ROME — Via Appia Antica

Via Appia Antica which was first laid down in 312 BC is found in the southern part of Rome and the main attraction here are the Catacombes where the early Christians of Rome buried their dead. In Roman times it was illegal to bury the dead within the city walls so early Christians had to dig tunnels to bury their dead. These tunnels were used in later times as places to hold secret meetings where Christians could worship together and hide important relics of their religion. The Catacombes are quite a distance from the city centre so you will need to catch a bus.
For information about the buses visit the website at http://www.cotralspa.it/ENG/TrovaPercorso.asp

The sights you will find in this area include:
Basilica & Catacombe di San Sebastiano
Catacombe di San Callisto
Catacombe di Santa Domitilla
Circo di Massenzio

Basilica Catacombe di San Sebastiano

Basilica & Catacombe di San Sebastiano
These catacombs are the only ones which remained open over the centuries and were the first to be called catacombs. As well as touring the underground passageways you can visit the Basilica di San Sebastiano found above them. This tour includes something a bit different: three pagan Roman tombs decorated with frescos and architectural embellishments.
To find out more information on all the catacombs visit the website at http://www.catacombe.roma.it

Catacombe di San Callisto
The Catacombs of St Calixtus are very extensive and are the most famous of the catacombs. There are five underground levels (though you will not see them all on a tour) and many miles of tomb-lined galleries. Some early popes were buried here, and the tour also visits the spot where St Cecilia’s body is said to have been found before being removed to the church dedicated to her in Trastevere. There are some early frescos of Biblical stories.

Catacombe di Santa Domitilla
These catacombs are the largest and oldest in Rome, stretching for about 17 kilometres and containing some Christian wall paintings. You will also find an underground early Christian basilica dedicated to two Christian martyrs, Nereo and Achilleo (St Nereus and St Achilleus) who were buried here.

Circo di Massenzio

Circo di Massenzio
This is one of the best preserved of Rome’s ancient racetracks. It was built in AD 309 and gives you an idea of what the Roman circuses looked like. You can see the towers at the entrance; the spina, the wall that divided it down the centre; and the vaults that supported the tiers of seating for the spectators. The obelisk you now see in Piazza Navona was originally found here.