This group of tours is recommended to pilgrimage groups or people with a particular interest on the history of the Christianity. With this particular focus in our tours, we will review the main steps and phases of the spreading of the Christian religion in the Pagan Roman Empire.
Three tours are recommended in this perspective:
As we mentioned in our home page Rome derives its present pattern from the underground layers. The Imperial Rome was built on the Republican one, the medieval was built on the Ancient, and the present city is built on the ruins of all its history. The result today is that wherever you want to dig in our city, you may bet you’ll find some roman ruins.
Our tour is designed to give you some evidence of this unique situation. TheCatacombs are cemetery that were totally built underground, where you can see not only tombs, but also crypts, altars, fresco decorations, chapels, and they bring us back to the age of the irruption of Christianity into the Pagan world. We will chose one catacomb along the Appian way.
In the area of San Clemente we descend 60 ft. below the present street level, and at the same time we go back to the middle of the first century AD, and as we climb back to the surface we came back to our time. This fascinating site is really enlightening for the urban history of the Eternal City.
4 Major Basilicas
There are only four churches in the world that may boast the “Holy Door”, an important symbol related to the celebration of the Jubilee, and they are all in Rome: St. John in Lateran, St. Paul outside the walls, St. Mary Major and of course St. Peter in the Vatican. These are among the oldest Christian churches still existing, being all established between the 4th and 5th century. They are the only 4 in the world to have the Holy Door, this important symbol connected with the ceremonies of the Holy Year. They all have very important relics preserved inside. They all are an important museum as well, each one preserving an incredible collection of mosaics, marbles, stucco decoration, paintings, coffered or stucco ceilings, statues both in marble and bronze that cover in total more than 15 centuries of art history.
This is an amazing itinerary both by a religious and an artistic point of view. On one side we go back to the spread of Christianity in the culture of the pagan Roman Empire and follow its evolution and traditions up to our era. On the other side we may admire artworks that cover more than a millennium of art history.
Moreover, being these basilicas located in 4 totally different areas of Rome, you get also acquainted with the history and town-planning of the city as you drive by with our expert Tour Guide and expert driver.
Given the importance of these basilicas, the complexity of their structure, the number of works of art on display, and the distance one from the other, this is the only tour that should be considered at least 5 hours long.
We enter in the Papal state to admire some of the beauties of one of the most interesting museums of the world and pass among some of the most famous sections like the Candelabra gallery, the Tapestry Gallery and the Gallery of the Maps.
Then we will enter in one of the most celebrated masterpieces in the world art history: the Sistine Chapel, the palatine chaple wanted by Pope Sixtus IV with the famous frescos by Michelangelo.
We will the proceed to the Basilica of St. Peter, the biggest church of the world where, among 400 statues another masterpiece by Michelangelo is on display : the Pietà.
We’ll end our tour in St. Peter’s Square, where the weekly papal audience take place and where you may take a picture of the famous “papal window” on the façade of the apostolic palace.
San Clemente and the complex of S.S Giovanni e Paolo
Explore two of Rome’s many underground buildings and literally “get in touch” with the unique architectural stratification of this city.
Only at San Clemente is it possible to see first-hand the layers of almost 20 centuries of history in the ground itself. The monument is the result of three superimposed buildings, erected one on top of the other: 11 meters underground lie two Roman buildings dating from the 1st century A.D., subsequently transformed into a Mithraic temple; above it, an early Christian basilica was built in the IV century A.D.; and then the Medieval church, still in use today, was erected in 1108. Our tour continues with the complex of a Roman house below the church of S.S.Giovanni e Paolo. The patrician house dates back to the III and IV centuries A.D. and consists in many rooms and an indoor garden. Recently restored and open to the public, the house offers a fascinating tour through the depth of an ancient city.
Duration of the tour: 3 hours
You can add an extension to the Christian Catacombs: Our tour is designed to give you some evidence of this unique situation. The Catacombs are cemeteries that were totally built underground, where you can see not only tombs, but also crypts, altars, fresco decorations, chapels and they bring us back to the age of the irruption of Christianity into the Pagan world.