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Christian Rome & Catacombs

City Tours

From the Port of From Rome
Christian Rome & Catacombs
Code : RM02
Type : Private

Duration : 4 Hours

Price tag Starting From:
*32.50 €
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Adults (15 - 64)
Kids (4 - 14)
Senior > 64
Infant (0 - 3)

Description

This tour with a private driver has been designed for those guests who wish to be a pilgrim for a day and discover the major Christian sites in Rome. You’ll be able to go where buses are not permitted, enabling you to walk less and see more.

Features of this day trip of Christian Rome:

  • Pickup at your Rome accommodations
  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major)
  • The Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano (St. John Lateran)
  • The Basilica of San Paolo Fuori Le Mura (St. Paul Outside the Walls)
  • The Chapel of Domine Quo Vadis
  • The Tatacombs

SANTA MARIA MAGGIORE

One of the four major basilicas in Rome, the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major) dates back to the 5th Century A.D.  It was built for the veneration of Mary after she was proclaimed by the Council of Ephesus to indeed be the mother of God in 431 (it was the subject of some debate prior to that).

This site has been a magnet for the adoration of the divine feminine since ancient times: before the basilica, a temple to the goddess Cybele stood here.

The interior of the church is lavishly adorned, but perhaps the most noteworthy features are the coffered ceiling, the Cosmatesque floor, and the reliquary under the altar.  They say that the gold used to gild the splendid ceiling was brought back from the New World by Christopher Columbus, a gift to the Pope by Ferdinand & Isabella of Spain.  The geometric patterns of the amazing mosaic floors are fine examples of the Byzantine influence on architecture during Medieval times.  In the reliquary we find the most interesting artifact; according to lore it contains fragments of the manger where the baby Jesus lay.

SAN GIOVANNI IN LATERANO

The basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano (Saint John Lateran) is so full of decoration, works of art, relics, and great stories that you could spend all day here exploring them all.

For the Catholic faithful, the church is extremely important as it is the highest-ranking of the four papal basilicas in Rome, even higher than St. Peter’s.  Sometimes referred to as “the mother church”, it is said to house all sorts of fantastic relics and holy items -- from the heads of St. Peter & Paul to the table used at the Last Supper, to wood from St. Peter’s communion table, to the staircase brought from the palace of Pontius Pilate that Christ himself climbed.

If that’s not enough, Saint John Lateran is also the oldest basilica in the Western world.  Built on the estate of the Lateran family confiscated by Nero in the 1st Century, it was occupied by a barracks before the church was built by the Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century.  It has survived raids, fires, earthquakes, and neglect, and has been rebuilt many times, always maintaining its original plan.  In the 17th and 18th Centuries some major Baroque restyling took place,

Other cool things to note: The massive bronze doors once graced the Curia (Roman senate house) were moved to the basilica in Medieval times.  In the piazza stands an Egyptian obelisk, perhaps the oldest and tallest in Rome.  There once was a monastery connected to the church: all that remains is its beautiful 13th Century cloister.

CHAPEL OF DOMINE QUO VADIS

After traveling the Old Appian Way, passing ominous Porta San Sebastian, we’ll come to the chapel of "Domine Quo Vadis".  This tiny church was built on the spot where the apostle Peter, fleeing Rome to escape persecution, encounters Christ.  Peter asks Jesus, Domine, quo vadis?  Lord, where are you going?  Jesus replies, "To Rome, to be crucified again."  Peter gets the message and returns to Rome to meet his destiny. 

If you go inside you can see the marble slab with imprints believed to be left by Christ’s feet in the spot on the road where the church now stands.

THE CATACOMBS

The Catacombs of St. Callixtus are the underground cemetery of early Christians and martyrs, even some popes.  Hundreds of thousands were entombed here in the first centuries after Christ.  The site is a labyrinth of passageways and chambers, a fascinating place to learn about the city’s Christian beginnings.

SAN PAOLO FUORI LE MURA

No tour of Christian Rome would be complete without visiting the basilica of San Paolo Fuori Le Mura (St. Paul Outside the Walls). After the Apostle Paul was beheaded by Nero in the 1st Century AD, his followers built a shrine to him outside of Rome.  Emperor Constantine, after legalizing Christianity in the 4th Century, built a small church on the site to commemorate Saint Paul.

With Christians free to practice their faith without persecution the church soon became too small, and it was rebuilt, remaining the largest basilica in Rome until the consecration of St. Peter’s in 1626.  Throughout the centuries it came to contain many Paleo-Christian, Byzantine and Gothic art treasures, only to be ravaged by fire in 1823. The reconstruction was a labour of love that involved the whole world, whose donations and gifts of precious materials enabled the church to return to its former glory.  The basilica was subsequently declared a national monument.

There are lots to appreciate inside and outside the church: the massive marble columns in the nave, the gold Venetian mosaics in the apse (one of the few Medieval elements spared by the fire), the graceful cloister, the gigantic and intricately carved Easter candle stand, the chains St. Paul was said to have worn before his execution (only displayed at certain times of the year), and of course, the apostle’s tomb, now viewable, enabling the faithful to still come and venerate him almost 2000 years after his death.

Included

  • Private vehicle
  • Private driver on disposal for you for 4 hours
  • Pick-up and drop off right at your accommodation.
  • Live commentaries and explanations on board
  • Gas, toll and parking fees

NOT INCLUDED 

  • Tickets and guides, if not specified to be part of the tour package, are an extra cost to be arranged with the office.
  • Lunch
  • Gratuities

Restrictions

  • If mass is taking place, entrance to churches may be restricted.
  • The order of the sights visited may vary according to local conditions and opening hours.

Meeting Point

  • Your driver will be ready to wait for you at the lobby of your hotel or outside your apartment in Rome. Please look for your driver and if you are not able to find him, please don’t leave but call the office ASAP. If you think you will be late for any reason, we kindly ask you to contact the office ASAP.

Faq

1. Is this tour private?

The tour is private, just for your party.

2. Is the driver also a guide?

Our English-speaking drivers are NOT licensed guides. In order to provide you with the best-in-class service, our English-speaking driving guides have been trained to offer our clients a nice overview with information regarding the major highlights avoiding the expensive charges of hiring a private guide. Due to strict Italian laws & regulations that protect officially licensed guides, our driving guides can comment and explain the sights only from inside the vehicle but are not allowed to do so once they are outside the vehicle. They are regularly licensed instead to chauffeur the public. We highly recommend that you never book with any touring company that does not make this clear.

3. Does the driver go with us inside the monuments?

No, only a licensed guide is authorized to accompany you during the visit of sights. Our driver will drop you off close to the sights but will stay with the vehicle for the duration of your visit.

4. What is the itinerary of the tour?

This tour includes the visit of the Basilica of St. Mary Major, St. John in Lateran, St. Paul Outside the Walls and the Catacombs.

5. Does this tour include lunch and admission fees to sites?

No tickets or lunch are included in the rate. You may expect to pay approx. 8 euros/person for the admission fee to the catacombs (a local guide will also be included in this rate)

6. Is a guide included?

The only guide included in the rate is the one at the catacombs. For the rest of the tour, you will have our English-speaking driver-guide.

7. What is the duration of the tour?

The duration of the tour is 4 hours including pick up and drop off at your hotel.

8. Is the itinerary flexible?

Our itineraries are completely flexible, and we will be happy to operate any changes to the original itinerary (within reason). Please contact our office with all the requests you may have so that we can better organize your day.

9. Is gratuity included in the price?

Tips are never included in our quotes. We think that a tip shouldn’t be included in the rate otherwise it would be a tax!!! Once in Italy do not feel as though you have to tip everyone because someone told you to. Tip only if you really liked the service. Tips are generally: 10% not bad 15 % great 20 % best tour in my life. Please report any abuse.

Cancellation Policy

There will be a full charge for bookings canceled with less than 72-hour notice for any service required. In this case, a full charge will be made on your credit card. If you miss your flight or if your airline decides to cancel the flight due to bad weather or if your flight is directed to another airport on arrival, please advise us on time (as soon as you know) or a full charge will be made.

Please give us enough time so we can accept other reservations and allocate them to our chauffeurs. If the ship does not make it to the pier for bad weather, you will not be considered responsible so NO CHARGE will be made to your credit card. A full charge will be made for a no-show-up.

Only pre-purchased skip-the-line tickets (if requested) are not refundable under the circumstance and will be charged to your card.

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