Delve into Rome’s strange and eerie history, layers below the bustling city streets and deep within the dark heart of the capital lay centuries-old crypts and catacombs. See three of the most unusual and mysterious sites with your expert local English-speaking guide whose narration will bring the Eternal City’s dark and sinister side back to life.
Venture into the Eerie Roman Catacombs
We begin this ancient ghost tour in the 2nd century Roman Catacombs. An exhaustive spider web of tunnels which snake beneath the city, these macabre passageways were once the hiding places of early Christians who practiced their taboo religion in their shadowy safety. At the time, Nero banned the newly-forming faith and tortured and killed anyone found worshiping it. Here in the hidden haven the first Christians held celebrations and buried their dead.
Discover the Mystery Under Basilica San Clemente
The tour continues to the rarely-visited 12th-century Basilica San Clemente. Hear the tale of the priest almost driven mad by the sound of running water no one else seemed to hear. Several years and countless hours sledge-hammering the solid structure later, he and his brothers discovered layers of Roman history buried beneath. Now you have the chance to tour through a 5th-century church, a 4th-century cult temple and descend ultimately to the original 1st-century street level where you’ll discover the ancient aqueduct that had plagued the once-peaceful priest.
Explore the Macabre Capuchin 'Bone Chapel'
Finally, we creep over to the Capuchin Crypt, or ‘Bone Chapel.” Lined with the skeletal remains of over 4,000 monks, see the empty eye sockets of history staring back at you from the craggy walls and ceilings. Stand in front of a real skull and crossbones, cower beneath vertebrae chandeliers, and crouch beside fully enrobed skeletons as you ask yourself whether what you have witnessed is priceless art or dark arts. Either way, it is an experience that might haunt your dreams forever.
Enjoy an Authentic Italian Evening Meal
We’ll then allow you some free time to enjoy an authentic Italian dinner or to continue to explore the area on your own (if you dare). Watch as the vibrant colors of the city glow in the golden hours of sunset. But as darkness descends, Rome shines in a new and wondrous way - each window sparkling like the stars high above them. From the Middle Ages to the Inquisition, the Renaissance to ancient mythology, with our expert English-speaking storyteller, you will cross the Tiber and into cobblestone piazzas, listening to tales of murders, intrigue, executions, and treachery. Then stand in awe before the home of the most notorious murderer Rome has ever known before visiting the legendary bridge where the ghost of the female Pope is thought to take residence.
Experience the Dark Side of Rome in Smaller Groups
With an intimate group of only 20 people or fewer, let your imagination run wild as you are treated to the tales of gore and ghouls, grounded in genuine history. This is Rome’s crypts and catacombs, but only City Wonders can truly resurrect their gruesome grandeur.