The Catacombs of San Callixtus are the most famous ones of all the Catacombs in Rome. They constitute the first official underground Christian cemetery and many martyrs from the 2nd and 3rd centuries are buried there, including no fewer than 16 Popes.
Saint Callixtus Catacombs Rome
Opening hours and admission
Opening hours: 09.00 till 12.00 and 14.00 till 17.00. Closed: Wednesdays, January 1, Easter and December 25. Admission: 8 Euros; age 7-15: 5 Euros; age 1-6: Free. The Catacombe di San Callisto can only be visited with a guided tour. During the busy periods an extensive history and explanation will be given before the actual tour starts. During the tour no extra information will be supplied.
History and description
Callixtus himself was originally the administrator of the cemetery, under Pope Zephyrinus. Later, in 217, he became Pope himself.
Saint Callixtus’ Catacombs consist of five levels of loculi where the bodies were placed in tiers. Unfortunately the slabs of marble that used to close off the loculi have disappeared. The bodies were wrapped in sheets, as most Christians were poor in those days.
The most important attraction in the Catacombs of Saint Callixtus is a crypt that used to contain the bodies of several early Popes. The body of Saint Cecilia was also discovered in a cubiculum in these catacombs, but it was moved to the church of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. The crypt of Saint Eusebius contained a sarcophagus with two mummified bodies.
In order to reach the Catacombs you have to descend some steep steps to the Papal Crypt, which was built by order of Pope Damasus. From here a narrow opening leads to the room that used to contain Saint Cecilia‘s tomb. Between the 5th and 6th centuries the walls of this space were decorated with frescoes, including the oldest depiction of the saint praying. In 1821 the tomb itself was moved to the Santa Cecilia in Trastevere Church by order of Pope Pasquale I.
There are no human remains in the catacombs anymore. They were removed to the Santa Prassede Church, because visitors used to try to steal the relics from the catacombs.
The cubicles are adorned with frescoes and many of them have Christian symbols carved on the walls.
Photo Gallery Saint Callistus Catacombs
Address and public transport
Address: Via Appia Antica, 110/126 – Rome (tel. +39 06 5130151 – 51301580). Public transport: Bus 118, 218.