5 Must-visit Catacombs in Italy

Ishwari Pamu Jun 12, 2019
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Made up of endless underground passageways in a maze-like structure and rows of rectangular niches carved into the walls, catacombs are eerie and not-meant-for-the-squeamish, burial places used by the early Christians. Some of the best and the most haunting ones are in Italy.

Catacombs of the Capuchins, Palermo

The catacombs in Palermo are a tad bit unusual and are not an ideal place to visit for the weak-hearted and children. While burying, people used a special type of preservative that helped mummify a body. A few mummies still have their hair and clothes intact. The last burial took place in 1920, it was a small girl named Rosalia Lombardo.

Catacombs of San Gennaro, Naples

The origin of the Catacombs of San Gennaro dates back to the 2nd century AD and the entire catacomb is spread across two underground levels. The upper level preserves some of the oldest Christian paintings in Southern Italy.

Catacombs of San Giovanni, Syracuse

The catacombs of San Giovanni lie beneath the basilica of San Giovanni which was built in the honor of St. Marciano, the city’s first bishop. The catacombs are the city's most extensive catacombs and are characterized by thousands of niches lining the walls.

Catacombs of San Pancrazio, Rome

The catacombs of San Pancrazio lie beneath the basilica of San Pancrazio which was built by Pope Symmachus. A famous martyr, San Pancras, was buried in these catacombs. They also include the remains of pagan and early Christian inscriptions.

Catacombs of San Sebastiano, Rome

It is one of the smallest, most easily accessible catacombs in Rome and hence the least preserved one. The bodies of St. Peter and St. Paul were buried here. One can see early Christian mosaics and graffiti in these catacombs.