Catacombs and Appian Way

“All roads lead to Rome”.

Have you ever asked yourself where the saying comes from? It originates from the major road of the ancient Roman Empire, which spanned 330 miles from Rome to the south: The Appian Way. The road is still today remarkably well preserved, so why not come with us for a stroll down the Appian Way, where once Roman soldiers marched south to battle.

The tour will start at the Church of Santa Maria in Palmis, better known as Church of the “Domine quo vadis”, where legend has it that Saint Peter met Jesus Christ whilst fleeing persecution in Rome. Peter asked Jesus: “Lord, where are you going?” (Domine, quo vadis?) and Jesus answered: “I’m going to Rome to be crucified again”, and his answer persuaded Peter to return to the city to accept his fate.

Our next stop will be at Basilica of San Sebastian, where the Saint is now buried. The church was built over the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian where the saint was previously buried. According to the founding tradition, during the persecutions, the catacombs of Saint Sebastian were temporarily used as place of burial of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, whose remains were later transferred to the two Basilicas carrying their names. The church was in fact known as Basilica Apostolorum (Church of the Apostles), and it was dedicated to Saint Sebastian only in the IX century. The church houses the famous stone carrying the alleged footprints of Jesus.

After leaving the Basilica we will descend into the Catacombs of Saint Sebastian. You will be taken down four levels underground, where long winding passages unfold thousands of years of history, taking you to a time when Christianity was considered just a cult and its members were executed as pagans and buried as martyrs. Surfacing from the dark dank tunnels of the catacombs you can enjoy a pic-nic lunch in the pleasant countryside surrounding the Appian Way or choose from the many excellent restaurants in the area.