Domitilla Catacomb, one among the largest catacombs in Rome, is spread out into about 17 kilometers with galleries laid out on four levels, with a total of around 15,0000 bodies buried underground.
The Catacomb extends largely along the ancient Via Ardeatina, part of the properties of Noble FlaviaDomitilla who was the niece ofNoble Flavio Clement. As part of the ancient history, Flavio Clement had a great sympathy for the Christians of that time which forced Emperor Domitian to condemn him to death in exile for religious antagonism along with his wife and niece Domitilla. Nevertheless,before they were forced into exile, Domitilla generously donated her properties in Via Adreatina to the Christians for burying their dead, which eventually became the largest underground cemetery in Rome.
Nereo and Achilleo, who were two Roman soldiers massacred during the persecution (304 A.D.) of Emperor Diocletian, are the two most venerated martyrs buried in Domitilla Catacomb. Once these Martyrs were buried underground in the Catacomb, during the Papacy of Pope Siricius (384-399), as part of renovation, a majesticapsis was built around the tombs of these Martyrs with a narthex subdividedwith aisles of pillars.
Another nucleus, which is very ancient belonging to the second century A.D., is the gallery of the hypogeum of Flavi which was originally private and pagan in nature. From the 3rd century, Christians were buried in this hypogeum with Biblical sceneries drawn on the tombs. The cubicles of Venaranda, of the twelve apostles, and the cubicle of Diogene are also part of a guided visit.
Domitilla Catacomb is the only Catacomb in Rome, among the Catacombs open to the public, which has an underground Basilica open to the pilgrims. This Basilica was constructed towards the end of the fourth century under the pontificate of Pope Damasus I (366-384 A.D.) and is dedicated to Saint Petronilla who was buried underground beside the tombs of the Martyrs Nereo and Achilleo.
Visiting this historical place gives one the possibility to know better the various aspects of the lives of the Christians of the first centurieswho lived here – the aspects of their faith in Christ, their hope in the resurrection and life eternal. The testimonies of the early Christians through the ancient centuries are seen in the fragments in the loculiand in the frescos in the galleriesshowing their closeness to God in faith and their cults.
In the Basilica underneath, as well as in the chapels underground in the Catacomb, Holy Eucharist can be celebrated or other prayers conducted. When a group registers a visit, it is enough to mention whether it includes a Holy Mass/prayer service. The Basilica can contain at one time about 300 persons for a celebration.
From Monday to Sunday:
from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and
from 14:00 p.m. to 17:00 p.m.
(The last guided tour begins 30 minutes before the closure, both in the morning and in the afternoon)
An entry ticket for an
adult is: 8,00 €
For children between the age of 5 to 15 and for student groups from schools/colleges accompanied by teachers,ticket costs: 5,00 €
(with a recommendation letter and a list of the students). The admission fee includes a guided tour in the Catacomb and a free visit to the museum.