs

Life After Death

Each year Rome’s Catacombs Day has a special theme. Last year it was an exhibition of St. Paul, and this year, the theme is ‘Life After Death’. The idea of resurrection in heaven and other visions of the afterlife will be explored through the story of Jonah.

Infamously, Jonah was swallowed into the belly of the whale. His tale is one of forgiveness – life after death can also mean life renewed by repenting sin. Jonah’s story is one that most fascinated Early Christian Rome. Depictions of his trials and tribulations are all over the Catacombs; which is why he inspired 2019’s theme.

If you’re an Italian speaker who wants to know about Jonah and the Catacombs, look into the brochure and specially selected readings.

Free Entry to Rome’s Catacombs

On every other day of the year, expect to spend when you visit these Catacombs – but not on Rome’s Catacombs Day! Enjoy free access to all the below sites and discover Rome’s underworld.

San Callisto

You can visit Rome’s most famous Catacomb for free on October 12th, 2019. These Catacombs were named after San Callisto, a Pope of the 2nd century. Nearly all 3rd century Popes can be found inside these Catacombs alongside some of the earliest examples of Christian art.

San Sebastian

The Catacomb of San Sebastian was the first to be known as a catacomb, or catacumbas in Latin, which literally means ‘place of the hollow’, because of its proximity to a tuff mine. As well as being, quite literally, the original catacomb, San Sebastian is also famous for its 2nd-century tombs, Chapels, frescoes, wall-carvings, and mosaics. Any art lover would enjoy a visit to San Sebastian.  


Rome’s Catacombs of Domitilla was the largest underground Christian century in the world for much of late antiquity. Today, it’s the only Catacomb in Rome that still contains bones!

What makes the Catacombs of Domitilla so fascinating is how it also accommodates pagan bodies. Expect to see early images of Christ crucified alongside a casually louche Bacchus. If you choose to visit for free, keep your eyes peeled for the earliest depiction of the Last Supper – otherwise, join us for a tour!


If you’re looking for a series of crypts with a distinctly maternal vibe, Rome’s Catacombs of Priscilla is for you. Priscilla was known as ‘the mother of Catacombs’ in the 3rd century because it was founded by a woman, run by nuns and is home to the earliest representation of the Virgin Mary.

Sant’ Agnese

In these Catacombs, you’ll find the burial place of St. Agnes, a young saint who was martyred at the age of 12. Tortured to death in various horrible ways – accounts differ, but some feature vein piercing, throat-slitting, beheading, and other terrors – his cult spurned fascinated devotion in the Early Christian world. Constantine was said to be a fan.

Saints Marcellinus and Peter

The Catacombs of Saints Marcellinus and Peter are quite small by Rome’s standard; they only accommodate 15,000 bodies. Marcellinus and Peter were martyred here during Diocletian’s persecution of Christians. Legend states that these Catacombs marked the place Marcellinus and Peter were forced to dig their graves with their own hands.

Saint Pancreas

The Catacombs of Saint Pancreas aren’t too flashy, but never mind – it’s the perfect Catacomb experience for a minimalist. Admire the carefully crafted architecture of the underground cemetery and walk around the lovely Villa Doria Pamphili park afterward.

St. Lawrence

Admire the Catacombs of St. Lawrence, resplendent in beautifully rich artwork and labyrinthian rooms, stretching for miles. Constantine loved this saint and there are the ruins of a 3rd-century basilica dedicated to him on this site. A perfect choice for a visitor staying in Southern Rome.

Domitilla's Catacombs in Rome, Rome Catacombs, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome Catacombs Tour, Tour of Rome Catacombs, Underground Rome Tour

Free Tours Of Exclusive-Access Regions of the Catacombs

You can normally visit these areas of the Catacombs on appointment only – and hope you’ll get in! But on October 12th, 2019, you’ll be able to visit these areas in small tour groups. Just make sure you email [email protected] in advance.

Museum of the Tower and Crypts of Lucina

Learn about the Christianization of Rome and admire marble monuments taken from the San Callisto Catacombs in the Museum of the Tower and Crypts of Lucina. Admire pagan sarcophagi alongside Early Christian marblework.

Museum and Catacomb of Praetextatus

See some of the best examples of Christian sarcophagi in the Museum and Catacomb of Praetextatus. Enjoy some great classical marblework too – including a fascinating arch depicting the myth of Achilles and the Hunt.

Catacomb of St. Tecla

The Catacombs of St. Tecla keep it simple. Admire a small, early 4th century Christian Basilica, and the burial place of St. Tecla – who we know absolutely nothing about! Admire the 22 chambers of the Basilica, adorned in beautiful red Roman frescoes.

Museum of Domitilla and the Fornai Region

Hold onto your hat – the Museum of Domitilla promises some fantastic Early Christian artwork and history of Rome’s Christianization. The perfect way to complement a visit to the Catacombs of Domitila.

Hypogeum of the Aureli

The Hypogeum of the Aureli promises a fascinating experience of Late-Roman history. Visit the tomb of the Aureli, a wealthy family of freedman – former slaves. Admire the lower floor’s beautiful frescoes with scenes from Greek mythology.

Domitilla's Catacombs in Rome, Rome Catacombs, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome Catacombs Tour, Tour of Rome Catacombs, Underground Rome Tour

Rome’s Catacombs Day

There you have it! If you have a passion for Early Christian history, then you’ll know where you’ll be on October 12th. Discover the secret Rome, lying below the city streets, rich in history, eerie tales, and remarkable Early Christian artwork.

by Annie Beverley



Breast Cancer Awareness Month October 2019

Roma Experience Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The aim is to spread awareness about breast cancer, encourage self-examination among women, to raise money to beat breast cancer and support those who are suffering.

For all of October, Roma Experience will donate a portion of our sales on the website to the Susan G Komen Foundation, a charity which researches breast cancer cures and cares for those suffering.

Breast cancer awareness is a cause particularly close to the Roma Experience’s team’s heart, because of the personal experience of our business development partner, Robert Pardi. Rob’s wife suffered from breast cancer and, sadly, lost the battle 10 years ago. Rob wants to support people undergoing breast cancer treatment and research which is seeking to cure this disease.

“When my wife was first diagnosed back in the late 1990’s, it was very rare for a 30-year-old woman to have stage 3 breast cancer”, says Rob.  “I was told her outlook was bleak, but thanks to continued research and discoveries funded in part by organizations like the Susan G Komen Foundation, my wife lived a high quality of life for 11 years after her diagnosis.  I am so thankful that my company is taking a stand against this disease with me.”

This October, Roma Experience will do our bit to fight breast cancer.

Who We’ll Give To

Breast Cancer Awareness Ribbon

We’ll give to the Susan G Komen Foundation, a cause close to the Roma Experience Team’s Heart because of how they supported the wife of our business development partner, Robert Pardi.

The Susan G Komen Foundation fund screenings throughout America (212,324 women were screened last year, thanks to their initiatives), provide care for those suffering and conduct innovative breast cancer research. Rob is so grateful for how they helped him, and now he wants to give something back – with your help.

Every tour you purchase on our site in October will help support the Susan G Komen Foundation in their awesome work.

Breast Cancer Globally

Each year, 1.38 million women worldwide are diagnosed with breast cancer and 458,000 people die. Women are more likely to suffer from breast cancer than any other form of cancer. The majority of breast cancers (an astonishing 80%) occur in women over 50.

Unfortunately, there is still no definitive answer as to what causes breast cancer. That’s why early detection is so crucial to treat the disease. When breast cancer is detected in good time, in a country where diagnosis and treatment are readily available, there’s a strong chance a sufferer will experience a full recovery. In the cases where breast cancer is detected too late, palliative care is often the only option.

Over half of breast cancer deaths (269,000) each year occur in countries in the developing world. Often, this is because women do not know how to self-examine and health care is inaccessible to them.

How to Self-Examine

Woman Holding a Huge Pink Bra with Bras in the Background
Make sure you check your breasts!

Most breast cancer awareness campaigns in the developed world focus on self-examination, because in countries where health care is accessible, early diagnosis is what makes the biggest difference in beating the illness.

Britain’s CoppaFeel! Campaign has been one of the most effective at drawing attention to the need for self-examination.

They advise women to look and feel to get the best assessment of their breasts:

  • Look for any changes in the texture of the skin, be it rippling or dimpling.
  • Feel for unusual lumps, bumps, or any thickening.
  • Look to see if there’s any discharge from the nipple or crust around it.
  • Look and see if nipples have changed direction or position.
  • Feel for persistent pain localized in armpit or breast.
  • Look for swelling in your armpit or near your collarbone.
  • Look to see if size or shape have changed.
  • Look for rashes on the breast or nipple.

 It’s advised that women perform a thorough examination every month, looking and feeling for the symptoms above.

To perform a thorough breast exam:

  1. Stand in the mirror and visually assess breasts
  2. Raise your arms and see if breasts have changed
  3. Feel your breasts while lying down, using the opposite arm to feel each breast
  4. Feel your breasts while standing or sitting straight up.

If you look or feel for the above symptoms, and follow this step-by-step guide to breast examination, you have a good chance of catching the cancer before it advances.

Give Something Back

Roma Experience put passion and creativity into the business of tours, which is why we want to give something back. Cancer can inflict terrible pain on bright and brilliant people, and we want to help lessen the burden. For every tour that’s bought in October, we’ll donate a portion of the profits to charities which help fight breast cancer.

by Annie Beverley