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Catacombe di San Callisto

midwest
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Catacombe di San Callisto

We will be in Rome at the end of September for 2 and one half days. We will have a driver for one of those days that will take us to the Vatican and whereever else we would like to go. My question is how long does it take to get tp the catacombe from central Rome? Also the time to tour it. We are trying to decide it this is our best use of time with the driver or to go there via bus another day.

Thanks

St Paul, MN
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1. Re: Catacombe di San Callisto

it would depend on the traffic. Not more than 30 min. if someone is going to drive you there and you go on Sunday, have then drop you off or approach it on Via Ardeatina becaseu the Via Appia Antica is closed to traffic on Sunday.

Catacomb detail map

www.slowphotos.com/photo/showphoto.php…

Le Marche, Italy
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2. Re: Catacombe di San Callisto

I would go on a different day, because you'd have to pay the driver to wait for you. You can't know ahead of time how long he'd have to wait, because there are often a lot of people, speaking different languages, waiting for a tour in their own language. I once waited there for quite some time before the tour began. San Callisto is the busiest of the five Christian catacombs in Rome.

Rio de Janeiro, RJ
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3. Re: Catacombe di San Callisto

Just a suggestion: if you have a driver, why don't you go to Santa Priscilla's catacombes?

It is more beautiful and far less crowded than S. Callisto...

We did not have a good experience at S. Callisto: the guide spoke poor English, it was very crowded and we had to wait for quite a long time for the tour...

Le Marche, Italy
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4. Re: Catacombe di San Callisto

I agree with Drica. The Priscilla catacomb has never been crowded when I was there. There have been at most five or six people on the tour.

Priscilla wasn't a saint, though, just a rich Roman matron who sold some people the land on which to build a catacomb. There is a Jewish section in this catacomb, but the part you can visit is all Christian. I think there might even be some pagan tombs there. Most pagans were cremated, but around the time of the early Christian era, the trend was away from cremation and towards entombment. Catacombs were used because they were cheaper than building a mausoleum above ground. They were never used routinely for clandestine religious services, although sometimes a service might have been held at the site of a tomb.

Christians and Jews never used cremation, so they were the biggest users of catacombs. There are also some Jewish catacombs in Rome that can be visited, but they are not open on a regular basis. I've announced on the forum in the past when I've seen news of an available visit to a Jewish catacomb. For a while there's been talk of opening one of the Jewish catacombs for regular visits, but there's been some delay for safety reasons.

St Paul, MN
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5. Re: Catacombe di San Callisto

I am not sure if the end of Sept woud be crowded at St Callistus or not? I have only been there in Dec and in March. It was OK then. My guides have been good in English.

The Domitilla Catacombs that are off Via Ardeatine (see catacomb detail map) were less crowded than the St Callistus one and they were very beautiful (statues, frescoes, etc). The tour starts in the underground basilica of SS Achelius and Nereus.

Edited: 31 August 2012, 19:51
St Paul, MN
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6. Re: Catacombe di San Callisto

abour Domitilla catacombs

http://www.domitilla.info/

Le Marche, Italy
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7. Re: Catacombe di San Callisto

I would rank, for artistic value, the Domitilla (also not a saint) catacomb second after the Priscilla catacomb. For overall historic interest, the St. Agnes catacomb would be at the top of my list. None of these three is very crowded, but the Priscilla and St. Agnes catacombs have had significantly smaller groups than the Domitilla catacomb. (However, I've been to the Domitilla catacomb only once, but I've been twice to both of the others.)

The St. Agnes catacomb is the quickest and easiest to reach by public transportation.

St Paul, MN
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8. Re: Catacombe di San Callisto

The St Agnese catacombs are part of of complex that includes the churches of St Agnes outside the walls and St Constanza. They both have reaklly awesome mosaic inside and are very beautiful. I took bus 90 from Termni to visit there.

Virginia
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9. Re: Catacombe di San Callisto

We enjoyed the bus out to the Appian Way.

We actually started by taking the metro to the Cavour Metro stop. We got out, walked around the circus track some and up to the Aventine Hill to see the knights of Malta Keyhole. From there we walked down to the Baths of Caracalla where we stayed for about 45 minutes before walking down via porta di san sebastiano and catching the bus at the gates down to the S. Sebastiano bus stop. We took in some of the small museums along the appian way (tomb of cecelia, circus of maxentius, and visited capo di bove) and had lunch at a great place at the corner of via appia antica and via dell'almone.

We walked down the appian way some for about an hour, then walked back and stopped at the san callisto catacombs. It took about 15 minutes for the tour to start. The tour lasted 45-50 minutes. When we came out it was raining (very cool to hear the rain from below ground) and we got drenched waiting 30 minutes for the bus but eventually made our way back to Rome! :-)

One of our most memorable days.

I share that with you just to highlight what you can easily do in a day (not even a full day mind you) on foot and by bus. I'd save the driver for other things if it was me.

Edited: 02 September 2012, 18:12
midwest
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10. Re: Catacombe di San Callisto

Thanks so much for all the detailed messages. I really appreciate it! I think we might save the catacombes for a day that we don't have a driver based on all your comments.

Rome in 20 Days!!! So excited for our first trip to Italy!!