• catacombecatacombe

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  • A trip that lets you explore the traditions and customs of anicent Romans, through the discovery of tunnels.

    The law of ancient Roma used to prohibit, for sanitary reasons, the burying of our dead inside the city.  The ancient streets were flanked by splendid sepulchre of the patricians, that in general were cremated and their ashes were preserved in urns.  The first Christians, instead, believing that their body had to be ready for resurrection, were buried without cremation in underground caves dug within the tuff.  Our itinerary has a visit to three of the largest and most important catacombs in the capital: that of San Callisto, San Sebastiano and Santa Domitilla, all situated in the Appia Antica area.  Specifically, the catacombs of San Callisto and San Sebastiano can be found inside the regional park of Appia Antica.  A green space of 3400 hectares, the regional park is a one of a kind treasure of biodiversity.  Just think that two species of fish have been found here: the spinarello and the rovella.  The presence of these two species is very important: particularly the population of spinarello is in sharp decline because the pollution of water has limited its habitat.  This gives you an idea of the good quality of the water here.  For those who enjoy eco-friendly biking, it’s possible to rent bikes and pass through 5 different bike paths to discover the most scenic corners of this natural treasure.  Alternatively, there are six walking paths and two naturalistic paths, where, thanks to the information panels, you can discover many things about the flora and fauna present here.  Many educational activities are organized by the park for young people.  Inside the park there are also different refreshment areas where you can enjoy typical dishes of the Roman culinary tradition with products that come from the park itself and get an opportunity to taste other eco-friendly products.  Take your bike and start the tour of the catacombs, starting with those of San Callisto.  The Catacombs of San Callisto date back to halfway through the second century.  Inside more than 500,000 Christians are buried, including dozens of martyrs and sixteen popes.  The catacombs of San Callisto occupy an area of 15 hectares and contain about 20 kilometers of underground tunnels, that descend 20 meters below the ground and are arranged in four or five levels, lined with niches (niches carved) which are arranged on two or three levels, one on top of the other.  For the safety of the tourists, recently the catacombs have been refurnished, there was an intervention to consolidate the area, that made the walls safer and restored the original pavement.  To make this structure safe they used natural fiber-reinforced materials, that have the particular characteristic to not impact the environment and reduce energy consumption.  Go ahead and reach the Catacombs of San Sebastiano.  Here you will find the first Christian tombs to be defined as “catacombs” a word that came from the name of the valley.  They have four levels of depth and inside some paintings, etched stucco and mosaics, dating back to the first years of Christianity can be seen very well  Exit the park and walk through Via delle Sette Chiese until you reach the Catacombs of Santa Domitilla (also known as the Catacombs of Santi Nereo and Achilleo): These catacombs, not very far from the previous two, are among the largest and most ancient ones.  It’s about 15 km of underground tunnels arranged on four levels.  They are well preserved and contain about 150,000 sepulchres.

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